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[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 There are tons of blog posts incorrectly telling people how to change your Gmail appearance using this out-of-date-method and Google has started removing that temporary option.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 change your Gmail view permanently (or at least until the next update) to look more like the Gmail 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:

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  • 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).
  • How to change Gmail view back to the Classic view, rather than this modern, huge-font view they recently rolled out in the Gmail Update 2019.

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. I like the old Gmail version much better!

For a little while, Google gave us a way to change 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 menuGmail previously offered the ability to go back to classic Gmail. This, however, has since been removed.

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 change the Gmail appearance back to the Classic view 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

Changing Back To Gmail Classic View 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

Changing Back To Gmail Classic View 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.

Changing Back To Gmail Classic View 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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Change Gmail back to the classic view with these steps
Steps for changing the look of Gmail back to the Classic View
Change Gmail Back To Classic View Permanently

Margaret

Wednesday 10th of November 2021

There is no "gear" icon in the upper right corner of my Gmail. Is there another way to get to Gmail settings? I can't tell whether my gmail has converted to HTML or not. When I tried to use the button to click back to the original set up with 3 sections, nothing happened. If I click on the 3 dots in a horizontal line next to my avatar, I do get "settings" but when I click on that I don't get what I am supposed to get, according to your instructions. My browser is Microsoft Edge.

old version gmail - LoginWhale.com

Tuesday 17th of August 2021

[…] 10. [SOLVED] How Do I Permanently Change Gmail Back To The … […]

Pye

Friday 9th of July 2021

Thanks Sean. Alas, no more option to change the view. The settings don’t show the compact view option anymore. And the inbox shows the message body on the right side.

This is email hell. Can’t even see the info on the left pane.

It is pain!

Wendell

Friday 19th of February 2021

I have gone through the process as you have outlined and tried to click on the bottom of the folder pane and drag down but it simply will not work for me. It is frustrating when google makes these changes to force us to accept their versions. This NEW VERSION simply does not work well for me. I like to have easy access and control of my Sent mail, spam, and trash. I often go to my sent mail, copy and paste to accommodate my daily routine tasks. This has now become a night mare navigating and finding my folders. I have been using Gmail since 2008, we should not be facing these types of problems.

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Sunday 19th of January 2020

your post is very interesting to read. Thank you very much.This website has everything I need.