[SOLVED] How Do I Permanently Change Gmail Back To The Classic View?

NOTE: The old way of changing back to the Classic view of Gmail doesn’t work anymore. There are tons of blog posts telling people about this out-of-date-method and Google has started removing that temporary option.

Don’t be frustrated, though, the details throughout this post will help you adjust the Gmail view permanently (or at least until the next Gmail update) to look more like the Classic view.

Usually, I find technology changes to be a good thing. Sometimes, though, they are so disruptive to my normal groove that I just have to figure out a way back.

Some historical examples include:

  • Turning off the “office assistant”…you know Clippy the Paperclip?
  • Viewing Facebook in the most recent view, instead of their terrible algorithmic view.
  • The 2011 Twitter interface update (yes…I’m still sore about that one).
  • Putting Gmail back in the Classic view, rather than this modern, huge-font view they recently rolled out.

I don’t know what it is about the new Gmail look, but those rounded buttons and GIANT BOLD fonts just mess with my mojo when I’m reading my email.

The new Gmail Interface just doesn't sit well with meThe new rounded buttons and big bold fonts of the updated Gmail look just doesn’t work for me.

For a little while, Google gave us a way to revert back to the “classic view” of Gmail. Previously, the way to revert to the Gmail Classic view was:

  1. Go to Gmail.com
  2. Login to your account
  3. Click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of Gmail and choose “Go back to classic Gmail”.

You can revert back to the classic view of Gmail through the settings menu

Once you clicked on that, Gmail would revert back to the classic view. The problem is, that was only a temporary thing.

I reverted back to the classic view back in August and today, when I logged in to Gmail….the modern view of Gmail was back. I wondered if I could revert back again, so I clicked the Settings icon and there was the “Go back to classic Gmail” link again. Whew!!

But, alas, it was a cruel trick perpetrated by Google. When the page reloaded, the modern view of Gmail was still in place and the link to go back to the classic view was gone.

Grrr….

The ability to revert back to Classic view of Gmail has been removedThe ability to revert back to the Classic view of Gmail has been removed from the Settings menu.

So…what to do? You can either live with the new, modern view or you can adjust the modern view to look a little more like the classic view.

Personally, I like the Classic view, so I decided to find the adjustments. The rounded buttons, I can live with but the giant font just rubs me the wrong way.

Don't like the new look of #Gmail? Here are the steps to permanently restore the Classic view. Click To Tweet

Back To Classic Step 1 – Adjust The Display Density

So, to reduce the font size back to look a bit more like the Classic view, the first thing I did was adjust the Display Density of the text. To adjust your Gmail display density:

  1. Go to Gmail.com
  2. Login to your account
  3. Click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of Gmail and choose Display Density

In the Classic view of Gmail, the display density was much more compact, so more emails were displayed on the screen. Choose the Compact view and then click OK to close the popup box.

The compact display density will adjust the number of lines visible in Gmail back to be more like the Classic viewThe compact display density will adjust the number of lines visible in Gmail back to be more like the Classic view

Back To Classic Step 2 – Ditch The Side Panel

The next step in adjusting Gmail to look more like the Classic view is the remove the side panel. Classic Gmail didn’t have a side panel and I don’t use it, so I just clicked the Right-facing arrow in the bottom-right corner of Gmail and choose Hide Side Panel.

You can hide the side panel in Gmail to adjust the UI to look more like the classic viewYou can hide the side panel in Gmail to adjust the UI to look more like the classic view.

Back To Classic Step 3 – Make More Room In The Folders Pane

The last step in moving Gmail back to look more like the Classic view is to adjust the folder list to display more folder. In the modern view, Google shortened the pane by default to only show about 10 folder. this allowed your Google chat pane to be more prominent.

Personally, I want to see more folders and Google gave us the capability to adjust the folder pane. To adjust the folder pane size:

  1. Go to Gmail.com
  2. Login to your account
  3. Click and hold the bottom of the folder pane and drag down

Adjust the size of the folder pane to make Gmail look more like the Classic ViewYou can drag the folder pane down to make it larger to look more like the Classic view of Gmail.

And that pretty much does it. With the more compact display density, the absence of the side panel, and the taller folder pane, Gmail feels more like the standard Classic view.

