Gmail’s new tabbed inbox feature has received rants and raves across the Web. Some are loving it, some are hating it, but it seems anyone who uses the Web interface has something to say.

Personally, I’m loving the new tabbed inbox feature, because I’ve utilized filters to help truly cut down on how I read my e-mails throughout the day. We’ve put together some tips and tricks to getting more from your new tabbed inbox in Gmail.

If you haven’t used the Gmail tabbed inbox yet, read how you can enable it for your account. Check out the video below to see it in action. Once you view the video, you’ll get a better idea of implementing the tips we’ve listed.

Our top 4 tips for Gmail’s tabbed inbox

Use keyboard shortcuts to quickly check for new mail

In order to use keyboard shortcuts in Gmail, you must have enabled them for your Google Account.


You have two primary shortcuts to use with Gmail’s tabbed inbox:

  • Next tab: `
  • Previous tab: ~

You can then move back and forth between tabs. This can be handy when checking each filter for new e-mail.

Quickly enable or disable tabs

If you click the “+” next to your tabbed inbox, you can enable or disable tabs as you see fit.


This is much quicker than opening up the Configure Inbox settings.


You then pick and choose, click “Save” and your tabs are under your control.

Moving e-mails around to categorize them.

You can drag and drop an e-mail at any time to a tab, changing how it’s labeled. This’ll ensure that the next time a mail comes in from that sender, it lands in the right tab.

Add categories to your left panel

Just like you can navigate through your filters in your left panel in Gmail, you can also add your Categories – which is another name for Tabs – to it. This makes it much easier to see not only what’s new but was is simply categorized into a particular tab that you’ve already read.

This is similar to how you browse through any Labels or Filters you create in Gmail.

Scroll down your left panel and click on “Categories,” then click on “Manage labels.”


Make sure “Show” is turned on for each of your inbox tabs.


Then, click the “Drop Down” arrow next to the Categories in the left pane and click “Show.”


Now, your tabbed inbox categories show up in the left panel. This makes it easier to go from one to another with ease.

Create filters to categorize e-mails

You can create individual filters that categorize themselves into your tabs as you receive e-mail. We’ve shown you how to do this here. This is the easiest and most efficient way to filter your e-mails and take full advantage of what the Gmail tabbed inbox has to offer.

Until Gmail offers more customization to users with regards to how they use tabs, filters will have to do for now.

If you like what you see in the above video, you can get this feature on your mobile devices as well. The new inbox is available in Gmail’s official mobile apps on Android 4.0+ devices as well as iPhone and iPad.

Your mobile inbox and notifications will show primary email once you’ve enabled this feature for your account on the web. On iOS, you’ll get a notification about this new feature being enabled automatically when you open your Gmail app. For Android, you may need to update the app to start using it.

Will these tricks make a difference?

The response to the tabbed inbox feature from Gmail users has been mostly negative. They don’t see the point. In its current form, it seems Gmail tabbed inbox seems to make more work than it’s worth it for users. Until Gmail tweaks the way tabbed inboxes work, most users may not adopt them. If you’re looking for a way to clean up your mailbox, Mailstrom is a powerful alternative to sort, go through and delete e-mails.