Simplify Gmail for Google Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 4, 2019
Updated • Apr 4, 2019
Email, Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

Simply Gmail is a browser extension for Google Chrome that changes the Gmail web interface to a simpler less-cluttered version. The extension is developed by Michael Leggett, former Gmail lead designer and co-founder of Google Inbox.

Google shut down Inbox on April 2, 2019. Inbox was an attempt by the company to create a modern version of its email service. Google never shut down the old Gmail interface even though it was assumed by many that this would only be a matter of time.

Turns out, Google seems to have had a change of heart as the decision was made to discontinue Inbox and not the classic Gmail web interface or Gmail apps.

I did not like Inbox and had several reasons for that but Inbox managed to pile up a dedicated group of users who liked the service and preferred it over the classic Gmail interface. Inbox users liked some of the new features that Google added to the service and the simpler look and feel of the interface.

Google has brought some Inbox features over to Gmail already when it launched a new version of the Gmail interface in 2018.

Simply Gmail

Simplify Gmail is not a port of Inbox; it can best be described as a theme that is applied to the Gmail website. The theme hides certain features and moves elements around to eliminate clutter and make Gmail easier to use.

The extension is developed by Michael Leggett who was Gmail's lead designer from 2008 to 2012, and co-founder of Google Inbox. While some things have changed since that time, it is fair to say that he is more than qualified to modify the Gmail interface using Chrome extensions.

All you have to do is install the Simplify Gmail extension in Google Chrome to get started. You may check its source on GitHub as it has been released there by the developer.

You will notice the changes that it makes to Gmail right on your next visit to the site (or reload).

The extension changes the header on Gmail significantly. It removes icons and colors, the "Google" header at the top, and several other interface elements on Gmail.

Main features are still there but in a different form. The search shows up as a search icon instead of the big "search mail" field at the top on Gmail.

Other parts of Gmail, for example the Compose window, have been modified as well. The default compose window features two bars at the bottom that display formatting options and other tools.

gmail compose

Simplify Gmail's version reduces this to a single line to increase the space that you have for the actual email.

Closing Words

Simplify Gmail hides distractions on Gmail. It may be an attractive extension for Gmail web users who use the service regularly and prefer an interface that is not as cluttered or distracting. Gmail users who use the web interface occasionally only may not not spend enough time on the site to justify the installation of the extension.

Now You: do you use the Gmail web interface? Inbox? Another tool or service?

software image
Author Rating
4.5 based on 3 votes
Software Name
Simplify Gmail
Software Category
Landing Page

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Janice Fisk said on May 27, 2019 at 9:23 am

    SaneBox helps you live outside of your inbox and focus on the things that really matter.

  2. Anonymous said on April 30, 2019 at 7:19 am

    there is a bug on RTL foramtt. The search icon and select icon are too close.

  3. taylor1277 said on April 17, 2019 at 5:13 am

    The only bad thing about all the things they are changing with Gmail. Is I have two emails one is private and one is public, but if I need to use my extensions in Chrome and I always sign in with my public account, I can no longer read my private email in Chrome as of a few days ago. Great, another FU by Google. This is why I asked about the other question about Vivaldi browser.

  4. Hans Erbert said on April 7, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    way to simple this extension and the design is not ok on my screen, using 1080p resolution and between left menu and email there is a big empty space

    wanted to look for more extensions by same author and clicked a related stuff, stopped when the “gmail web clipper” asked for full access to my gmail :)) and noticed that is a totally different provider (cloud hq). before was simple to get other extensions, now i keep see that we involved as technology, everything it gets complicated :(

  5. Pierre said on April 6, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    “Simplify”, not “Simply”
    I hate it, I uninstalled it at once

  6. zakius said on April 5, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    MD2.0 is already simplified too much and wastes too much space to “not be cluttered”

    1. Janne said on April 5, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      well thats true but a tleast we can use Multiple Inboxes labs feature.

  7. Janne said on April 5, 2019 at 1:04 am

    Yes they who really like ultra simplified interfaces, please and use addons for that and leave us, who need features and options alone!.

  8. DComedian said on April 4, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    I have a problem with Gmail in my browser being very slow to load – between 10 and 15 seconds – so that I often use the basic HTML option instead nowadays. I don’t know if this is a widespread problem, or something specific to the extensions I’m using (such as uBlock Origin).

    I’ve been using gmail for many years, could it be to do with the number of historical messages I have?

    1. trends said on April 5, 2019 at 4:40 am

      I have noticed
      exactly the same problem!.
      My Gmail takes 10+ seconds
      to load…

      Very slow.

      Does Gmail load faster
      if you use this suggested Chrome addon?.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.