Have Gmail Open the Next Message Automatically

Save Time by Having Gmail Show You Your Next Email Without Having to Click It

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Where to NeXT?. © Gerben Wierda; CC BY-SA 2.0 license

When you're in a conversation in Gmail, and you choose to delete or archive it, you'll be taken back to the main list of messages. However, if you'd like to have Gmail take you to the next newer or older message automatically, there's a Gmail Labs you can enable that can do just that.

Here's an example of how this lab can save you some time. Say you're reading a new message and then you delete it, where you're then taken back to the list of messages where you click a new one again, read that and delete it...

and the cycle continues.

Instead of doing that, what this lab does is skips the middle portion of having to click that new message again. After you delete the email, you can have Gmail immediately and automatically take you right to the next new or old message so you can read that one.

Enable the "Auto-advance" Lab

By default, Gmail does not give you the option to open the next message automatically. Instead, you have to first install the Auto-advance lab.

  1. Open Gmail Labs.
  2. Search for Auto-advance in the search area.
  3. Click the Enable radio button next to the Auto-advance lab in the search results.
  4. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of that page.

Choose How Gmail Should Open the Next Message

There are two options with this lab. You can have it either take you to the next newer message or to the next older message. You can change this option whenever you want and you can even disable the whole lab on a whim.

  1. Open the General Settings of your Gmail account through the Settings icon (the gear at the top right of Gmail) and then Settings > General.
  2. Scroll down to the Auto-advance section.
  3. There are three options here and each of them are self-explanatory:

    Go to the next (newer) conversation: When the email is deleted or archived, the message just next to it, that's newer, will be shown.
    Go to the previous (older) conversation: Instead of the newer message appearing, the email just one older will show up.
    Go back to the threadlist: This is how you can turn off auto-advancing without having to disable the lab.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings page and click Save Changes.