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Your inbox

Here are some of the key features of your Gmail inbox:

  • Unread messages are bolded in your message list.
  • Control how elements in your Gmail page (such as your message list) are displayed with density settings.
  • Names of message senders are listed on the left.
  • Gmail displays snippets, which are lines of text next to each message that reveal a bit of the content of the most recent message.
  • In Gmail, messages are grouped into 'conversations' so that all follow-ups and responses appear as a single line in your inbox.
  • The time or date of the most recent message in a conversation is displayed on the far right of a conversation line. Dates appear when messages are older than 24 hours.
  • Use the check boxes next to the sender’s name, then perform actions on those selected conversations using the buttons at the top (“Archive”, “Report spam”, “Delete”, etc.)
  • Add stars to mark special messages or conversations.
  • If you want to see the messages you’ve starred, deleted, sent, etc., click on the labels on the left hand side of your Gmail page.

Inbox styles

To let you read your messages the way you want, Gmail offers different inbox styles:

  • Default - Choose which tabs to use. If you want to see all your messages in one list, just turn off all tabs. Learn more about inbox tabs.
  • Important First - This style brings mail from the contacts you email most often and other important mail to the top of the page. Everything else is in its own section at the bottom of your inbox.
  • Unread First - Unread mail stays at the top; everything else is at the bottom.
  • Starred First - Starred mail stays at the top; everything else is at the bottom.
  • Priority Inbox - Messages classified as important and unread are in the top section, then starred messages, then everything else. Each section can be customized further, so if you want more control over your inbox, Priority Inbox is for you.

Select which inbox style you want to try by clicking the Gmail Inbox down arrow icon arrow that appears when you hover over “Inbox” on the left side of your Gmail page. You can switch between inbox styles any time.

Learn more about inbox styles and settings.

Vivian is a Gmail expert and the author of this help page. Leave her feedback about this help page.

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