For managing email from 6 different accounts at one place, I always prefer using Gmail over Yahoo, Hotmail and other free webmail providers.

That’s because Gmail is so clean, easy to use, has a priority inbox, better search features and supports custom filters. It’s not that other webmail providers don’t have these features but I have always found Gmail to be more user friendly and easy to use.

The earlier week, Gmail announced a redesign of their inbox which is still a work in progress and will be rolled out in a few weeks from now. Looks like Gmail developers are also focusing on organization and easier management, as they are testing different inbox styles to help users manage their mail in the way that works best for them.

Different users have different style of handling email and Gmail wants to provide you an inbox which is in harmony with your habits and requirements. Some users never delete old email, some frequently star important messages while some of us prefer a “zero inbox”. This is the reason why Google will soon roll out “inbox styles” in Gmail which will let users choose a different style for their inbox, as shown in the following image:

Gmail Inbox styles

Once Gmail inbox styles are activated for your account, you can choose any of the inbox style that meets your requirements and habits. Gmail is kicking off this feature with 4 inbox styles, as described below:

1. Classic Gmail Inbox: This is the general UI of Gmail inbox that most users see and use. Incoming messages are organized chronologically from top to bottom in the order they are received. Almost 90% of users I know use this inbox without any labels or filters and they have like more than 1000 messages lined up one after another in their Gmail inbox.  Though very unproductive, it’s a fact that some users are too lazy to learn all the advanced features that Gmail offers.

2. Priority Inbox: This one is ideally suited for those, who get tons of email every single day. Enabling the priority inbox feature of Gmail will add a second inbox on top of your regular Gmail inbox. Gmail will automatically filter important messages and will move them to the priority inbox folder of your Gmail account.

3. Important first: While the priority inbox is only for unread messages, the “Important first” inbox will hold both read and unread messages. This inbox will contain only those messages which you have marked as “Important”, rest of the stuff will go to your normal inbox.

4. Unread first: This inbox style will put a separator between unread messages and read ones. Not so useful for me but it will be surely useful for those who get hundreds of email every day and prefer reading some messages on weekends.

5. Starred first: This one will put all the starred messages on the top, everything else will be at the bottom pane.

After you have selected your preferred inbox style in Gmail and have settled with it, rest of the tabs will automatically go away. Gmail will roll out this feature in a matter of few weeks so let us know your favorite Gmail inbox style in the comments section.

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