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*UPDATED* Restore Old Gmail Look on New Gmail

4/24/12 – In the last few days, Gmail has forced all users into the new look. I have updated this post with better information. Below are a few methods I have found that will change and restore the new Gmail look to feel more like old Gmail. While they don’t address every annoyance, they major ones are fixed for me and I now don’t mind the New Gmail.

Reduce Size of Emails in Inbox

The default new view in Gmail is Comfortable. This makes your Inbox look like it’s double-spaced. Luckily, you can get the spacing of your inbox back to the old look. Go to the gear symbol in the top-right corner of your inbox (not the black bar at the top) and change the Display Density to “Compact”

Change the Symbols for Archive, Spam, Trash, Move, Labels to Text

It seems Google is “sorta” listening to all the problems about the new Gmail look. This change no longer requires a “Stylish” tweak.

Click the Gear (in the top right) > Settings > General > Button labels. Change the Button Labels to “Text”.

Rounded and Compressed Messages

After the compact view and text buttons, this is the next HUGE annoyance: messages and their threads are hard to see. To change back to a view that is more compact and easier to view threaded messages, you’re going to need a plugin that only works for Chrome and Firefox called Stylish.

First, install Stylish:
Chrome –
Firefox –

Second, go to and you’ll have a big green button to install this script.

Change your Theme

Under the Gear in the top right, choose Themes and find something you like. I find this makes it easier to navigate and read Gmail better with the Beach theme.

Find your Contacts and Tasks

Gmail has hidden the link in the top left to find your Contacts and Tasks. You must now click the word MAIL in the top left to see them.

Other Tweaks and Tricks

If the above tweaks and changes aren’t enough for you, you have a couple options:

1. You can view Gmail in basic HTML mode: This view reduces *some* functionality and you loose the ability to theme Gmail.

2. You can try a number of custom styles with Stylish. Users at have created a number of them. Just go on over to For a comprehensive overhaul to the New Gmail look, I recommend The Return of Old Gmail.

3. If you want to get the old Gmail beach theme and look back, I have made a bunch of custom tweaks myself to The Return of Old Gmail. To get it, first install The Return of Old Gmail (if you already installed Stylish). Then go to and click the Stylish “S” in the top right corner of your browser. Click Edit on The Return of Old Gmail and replace the code with everything from this file:

Have any other tips? Leave them in the comments!

11 thoughts on “*UPDATED* Restore Old Gmail Look on New Gmail

  1. alas,
    they removed the old skin forever. I’d probably be more productive with the basic html version ( add ?ui=html to the end)

    1. Today, I don’t see the option to switch back in my new look account. But my old look account is still sporting the old gmail look.

  2. Thanks! This article was extremely helpful. Especially with the extra line of code in the end that helped straighten out the words.

    How do I edit the “Return of Old Gmail look” to get rid of the dark, jarring blue color of the box borders? I want to try to make it easier on the eyes with some light gray or something.

    1. if you use “Inspect Element” in Chrome or Firefox, you can play with the CSS to find the right tweak. Then edit and save it in the styles of Stylish

      1. Thanks! That’s awesome! I never knew that! (I’m not really much of a computer guy to be fair though…)

        Um… do you know how I could find/what are the codes are for different colors?

        I was only able to figure out #aaa as dark gray and #bbb, #ccc, #ddd, as progressively lighter shades of gray… The other colors I could not get?

          1. AWESOME! You rock! Thanks again! 

            BTW, I also found how to change it to rgb in inspect element, so that was rendered moot. However, converting it back into HTML color codes was really useful for copying/pasting/typing into the Style edit.

  3. Thank you so much!

  4. I thought  woke up today to nice Sunday morning until I loaded GMail which was with new look and Revert old look button was gone, now I have to waste time thinking where to move if Zoho, Hotmail or Yahoo do me a service, because Google apparently don’t want me and I am not gonna install 35 extensions to slow down browser to have usable e-mail

  5. I’ve updated the post to incorporate more tweaks made from the gmail settings. The only tweak now that requires a plugin is make threaded emails easier to read.

  6. how to view, delete old email? Ican’t page back

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