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Everything you need to know about the new Gmail view

Everything you need to know about the new Gmail view

4
min read

Cover image: Google

Does your Gmail inbox look a bit different lately?  

You’re not alone. Google started rolling out “a new integrated view for Gmail features” that includes a refreshed UI and changes to the left Gmail sidebar. 

Google announced these updates back in January 2022 and started rolling them out slowly to users in July.

To help you get familiarized with this new Gmail layout, we’re breaking down:

  • What changed in the new Gmail view
  • How to add and remove apps in the left sidebar
  • How to hide the Gmail sidebar
  • How to unhide the Gmail sidebar and pin it open
  • How to change Gmail back to the “classic” view
  • What this change means for Streak users

What changed in the new Gmail view

The main changes included in this Gmail update affect the left sidebar, which now offers a more consolidated view of your Google apps like Google Meet and Chat.

Image: Google

1. Gmail left sidebar is now the main menu for apps

Say goodbye to the ever-expanding accordion of drop-down menus for your Google apps.

The new Gmail layout has a more stylized main app menu with a collapsible panel. You can find Mail, Chat, Spaces, and Meet apps in the main menu. The collapsible panel expands on app-specific details like your inbox folders, Streak pipelines.

2. Each app in the new Gmail sidebar has its own hover menu

You can now hover over an app icon in the main menu to preview that app. This allows you to switch between apps and quickly navigate through your apps with fewer clicks.

You can save some real estate by using these hover menus with the panel collapsed to jump to your inbox, mail merges, specific chats, and more.

3. Notification bubbles for new messages

With a nod to social media and chat interfaces, you’ll now see familiar notification bubbles in the bottom-left corner of your Gmail window when you get a new chat message. You can also preview the message by hovering over the notification bubble to decide if you need to reply now or save it for later.

You can adjust your chat notification settings in the status menu (the one that probably says "Active") in the top right corner of your Gmail window.

4. Updated Gmail design and UI

Google refreshed the look of Gmail with their Material 3 design for a clean, updated look and feel.

The most visually obvious updates are new icons for each app, and a lightly shaded sidebar and navigation in Gmail. Choose which apps appear in the new Gmail sidebar

The new Gmail sidebar is yours to customize. Add apps to the left sidebar for easy access, or reduce clutter by removing apps you don’t use.

To choose which apps appear in the Gmail left sidebar:

  1. Click the gear icon in the top right corner to open your settings.
  2. Click “Customize” in the “Apps in Gmail” section.
  3. Check or uncheck apps to add or remove them from the sidebar.
  4. Click Done.
  5. Click Reload to refresh your Gmail window with your new settings.

How to hide the Gmail left sidebar

You can make more room to view your  inbox and other apps by collapsing the panel with app details. 

To collapse the Gmail sidebar, click the Show/Hide button (three horizontal lines) in the top left corner of your Gmail window when the Gmail sidebar is open.

With the sidebar collapsed, you can hover over apps in the main menu to see app previews and navigate through your apps.

How to unhide the Gmail sidebar and pin it open

To collapse the Gmail sidebar, click the Show/Hide button (three horizontal lines) in the top left corner of your Gmail window when the Gmail sidebar is collapsed.

This will open the collapsible panel so you can expand app details by clicking on the app in the main menu. The sidebar remains pinned open as you move through your inbox.

How to change Gmail back to the “classic” view

We get it, change can be hard.

If you just can’t get on board with this new version of Gmail, there are 2 ways to return to your previous inbox experience.

Just remember that the day is coming when Gmail will force everybody into the new design – so maybe it’s best to ease into it now? We’ll leave that up to you. 

To change back to the classic Gmail view:

  1. Click the gear icon in the top right corner of your Gmail window to open your Gmail settings.
  2. Click “Go back to the original view” in the quick settings menu that pops up.
  3. Gmail will reload with the original or “classic” Gmail view.

If you like the aesthetics of the new UI and only use the Gmail app (not Meet, Chat, etc.) you can remove additional apps to essentially return to the same functionality as the original Gmail view.

Using the new Gmail sidebar with Streak

You can find your Streak pipelines and mail merge in the Mail app with the new Gmail view - which makes sense for a CRM built into Gmail.

With the sidebar panel expanded and pinned open, you’ll find Streak Pipelines and Mail Merges just below your inbox and inbox folders (Starred, Sent, Drafts, etc.). Click on the arrow to expand your pipelines list and see all of your mail merges lists in the left sidebar. 

Don’t want to fiddle with the sidebar? You can jump right to your pipelines, saved views, contacts, and boxes using keyboard shortcuts in the command palette

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