Over the past week, Google has introduced new “tabs” to its Gmail inbox. No longer can we see our entire list of emails on one page — but we have to select a tab to see all of our mail. The mail has been automatically filtered into different lists — and guess who organized the list? Gmail. Gmail has decided it knows, better than we know, which email messages are:

  • Priority
  • Social
  • Promotions
  • Updates
  • Forums

I couldn’t even venture at guessing which of the emails I read could be classified for any of these categories — would news about the promotion I’m writing for The Green Mountain Coffee company be consided priority — or would Gmail assume it was a non-essential promotion? Gmail already has “filters” in place, which allows us to pre-select keywords in emails to filter particular messages into user-created lists. This feature has been working fine for years — so why the change?  Giving Gmail control of the filtering is madness. The risk of missing an important email is running too high.

Getting your old inbox back, without the tabs, isn’t just a wish — it’s a matter of effiency. It’s to see the inbox, at a glance, and without worrying that something important isn’t here, because it’s in the wrong, Gmail-genereated tab.

Here’s how to get your old non-tabbed Gmail inbox back.

Open your gmail inbox, and over to the right hand side is a little gears button.

gmail tabs001

Click on that little arrow, and you will get a drop-down menu that looks like this:

gmail tabs002You will want to click on the words that say, “Configure Inbox.”

Click there, and a smaller window will open up:

gmail tabs003


Here, you can “select tabs to enable.” If you want to have all of your email in one list — just select one tab. I’ve chosen “Primary.”

Hit save, and the box will disappear, and all of your emails will appear under the priority tab.