Learn the Correct Way to Configure Gmail Smart Labels

No configuration is needed, but you can tweak the settings

High angle view of label on table
Eddy Zecchinon / EyeEm/Getty Images

Gmail's Smart Labels need no configuration: They prompt Gmail to sort your incoming email into categories including Promotions, Personal, Notifications, Bulk, Social, Travel, and Forums. Gmail automatically labels newsletters and other mass emails with the Bulk smart label, while messages from mailing lists are routed to the Forum label, for example.

Gmail's Smart Labels can benefit from a little configuration, of course. If you prefer to see certain emails in your Category list but not in your message list, setting changes are as easy as modifying any rule in Gmail—or easier.

Enabling Smart Labels in Gmail

If you don't see Categories in the sidebar on your Gmail screen, you may not have Smart Labels activated. You enable them on the Labs tab:

  1. Click the Gear icon in the top right corner of your Gmail screen.

  2. Select Settings from the drop-down menu that appears.

  3. Click the Labs tab at the top of the screen that opens.

  4. Scroll down to Smart Labels and click the radio button next to Enable.

  5. Click Save Changes.

Configure Gmail Smart Labels

To change how a specific category and the emails it contains are displayed:

  1. Click the Gear at the top of the Gmail navigation bar.

  2. Select Settings from the drop-down menu.

  3. Go to the Filters category.

  4. Go to the Categories section.

  5. Next to each of the categories listed, select to either show or hide it from the label list and also to show or hide it in the message list

You also select to show or hide all the Categories from the label list and the message list.