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Add or remove inbox categories & tabs in Gmail

Sort your emails into different inbox tabs, like Social or Promotions. When you open Gmail, you won't have to see all emails at once.

Add or remove category tabs

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. In the top right, click Settings Settings and then Settings.
  3. Click the Inbox tab.
  4. In the "Inbox type" section, select Default. Note: To hide all tabs, select another inbox type.
  5. In the "Categories" section, check the boxes of tabs you want to show. Note: You can't make new tabs; you can only show or hide existing ones.
  6. Scroll to the bottom, then click Save Changes.

Note: If you've turned on notifications, you'll only get notifications about emails in your Primary category.

Move an email

To move an email to a new category, drag the email to that tab.

Find emails in a category

Can't find emails in a category

Archived emails won't show up their category tabs.

To find emails you've archived, search for the email in the box at the top of the page.

Search a category

Type category: then the category name before your search term.

For example, category:social party would show you emails in the Social tab that include "party."

Change notifications for each category

You can choose different notifications for each category. Learn more about notifications.

Can't turn on inbox categories

If you have more than 250,000 messages in your inbox, you won't be able to turn on inbox categories.

To get below this limit, you can archive or delete messages. 

Check the number of messages in your inbox

In Gmail, replies to a message are grouped into conversations. In your inbox, you'll see the number of conversations you have, but not messages.

Follow these steps to see how many messages are in your inbox:

  1. On your computer, open Gmail. You can't find your total number of messages from the Gmail app.
  2. In the top right, click Settings Settings and then Settings.
  3. Scroll down to the "Conversation view" section.
  4. Select Conversation view off.
  5. At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.
  6. Go back to your inbox to see the number of messages you have. If you have multiple sections or categories, make sure to add together the number from each section.
  7. When you're done, go back to settings and turn on "Conversation view."

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

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