Google may have forced the new look and feel of #Gmail on us, but we can change it back to the Classic view with a few tweaks. Click To Tweet

I hope that helps those of you who are like me and like the Classic view better. If I missed something or if you have another tip, let me know and I’ll take a look at it and potentially add it to the post.

Cheers!

–Sean

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Comments And Reactions

  1. May I recommend Gmail Classic/Old Theme by Agile Inbox or another extension of similar nature (check the Chrome store … or whatever its name has been ‘updated’ to by the time you read this). I’ve been using it for a few months, and to be honest if I hadn’t have found it, I would have never used gmail again. If anybody should happen to find a similar extension for Calendar (on desktop i.e. in browser) I’d be quite appreciative of that, given that the new design wastes so much space, and is blinding to look at (also it chews through battery if you’re on a mobile or tablet). Thank you.

  2. why this is right plese tell

  3. My problem is not with looks, but function! I use my calendar a hundred times a day. Now, when a date comes in, it’s not underlined so I can add the event to my schedule. As a blogger, this is killing me. I simply can’t figure out a better way to add “clickable” events that lead back to the original email request. Yes, I can create an event, but that doesn’t allow me to easily access that event from my calendar. I’m literally in tears, just as I was a few months ago. I thought that I could keep the old style.

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  8. There IS STILL a way to get back to the old classic Gmail that may work for some users depending on your browser.

    If you’re using Safari, you can go to Safari preferences and turn off Javascript. Don’t worry, this is just temporary. Then, when you go to Gmail, it will force you to use the classic HTML version, and you’ll see a link to make that your default view! I imagine this option may be available in other browsers.

    Then once you’ve changed the default setting, go back to your browser preferences, and enable javascript again. Now, when you go to Gmail, it will show the old Classic version!

    • Huge help. One question: does purging Safari’s Javascript option kill Conversation View (“thread viewing of emails between user and associate”)? I LOATHE, DETEST AND ABHOR ConView, and I loathe, detest and abhor GMAIL for constantly trying to foist it on me, just as Gmail opts me into all the garbage apps it can every chance it gets.

  9. Thank you for all of the above. How do I get rid of the hide button altogether? It’s always in the way and I just want it gone. Is this possible?

  10. My problem is not with looks, but function! I use my calendar a hundred times a day. Now, when a date comes in, it’s not underlined so I can add the event to my schedule. As a blogger, this is killing me. I simply can’t figure out a better way to add “clickable” events that lead back to the original email request. Yes, I can create an event, but that doesn’t allow me to easily access that event from my calendar. I’m literally in tears, just as I was a few months ago. I thought that I could keep the old style. 🙁

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t see where to enable dates to be clickable. HELP!!!

  11. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!! I like the classic view of Gmail so much better and these steps helped me change it back.

  12. Thank you for this!! You can also change the tool bar from icons to text, which again mimics more of the classic 🙂

    Settings – General – Button Labels – Text

    I appreciate the help on the others items though. I can now stand using it!!

    • Glad it helped, Vivian and thanks for the tip on the icons!

      –Sean

      • There is still a way to get back to the real classic old-style google.

        • Dan, how does one go back to the original interface design? I don’t want to be saddled with functionalities I hate. I may like good font design, but so far as I’m concerned, this really isn’t an aesthetic issue. It’s more like a spyware issue. I have no reason to invite Google’s tentacles to snake through every area of my online life, much less grating them entrees in my dialogues with third parties. Nor do I care to assign You Know Who the unrestricted ownership rights to all my online-generated work product.

  13. It was a tough trick done by Google. When the page was restarted, the new Gmail view was still present, and there was no link back to the classic view. By the way, I am getting Gmail Error 007 any way to fix it.

  14. Thanks for your post. I’ve put your suggestions into effect. But I’m interested in an intermediate version of gmail, not completely classic (tip for classic gmail: switch to Basic HTML view as described at: http://osxdaily.com/2018/09/30/change-gmail-back-old-versions-appearance/). I like having my important mail at the top and then being able to scroll down and see the rest of the email below. If you find out any way to make that happen, it would be awesome.


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