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How to reorder your Gmail inbox

Here's how to switch the order your emails appear in Gmail

Back to the complete guide to Gmail

How do you like your email - unread first, urgent to the top, strictly chronological? Reading and responding to all the emails the average worker gets over the course of a day can be a daunting task in and of itself, without having to wrestle with reconfiguring your inbox to your satisfaction.

Gmail's default setting is to display messages chronologically, but separate and categorise them using tabs. When you first sign in, your inbox will be divided into three tabs - your primary inbox, notification emails from social media services and promotional mailouts and newsletters.

You can customise these by clicking on the plus symbol next to the 'Promotions' tab. You can add new tabs such as 'Updates' for receipts, bills and auto-confirmations, and 'Forums' for message-board and online chat group notifications.

You can also disable individual tabs if you don't want them, leaving their contents to be rolled into your other tabs as appropriate. If you just want one single inbox with no filtering or categorisation, you can disable all Gmail's tabs, leaving only your primary inbox.

If you want to change the order your emails appear, you can edit this by clicking the drop-down arrow next to the 'Inbox' label on the right-hand side of the Gmail window. You can choose to see unread or starred emails first, as well as more complex sorting methods.

'Important first' will foreground the people you interact most with and other emails that Google's algorithm classes as important, including any messages sent specifically to you. You can also activate 'Priority inbox', which displays import and unread messages and messages that you've starred.

You can also change the orientation of Gmail's preview window. Click the drop-down menu next to the gear icon in the top right corner, and you can choose whether your inbox is split horizontally or vertically. The size of the preview pane can be adjusted by clicking and dragging the divider. You can even get rid of it altogether, and have every email open in a new tab.

Back to the complete guide to Gmail

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