The basic Gmail view and theme is fairly clean and easy to read. But there may be room for improvement depending on your personal preferences and hardware setup. For example, even if John Smith likes viewing his mail in a roomy layout because he is on a 24-inch monitor, his daughter Jill Smith might only be using a 13-inch laptop and find it easier to look at a tightly-packed setup instead.
Fortunately, this and much more is pretty easily realized within the service’s settings. To start with there are three basic settings for how much room is given between the elements in Gmail’s user interface. These are found beneath the gear icon at the upper right.
As we can see here, the current view preference is indicated as Comfortable. Below that option are Cozy and Compact, each slightly more compressed than the option above it. Clicking on any of the three options will set it as the desired view. As a caveat, users viewing in in Comfortable will actually have their display scaled down to Cozy if their window is too small.
Once you have adjusted the view to your liking, the next step is to take a look at the Themes option. Opening it up will take you directly into the last tab of the Settings. Your current theme (by default: light) will be highlighted, and the rest of the options will be arrayed in a list on the page.
Changing your theme is as easy as clicking on the desired option. There are four types of themes available:
- Color Themes
- HD Themes
- Custom Themes
- Classic Themes
Each color theme follows a basic palette, and offers a coordinated experience. These are pretty safe bets as they cover the usual colors people find pleasant.
For those looking for a bit more imagery, there are the HD themes. Offering an attractive image background, some of them change depending on the time of day at your location. If you have not yet set your location, you will be prompted to do so when you choose one of these themes. Should you not set a location, the capital city of your country will be used by default. Below is an example of the HD theme called Turf.
If you choose to make a custom theme, you are given a large number of options for backgrounds. The basic theme can either be light or dark, but from there you can choose from many different images to suit your interests. In this next image, you can see that a light custom theme was chosen, with the image of a sea lion. The view in an uncluttered inbox is quite decent as you can see. All the more reason to keep things tidy.
Finally, there’s a collection of interesting little themes at the bottom of the pack called classic themes. They’re more of a total package like the color themes, but have more graphical elements like the HD and custom themes. The following image shows off the Ninja classic theme.
Gmail offers enough customization that you can be sure to find something in the themes which suits your mood. And if you get tired of the status quo, you can always change your mailbox’s look in a few moments.
So take a little while to play with the themes on your account and see what strikes your fancy. Email doesn’t have to be mundane and boring, after all. Gmail makes it a point to make each visit to your inbox a little bit more fun.