Learn how to navigate around Gmail

You can switch between emails, chats, and meetings without the need to open a new tab or window in Gmail.
When you open Gmail, you can:
  • Open Google Chat and Google Meet from the Gmail main menu.
  • View specific app menus in the collapsible panel.
  • Get notified of new chat messages through notification bubbles.
  • Point to each app’s icon to preview what’s going on.
  • Access other Workspace add-ons like Keep and Tasks from the side panel on the right.

Show or hide Chat or Meet

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Settings .
  3. In the “Quick settings” menu, under “Apps in Gmail,” click Customize.
  4. Next to “Google Chat” or “Google Meet,” click the checkbox.
  5. Click Done.

Switch between apps in the main menu

To the left of your inbox, in a collapsible panel, you can switch between Gmail, Chat, or Meet.

  • Switch between apps: Click an app name.
  • Preview an app: Point to an icon.
  • Hide or show the collapsible panel: On the top left, click Show main menu / Hide main menu .

Open apps in the side panel

On the right, in the side panel, you can open other Google apps like Keep or Tasks.

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. At the bottom right, click Show side panel Show side panel.
  3. On the right, select the product you want to open:
    • Calendar Calendar: Check your schedule and add or edit events.
    • Keep Keep: Create a note or list.
    • Tasks Tasks: Add to-do items and deadlines.
    • Contacts contacts: Access your contacts.
    • Voice : Make a Google Voice call.
  4. To close the app panel, on the right, click Close Cancel.

Tip: To add more apps to the side panel, click Get add-ons .

Manage Chat notification bubbles

When you get a new message in Chat, the notification appears on the bottom left corner in a bubble. When you point to the bubble, a message preview displays.

Reply to a message in a bubble

  • To open the message and reply directly, click the bubble.
  • To open the message in a pop-up window, click Reply.

Turn notification bubbles on or off

  1. At the top right of Gmail, click the status indicator and then Chat notification settings.
  2. In the window that appears, check the boxes next to “Allow Chat notifications” and “Open chat bubbles for new messages.”
  3. At the bottom of the window, click Done.


  • To turn notification bubbles off, uncheck the box next to “Open chat bubbles for new messages.”
  • To open chat bubbles in a pop-up window, uncheck the box “Open chat bubbles in full screen.”

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