Customizing a Gmail Layout

By Sarah Morse

You can change your Gmail layout to make it less cramped.
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You can't completely change the look of your online Gmail inbox, but you can make a few to changes to better suit your eye and your work flow. Most of these changes center around how you view and organize your messages on the page. In addition, some of the labs created by Google engineers can add functionality and even change the positioning of extra features, such as Chat. Ultimately, you may have to pair different options to determine the layout that best fits you.

Sign in to your Gmail account, click the gear icon and choose "Settings," which automatically brings you to the General tab.

Scan the options under "Maximum page size," determining number of messages on the page and "Conversation View," which determines how Google groups your messages. Change or retain these options, depending on your preference. Press "Save Changes" when finished.

Return to your settings by way of the gear icon and choose the "Labs" tab to access experimental features. Scroll down to "Right-side chat" in the alphabetical list of labs and enable it to change the position of your Gmail chat box to the right side of the screen. You can also enable other labs, such as "Google Calendar gadget" and "Google Docs gadget" to add these features to your screen. Click "Save Changes" when finished.

Press the gear icon once again, but this time, select "Compact," "Cozy" or "Comfortable" under Display Mode to change the spacing between your messages.


You can also change the background image of your inbox in the "Theme" tab of your Gmail settings. This will not change your layout, just the background and colors.