Change Gmail icons in the toolbar to text buttons

June 12, 2020

Although every update brings something new, not all users can keep up with the change, especially when they are not so tech-savvy. Among many new enhancements in the Gmail service, the new icon-based toolbar buttons remind us of one such instance. If you do not like this setting, it's easy to change and switch to the text-based icon descriptions. See how to change the Gmail icons with text buttons.

Google Mail

How to replace Gmail icons in the toolbar with text descriptions

Following Google’s decision to replace Gmail text-based descriptions with icon buttons, many users experienced confusion. A large majority of them were well conversant with old text-based buttons as they found it to be more descriptive. This was not the case with icon buttons. So, if you want the old text buttons back, here's how to change the Gmail icons with text buttons.

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Choose See all settings.
  4. Navigate to Button labels.
  5. Check Text circle.

So, as you can see above, you can replace icons for Gmail with Gmail letter icons in a few easy steps.

How do i get the toolbar back in Gmail?

Login to your Gmail account.

Navigate to the ‘Settings’ menu (visible as a cogwheel icon in the upper-right corner of the window) and select it.

See All Settings
See All Settings

When the new window opens, choose the ‘See all settings’ option. The latest version of Gmail displays a new Quick Settings menu. It includes various options such as different interfaces, inbox types, and display options. ‘See all Settings’ option is visible as a button under the ‘Quick Settings’ menu.

Next, switch to the ‘General’ tab of the Settings and scroll down to locate ‘Button labels’.

Button Labels
Button Labels

If seen, you’ll notice there are 2 options visible under this section,

  • Icons
  • Text

By default, the ‘Icons’ option is checked. You’ll need to disable this by checking the ‘Text’ circle.

Scroll down further, hit the Save changes button.

Changed Gmail Icon Buttons
Changed Gmail Icon Buttons

Once the process is complete you should Gmail icon buttons being replaced with text buttons.

If you would like to undo this change simply select the ‘Icons’ option again under the Button Labels section of Settings.

Hope that makes sense!


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Hemant Saxena
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