New Gmail: Quick Fixes For Labels, Filters And More

New Gmail: Quick Fixes For Labels, Filters And More

This morning, a Lifehacker intern complained that the new Gmail made it too hard to see labels. Then a Lifehacker editor pitched in that the new Gmail makes it too hard to create filters. Not so, my friends. The new Gmail has changed a few things, though, so here’s a little primer on how to handle things in the new Gmail that may have changed slightly in the redesign.

Make Your Labels Stand Out

Intern Doug: “I find it so hard to read the names of the labels in the new design. Dark grey on light grey? Really?”

This is a feature that has been around for a while in Gmail, but if you were happy with your labels as they were, you may not have noticed. If the new Gmail’s default label colouring is throwing you for a loop, there’s your fix.

Make a New Filter

Managing editor Jason:

Au contraire, Jason! It is, in fact, easier to create a filter now. Similar to the label colours, the new create a filter functionality is hidden behind the drop-down to the right of the search box. Click that to display the new advanced search form, fill out your Tos, Froms, Subjects, and other search criteria, and click Create filter with this search. Nutritious!

Grab Bag!

I put a call out on Twitter and Google+ to see what’s confusing or frustrating other people about the Gmail redesign, just in case there’s a solution they just weren’t aware of. So here we go:

Get Profile Pics For Your Contacts


Solution! Sure, if your contacts all have Google accounts and they’ve added profile pics, those avatars show up automatically, but your contacts don’t need to have added their own profile pics in order for them to show up in conversation view. You can add your own pics to contacts by hovering over that anonymous avatar, then hovering over the larger anonymous avatar in the popup and clicking Add a picture. You can then upload a pic from your computer, add one from the web, or add one from Picasa. The cake is not a lie!

Get Rid Of Ads Above the Inbox

+Alan Smodic:

Answer from +Daniel James: “Actually, the easy way to get rid of that is to go to your Gmail Settings, go to the tab called “Web Clips“, and then uncheck the box.”

Jump to the top of the inbox

+José Sá: “Is now more difficult to go to the top of the inbox. There no no shortcut, I have to manually scroll which is annoying.”

I have no idea what José is talking about in terms of what’s gone missing, but there is a shortcut to get to the top of the inbox, and it works on any page. Pressing Spacebar when no form or input has focus is the equivalent of pressing Page Down. Similarly, pressing Shift+Spacebar is like pressing Page Up. And it’ll jump you to the top of your inbox.

Alternately, if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled in Gmail, just press “G then I” (Go to Inbox). Voila!

Any Others?

If there was a Gmail problem

Yo, I’ll solve it

Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

To the comments!


  • I personally haven’t had any issues with the new Gmail look. It probably helps that I had been using the preview theme for a while before the cut over, but all my labels are present and colour coded as they were before, profile pics were already synched with my Facebook friends, and no new ads have sprung up (I assume ad block plus is playing nicely with the new template).

    On an even more pleasing note, the Minimalist for Gmail extension that was already present seems not to have had any issues at all either.

  • I am running a pop3 account, if I don’t go into settings then accounts and import and then click check mail now I don’t get my new mail?
    this was happening with the old and the new, just thought I might be able to get a answer here as this stuff confuses the hell out of me!

  • How do I put words on the buttons that are now all images? And how do I remove the left side frame so that one scroll bar will move the entire window? I have a Docs, Calendar, SMS, and chat widget on the left side, which was fine in old Gmail, but is functionally unusable in the cramped new layout.

  • Hey, Adam. Any idea why I don’t have any label tabs at the top of my inbox? I have quite a few labs enabled, so I tried disabling all of them – no tabs. I’ve experimented with the web clips setting – no dice. It’s the same in Chrome and Firefox. That leads me to believe it’s something in the settings, but I can’t find it – at least nothing called “label tabs”. Nor can I find any other reports of the problem.

  • I have a number of labels which are children of other labels. I cannot see the child labels when I am making a new filter.
    Has anyone figured out how to do this?

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