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Everything you need to know about the new Gmail view

Everything you need to know about the new Gmail view

min read

Cover image: Google
Article updated March 9, 2023

Does your Gmail inbox look a bit different lately?  

You’re not alone. Google rolled 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 of the same year.

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

<a href="#what-changed-in-new-gmail-view" class="anchor-link">What changed in the new Gmail view</a>
<a href="#how-to-add-and-remove-apps" class="anchor-link">How to add and remove apps in the left sidebar</a>
<a href="#how-to-hide-gmail-sidebar" class="anchor-link">How to hide the Gmail sidebar</a>
<a href="#how-to-unhide-gmail-sidebar" class="anchor-link">How to unhide the Gmail sidebar and pin it open</a>
<a href="#how-to-change-to-classic-view" class="anchor-link">How to change Gmail back to the "Classic" view</a>
<a href="#what-this-means-for-streak-users" class="anchor-link">What this change means for Streak users</a>
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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, Chat and Spaces, along with Streak pipelines and mail merges.

A screenshot of the Gmail inbox showing the update affecting the left Gmail sidebar

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 and Streak pipelines.

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

A screenshot showing that each app in the new Gmail sidebar has its own hover menu

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.

A GIF showing notification bubbles for new messages on the lower left corner of the Gmail inbox

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.

A screenshot of the active status menu in Gmail inbox

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.
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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.

You also have plenty of options for customizing what appears in your Gmail sidebar. You can add apps to the left sidebar for easy access, or reduce clutter by removing apps you don’t use.

A screenshot of Gmail's gear icon Quick Settings menu

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.

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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.

A GIF showing how to collapse Gmail's Show/Hide button (three horizontal lines)

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

A GIF showing how to unhide the Gmail left sidebar and click it open

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.
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How to change Gmail back to the “classic” view

We get it, change can be hard.

While Google initially allowed Gmail users to return to the "classic" view during the rollout of the new Gmail view, they no longer offer the option.

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

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Using the new Gmail sidebar with Streak

You can find your Streak pipelines and Mail merges in the left sidebar of the new Gmail view - which makes sense for a CRM built into Gmail.

A screenshot showing the new Gmail sidebar with Streak

You’ll find Streak pipelines and mail merges just below the Mail icon in the left sidebar.

With the Gmail sidebar pinned open, click on the Pipelines or Merges icon to see details. If you like to keep the sidebar hidden for more space, just hover over Pipelines or Merges to find what you need.

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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