Ha. Did I get your attention? If you have a Gmail address, YOU DEFINITELY WANT TO READ THIS POST.

Unfortunately, if you are subscribed to my blog via email, you are probably already missing my posts. But some of us don’t have the new Gmail yet, so maybe I can reach a few of you. And even if you read my blog through other means, if you have a Gmail address, this will affect you.

Do you have the new Gmail Tabs yet? Go check. I’ll wait.

Here’s mine, if you’re wondering what I mean. See the Primary – Social – Promotions tabs across the top?

New Gmail Tabs

 I have two Gmail accounts, and only one has the new Tabs so far. So if you don’t have them, you probably will soon.

So here is what Google is doing now. Via PC Mag:

Google, which has done a reasonable job of controlling spam until now, has taken it upon itself to sort your mail for you. You now have a primary inbox, a social tab, a promotions tab, and an updates tab. The problem is that any newsletter coming from a professional mailing sub-system such as MailChimp or Constant Contact will have much of its mail shunted to the forgotten promotions tab. Google can say these emails are not one-to-one, but one-to-many and therefore are promotional, pushing all of them into the box that implies spam. Great.

YEP. Ain’t that nice?

So any subscriptions you have to blogs or other sites are now being dumped into your Promotions tab and unless you’re wise to it, you’ll never see it. And my precious blog posts are lumped in with all the sales and marketing emails from the Gap and Living Social. Boohoo.

It’s not all bad. I actually like how the Social tab puts all my Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook posts into a tab. Of course, I could have set that up with gmail filters if I’d wanted to. Ultimately I prefer to control my own inbox, thankyouverymuch.

You can turn off the tabs if you want. And you can choose which tabs are displayed and which ones aren’t. But if you like the tabs overall and just want to tweak them, you can tell Gmail to send certain emails to your Primary tab. Like my blog posts, ahem.

how to customize gmail tabs

How to Turn Off or Customize Gmail Tabs

If you love me and want me in your Primary tab, here is how you can do it via the MailChimp blog:

The easiest way to move an email in your inbox is to left-click and hold on the email to drag it from the Promotions tab over to the Primary tab. Releasing the mouse drops the email into the newly selected tab. Once dropped, Gmail displays a yellow box asking if you want to make this change permanent. Click Yes to ensure that all messages with the same from address will appear in the Primary tab going forward.


Similar to the drag and drop option, you can right-click on the email in some browsers to bring up a small list of options. Click the Move to tab option and select the tab you want to move the email to. Selecting the tab moves the email and displays a yellow box asking if you want to make this change permanent. Click Yes to ensure that all messages with the same from address will appear in the Primary tab going forward.

You can do that for any email address that you want to move from one tab to another.

And if you want to turn off tabs altogether, or choose which Tabs to display, just go into your Gear Menu, choose Configure Inbox, and then select or deselect the Tabs you want to show.

How to Turn off Gmail Tabs

You are welcome!

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks for doing this. I was annoyed by the tabs but i hadn’t gotten around to figuring out how to disable it or at least customize it to suit me. Thanks for sharing, i really appreciate it.

  2. I have never been a fan of GMail. Maybe I have just never given it a chance, but it always looks too crowded and complicated. I’m an AOL email user and I always get your emails just fine.

  3. As soon as I saw those tabs in gmail I hated them instantly & deactivated them… I’m with you in I like to set my own filters. The crazy part is they won’t let you customize your own tabs, rude. So I nixed the tabs.

  4. Yep, I’ve had those tabs for about a month. I have all five … Forums too. But I read your blog posts in my Feedly (reader), so no worries there. But I’ve had no success in getting the tab brain to realize that I want certain things in my Primary tab 🙁 I think they still need to tweak it a bit for usability. I do prefer organization to just a long list of varied emails. so I think I’ll stick with them for now.

  5. I’m so thankful they did this!! Now if I could find a suitable replacement for googled reader I’d be around to see you more often. Suggestions? I’m trying feedly unsuccessfully. (Hate it)

  6. I am really frustrated with the tabs, I take things from Primary to Promotions and they are right back in Primary the next time I go into my gmails. Burns me up.

    1. Yeah, I thought there was a way to make it permanent – it even says this in the instructions I copied “Once dropped, Gmail displays a yellow box asking if you want to make this change permanent. Click Yes to ensure that all messages with the same from address will appear in the Primary tab going forward.” BUT it isn’t giving me that option.

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