Friday, September 30, 2011

Removing the Conversation View from GMail

GMail can do a "love it or hate it" set of organizational tricks with your Inbox, in that it uses the Conversational view by default.  That is, GMail groups back-and-forth messages between you and other people together in a continuous string rather than showing a unique message in your Inbox for each new reply or message, like Outlook does by default.  GMail tends to group messages with a similar subject line into conversation threads.

Experience tells me that people either love this or hate this.  I happen to be in the LOVE category, yet avid Outlook users occasionally have trouble making the transition to the Conversation View, especially if they are using Outlook on a daily basis for work and GMail for personal.  

Some prefer to have a separate message for each reply or forward because it is more intuitive, more similar to Outlook or other e-mail applications, or because keeping track of replies and forwards to and from multiple parties is simply easier without the threading.  

To turn off the Conversation/Threaded view of messages within GMail:

  1. Click the small gear icon in the far upper-right corner of the window.
  2. Click Mail Settings.
  3. About 5 sections down from the top, find the section labeled Conversation view.  Change it to Conversation View Off.
  4. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click the Save Changes button.

I personally will keep the conversation view, but I am curious which you favor, and more importantly why.  Let me know if you try the instructions above and if you find this helpful