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How to create multiple inboxes in Gmail

You don't have to be restricted by only one inbox.
By
May 17, 2022

Email in web 1.0 was a dull affair. You just got one inbox with everything thrown in together. But over the years, Gmail has shaken up how we look at email. One extremely useful feature, which initially started as an experiment and eventually became mainstream, is Multiple Inboxes.

As the name suggests, you can have more than one inbox on the same page. But how does it work, and how do you make them? Here’s how to create multiple inboxes in Gmail.

Read more: How to create rules in Gmail to filter your emails

QUICK ANSWER

To enable Gmail's Multiple Inboxes, go to Inbox in Settings. Then drop down the small menu and select Multiple Inboxes. Fill in the search query for each inbox you want to set up, then save your changes. Now reload Gmail to see the new inbox layout.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

What is Multiple Inboxes in Gmail?

Multiple Inboxes is a feature where you can specify a specific search string, and all emails that meet that search criterion get their own dedicated inbox. This can be especially useful if you need to separate emails with specific keywords or you want emails from a particular label to be more front-and-center.

The only downside is, if you’re a user of the Preview Pane, it won’t work if Multiple Inboxes are enabled.

How to create Multiple Inboxes in Gmail

Enabling and creating multiple inboxes in Gmail is very easy. Here’s how to do it.

Go to Settings and then Inbox. There, you’ll see a drop-down menu. Choose Multiple Inboxes.

gmail multiple inboxes select

When you do, the five custom sections appear. You don’t have to use all five if you don’t need them. Start with the first one and enter the search query you want the emails for that inbox to show. To get the search query, search for the emails in Gmail and then copy the URL.

gmail search string URL

Alternatively, you can add a label to the search query box. Just type:

Code
label:<name of label>

Or if it’s the name of a folder (such as the Starred folder), type:

Code
is:<name of folder>

It’s then recommended to add a name for each inbox to see which one is for what emails. So your boxes may look something like this:

gmail multiple inboxes sections

Scrolling down, the following two sections asks you how many emails you want to have in each inbox (maximum of 99).

You can also specify where the new inboxes will go in relation to the primary inbox. I prefer it above the primary inbox, but this is just a personal preference. You choose whatever you want.

gmail multiple inboxes options

Scroll right down to the bottom of the page and save your changes. Gmail will now reload, and your new inboxes should now appear.

gmail multiple inboxes

FAQs

Can Multiple Inboxes be created and viewed in the Gmail mobile app?

No. You can only create and view multiple inboxes on the desktop version of Gmail.

Emails appear in both the primary inbox and the newly created multiple inbox. How do I stop that?

Archive the one in the primary inbox. That one will disappear, and the one in the multiple inbox will stay.