How to Move Messages Between Inbox Tabs in Gmail

Use tabs in Gmail to categorize your incoming email

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Many users activate the tabs that Google offers for organizing incoming email. They appear at the top of the mail screen, next to Primary, and include Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. 

Usually, the filtering to the tabs is accurate, but occasionally you may find an important message hidden from initial view on the Updates tab or a newsletter cluttering your Gmail's Primary inbox tab.

Whenever the classification Gmail has performed does not suit you, correcting it—and moving a message to a different tab—is easy. You can tell Gmail to treat future messages from the same address like you just did to avoid repetition in the future.

How to Move Messages Between Inbox Tabs in Gmail

To move a message to a different tab in your Gmail inbox and to set up a rule for future emails from the sender:

  1. In your Inbox, click and hold the message you want to move the left mouse button. You can move more than one message at a time by placing a checkmark in the box before each one you want to move before clicking one of them.

  2. Keeping the mouse button pressed, move the mouse cursor and message or messages to the tab on which you want them to appear.

  3. Release the mouse button.

  4. To set up a rule for future messages from the same email address (assuming you moved emails from only one sender), click Yes under Do this for future messages from ... in the box that opens above the tab.

As an alternative to dragging and dropping, you can also use a message's contextual menu:

  1. Click on the message you want to move to a different tab with the right mouse button. To move more than one conversation or email, make sure all messages or entire conversations you want to move are checked.

  2. Choose Move to tab from the contextual menu and select the tab where you want the message or messages to appear.

  3. To create a rule for the sender's future messages (assuming you moved emails from only one sender), click Yes under Do this for future messages from ... in the box that opens above the tab.

How to Open or Close the Tabs

If you've never seen the tabs and want to try them out, here's how to configure Outlook.com to display the tabs:

  1. In your Gmail screen, click the Settings cog icon in the upper right corner.

  2. Select Configure Inbox from the drop-down menu that appears.

  3. Place a checkmark in front of each of the tabs you want to use. 

  4. Place a checkmark in front of Include starred in Primary so emails from starred individuals always appear in your Primary inbox.

  5. Click Save.

If you change your mind later, follow this same process and unclick all but the Primary tab to return to a single tab.