If you’ve recently switched from using Gmail to Outlook, or vice versa, you might find yourself missing some of the features and layout of your familiar email application. The good news is that there are ways to customize Gmail to look more like Outlook (or vice versa). Although the interfaces of these two popular email programs are quite different, there are plenty of settings you can tweak to make them look and function in a way that works best for you.
Make Gmail Look Like Outlook
If you’ve transitioned from Microsoft Outlook to Gmail, or if you use Outlook for work and wish your personal Gmail had a similar look and feel, here are a few settings you can apply:
Turn Off Threading
Gmail’s default setting is to “thread” conversations by subject. However, this can become confusing when the conversation involves multiple participants. To disable email threading in Gmail, click the gear icon at the top right to access the Quick Settings. Scroll down to the bottom and uncheck “conversation view”. With this setting turned off, each message will appear separately, and you’ll see icons similar to Outlook to indicate if you have replied to or forwarded a message. If you prefer threading but want the newest messages to appear at the top, you can add the Gmail Reverse Conversation browser extension.
Turn Off Categories
By default, Gmail applies categories that show across the top of your inbox, such as Social, Updates, Promotions, and Forums. If you prefer not to have Gmail automatically sort your inbox into these categories, you can turn them off. Go to the gear icon on the right side and click “See All Settings”. Then navigate to the Inbox section and uncheck the boxes next to the Categories. Your inbox will no longer be subdivided by automated categories, but you can still expand the Categories on the left rail to view the related emails.
Turn On Priority Inbox
If you’re a fan of the browser version of MS Outlook through the MS 365 subscription and you appreciate the Focused Inbox, you can enable Gmail’s “Priority” inbox. Click on the gear icon at the top right to access the Quick Settings, scroll down, and under Inbox Type, choose “Priority Inbox”. Your inbox will now be organized to show “Important and Unread” messages first, followed by “Starred” messages, and then “Everything Else”. You can customize this further by clicking on the “Customize” button. One handy option at the bottom allows you to override filters and include important messages in the inbox that may have been filtered out.
Enable Preview Pane
If you enjoy using the MS Outlook Preview Pane, you can enable a similar feature in Gmail. Click on the gear icon at the top right to access the Quick Settings, and under Reading Pane, choose whether you want the pane to open to the right of the inbox or below it. Once you’ve enabled it, you can toggle the Preview Pane on and off as needed.
Use Offline Data
One advantage of MS Outlook is that it’s installed on your computer, allowing you to access your emails even without an internet connection. Gmail, on the other hand, is only accessible online. However, you can set up Offline mode in Gmail to read and review emails that have already been synchronized. To enable this feature, go to the gear icon, click to see All Settings, navigate to the Offline tab, and check the “Enable offline mail” box. From there, you can adjust how long emails are synced, choose whether to download attachments, and specify what should happen if you log out of your Google account.
Show Labels Instead of Icons
In Microsoft Office, the Ribbon displays icons and labels for all the tools available. Gmail, on the other hand, uses either icons or labels (which appear when you hover over an icon). If you have ample screen space and prefer just labels, you can make this adjustment in Gmail’s settings. Click on the gear icon, choose “All Settings”, and in the General tab, scroll down to Button Labels. Select “Text” instead of the default “Icons”.
Move Emails to Labels Like They’re Folders
Unlike Microsoft Outlook, which uses folders to organize emails, Gmail uses labels. Labels allow you to apply multiple labels to an email and search for emails based on those labels. However, applying a label doesn’t automatically move the email out of your inbox. To accomplish this, you’ll need to open an email, select “Move to”, and choose a label from the options on the left. You can create labels on the fly by selecting “create new” when prompted to “Move To”. To move multiple emails, select them using the checkboxes on the left and then choose “Move to” and select the desired label. Additionally, you can set up filters in Gmail, which function similarly to rules in Outlook, to automatically move emails to specific labels.
Peek at Your Calendar
One significant difference between MS Outlook and Gmail is the ability to switch between email and other features like the calendar, contacts, and tasks. In Outlook, you can easily access these features, but in Gmail, you used to have to open a new tab. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. In the far right column of Gmail, you’ll find small icons for the calendar, Keep, Tasks, and Contacts. Simply click on the calendar icon to peek at your schedule. You can view your day or schedule, and even show multiple calendars if you use more than one. To expand the calendar into a new tab, simply click on the desired view.
There are many more options to explore in order to make Gmail look and function like MS Outlook, so don’t hesitate to experiment with the settings.
Make Outlook Look Like Gmail
If you’re transitioning from law school to a law firm or moving from a solo practice to a larger firm, you may find the switch from Gmail to Outlook quite different and frustrating. However, with a few adjustments, you can make MS Outlook resemble Gmail to some extent. Here are some suggestions:
Add Conversation View
If you prefer the threaded conversation view used in Gmail, you can configure Outlook to display your emails this way too. Go to the View tab, click on the “Show as Conversations” checkbox in the Messages group. You can choose to enable threaded conversations in a specific folder or in all of your folders. Within the Conversation settings, you can also choose to show emails from other folders—an especially handy option. Note that you’ll need to double-click a conversation to expand it. The conversation view in Outlook displays emails from newest to oldest, and indicates the folder where each email is stored if it’s not in the inbox.
Remove the Reading Pane and Task Bar
By default, Gmail doesn’t have the Reading Pane enabled. If you find these additional columns distracting or unnecessary in Outlook, you can turn them off. Go to the View tab, find the Layout group, and toggle off the Reading Pane or the To-Do Bar as desired. Likewise, if you don’t like the Message Preview feature, look in the Arrangement group and disable it.
Use Categories for Labels
Gmail’s labels allow you to apply multiple labels to a single email, providing a flexible organization system. MS Outlook has a feature similar to labels called Categories. Categories can add more intelligence to your emails and are different from folders, allowing you to categorize emails and store them in different folders. Consider leveraging this powerful feature to enhance your email organization in Outlook.
Try Focused Inbox
If you appreciate Gmail’s priority inbox, you can try Outlook’s Focused Inbox. This feature is enabled by default in the browser version of Outlook. To activate it, go to the View tab and toggle on “Show Focused Inbox”. Once activated, you’ll see two tabs at the top of your inbox: Focused and “Other”. You can easily switch between the two tabs to manage your emails effectively.
Transitioning from one email interface to another, especially when you’re used to a different product, can be challenging. Take the time to explore the settings and delve into tutorials. Both Gmail and Outlook offer a wide range of features to help you stay on top of your emails!
This article was written by Mr Reviews