In Gmail’s ever-evolving user interface, you can now enable tabbed inboxing to help sort your e-mails. This is done in combination with static tabs and filters so that everything has its own place. While this is still in its development stages, or so it seems, you can easily switch back and forth between the new tabbed inbox feature and the classic inbox as you see fit.  This is just another step for Google making its services more user-friendly and connected.

How to enable Gmail’s tabbed inbox

Login to Gmail and click on the “Gear Icon” to open your settings.


Click on “Configure inbox” to get started.


You can choose from five tabs: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. Primary is your classic inbox, where the other tabs serve specific functions. At some point in the future, Google has said users will be able to create their own tabs.

So long as you click other options than Primary, you can click “Save” to enable the new tabbed inbox.

Gmail will welcome you to your new inbox. Click “Okay, got it!” to start using it.

How to use Gmail’s tabbed inbox

Once you enable tabbed inboxing, your mail will stay on your Primary tab for the time being. This is where everything that’s not sorted will appear.


Gmail will let you know you can drag and drop e-mails into tabs to start sorting them.


Once they’re moved into a tab, that sender will always be filtered into that tab for you to go through.


Now, the real magic to Gmail’s tabbed inbox feature is the use of filters to further categorize e-mails by sender, subject, specific statements and more.

Creating filters to use Gmail’s tabbed inbox

If you open Gmail’s generic settings and click on “Filters,” you can start creating filters to categorize into tabs.

Click “Create a new filter” to start.


The filter can be based by sender, receiver, subject, specific words or exclude words.

Once you choose the type of filter, click “Create filter with this search.”


If you right-click on the “Down Arrow” next to the filter search, you can choose how to categorize it by clicking “Categorize as:.”


Choose a tab category, click “Create filter” and now those e-mails will be filtered into its proper tab for you to go through as you see fit.

Disabling Gmail’s tabbed inbox

Let’s say you enable your tabbed inbox but just don’t like how it looks or feels. You can disable it at any time by clicking on that “Gear Icon” and then clicking “Configure inbox.” Simply uncheck everything but Primary, and you’ve disabled Gmail’s tabbed inbox and reverted back to the classic inbox.

What’s the point of Gmail’s tabbed inbox?

Gmail wants uses to be able to easily sort e-mails to help prioritize what’s important. Tabbed inboxing is one step in that process but until more features are added, such as being able to create your own tabs, this feature is sorely lacking in real functionality for the types of Gmail users who will take advantage of it.