Gmail Multiple Inboxes : What Why Where and How

Gmail recently launched the Multiple Inboxes feature, a very cool feature which widely simplifies the management of your incoming and outgoing mails by categorizing the mails and keep them in separate panels. Very helpful for people who send or receive loads of messages every day.

What is Multiple Inboxes  in Gmail ?

Multiple Inboxes feature is an extension of the search feature in Gmail. You don’t actually get several Inboxes, but you get folder like views which displays  messages falling under particular search parameter. These views are displayed adjacent to the Inbox.

Here is a sample of  my Inbox using this feature. It shows 3 separate panels for mails categorized on the basis of search criteria.

Multiple Inboxes

What is the use of Multiple Inboxes ?

Multiple Inboxes as I said are the extension of search feature, so  any parameter which can be used as search, can also be used as a categorizing criterion too.

Suppose you often search your Inbox

  • For mails from particular sender,
  • You want to keep track of mails after or before particular date
  • You want a quick access to particular label etc. ,

Multiple Inboxes are highly useful in such cases

Just define the parameters for particular pane (How? We will see to it later in this post), and this will keep your messages right on your screen so that you don’t need to perform searches every time you need particular message.

Like in the snapshot above, I have a panel in my inbox which has all the mails before January 1, 2007, another one is for all the Google Alerts I have in my inbox, this makes it easier to get the message I am looking for.

How to enable the Multiple Inboxes  ?

To enable the Multiple Inboxes, go to Settings in your Gmail > Choose the ‘Labs’ tab >  there you can find the Multiple Inboxes widget, click on the corresponding radio button to enable it.

Enable Multiple Inboxes
Enable Multiple Inboxes

How to define the parameters for panels ?

Once enabled, Multiple Inboxes will appear as tab on Settings page, using this tab you can customize the Multiple Inboxes for you.


Here you can create up to 5 different panels for you, you can decide the location for these panels with respect to your actual inbox, and the number of messages visible for each panel.

Now in order to enter the parameter for particular Pane or Panel, you can simply use the searching techniques/protocols.

For Example –

  • To make a panel for all messages under particular Label, enter “Label: Labelname”
  • To make a panel for all messages from a particular sender, enter “from: Sendername”
  • To make a panel for all messages after/before a particular date, enter “after/before:  year/month/date”
  • To make a panel for all messages with attachments in them of some particular file type (extension), enter “filename: *.extensionname” etc.

You can try several other searching parameters to create panels for you.

Try Multiple Inboxes and share your views with us, do you think this is going to improve the productivity and ease of message  management?


  1. I just discovered Multiple Inboxes and it looks great. Is there a way in the search query to use multiple conditions (i.e. two or more names…Frank or Bob must be in the email). I tried typing in two names but the condition assumes AND. do you know how to make it OR?



  2. @JP Simply insert ‘OR’. What I understood is you want the emails from Frank and Bob in one pane, you can do that by using this search string –
    from:Fraank OR from:Bob


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