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How To Disable Gmail’s Conversation View

Deactivate Gmail Conversation View

If you ask me, one of the greatest innovations that Google has brought to email is the conversation view.  It’s not hard to see that many agree and even Microsoft included it in Outlook 2010. But, none-the-less there are some people who get their mojo disrupted if they can’t see copious separate emails on their page.

By default, conversation view is enabled for all Gmail accounts.  Conversation view organizes related emails that share the same subject and time-range into groups.  These groups of emails become threaded so that you can easily see the history of the conversation, if you were wondering what inspired Google Wave… this was it!

conversation view difference in gmail

Anyhow, once conversation view is disabled your emails will go back to the plain-jane confusing format that everyone was used to in 1998.  But – that might be what you like or need.  For example, when a someone leaves a comment on a groovyPost I get an email immediately, and Gmail tends to group them a little weird so conversation view off actually makes it easier to read them.  It’s really simple to change, let’s look at it.

How To Turn Off Conversation Grouped Emails In Gmail

Step 1

In Gmail, Click the Settings button to go to the settings page.  You should automatically be on the General tab.  There Scroll down to Conversation View and Select Conversation View off.

disable conversation view gmail


Now conversation view should be off!  That only took one simple step, groovy eh?

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19 Responses to How To Disable Gmail’s Conversation View

  1. groovinJackman October 5, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    I dunno – first of all, I never trust anyone who doesn’t like cilantro. And I think allowing people to disable conversation view is just enabling them to stay set in their old, inefficient ways. But then again, if Gmail were a person, I’d drink its bathwater, so my views are a bit biased.

    • Craig July 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

      Well actually this feature is good to disable when you want to delete massive amounts of emails but don’t want to delete ones that where forwarded or replied to. Like today I decided to clean up my emails, and wanted to delete 16,000 emails however I did not want to delete any of my replies or forwards based on those emails. I had to turn this feature off so they would not show in the search and therefore could not be selected when mass deleting.

      • MrGroove July 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

        Wow…. that’s a lot of email!

        For me, I rarely delete anything anymore with my gmail account. I try to just organize things using Filters and Labels. So far, works good for me.

        • Craig July 26, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

          Yeah the reason for deleting them is they keep appearing in searches when I am trying to find an email quickly. They are just notification emails and when there is a problem I look back and see what was done and forward them. hence not wanting to delete the forwards and replies. When I calculated how much space these emails take up I was surprised to find it was 1/3 of my total used space.

  2. limerockcodger October 5, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Far out!!! Once again you hit me with a wonderful tidbit of info. I send proof copies of email campaign mailings to clients and had to game gMail by changing each subject. Besides making it difficult to separate the revised copy,Gmail would “quote” some of an HTML email and it would display with different font sizes/colors etc, confusing my clients and vexing me!

    Your posting will save me many hours over the course of a year. THANK YOU

    • MrGroove December 5, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

      Awesome! I love it when we write something and it actually helps someone for reals. 😉 Cool. AND, welcome to the community Limerock!

  3. limerockcodger October 5, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Speaking of HTML emails and Gmail, boy howdy, it is a pain in the butt to format for both T-bird and Gmail.

    I have to use archaic HTML, and some very ugly embedded tables. What really puzzles me is that I need to spec and then use and , at least that is the workaround I hit on and haven’t time to fine tune. At least it works and both T-bird and Gmail display my code more or less as I want.

    Thanks again for this site.

  4. limerockcodger October 5, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    Uhh that is lt; font size=-1gt; and lt;biggt; and lt;smallgt; etc

  5. Simon October 6, 2010 at 6:26 am #

    Thanks for that…have just diabled it! I actually like the conversation view in Outlook 2010 but have always found the gmail implementation of it really poor when there are more than a few replies – multiple messages grouped together are really difficult to follow in gmail. I think so anyway. Thanks again.

  6. Jason October 7, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    I love love love that I can finally go back to normal emails. However, I have tried going into settings and general tab and it is just NOT an option??? Please help.

  7. Sam December 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    I find it incredibly insulting that you slanted your article as a slam against those who just don’t find “Conversations” a useful part of any email system. The fact that you refer to it as, “the plain-jane confusing format that everyone was used to in 1998” screams of your ignorance about how the rest of us use email. I don’t give a flying hoot if you feel this feature has saved your life, don’t suggest everyone else are Neanderthals because they find a traditional view so much more practical. Those of us in the, “I hate Conversation groupings” camp, rarely call for the abolition of that feature. We simply want the option of disabling it. The very idea that it took Google YEARS to get this message tells us that management at Google has gone corporate… in a bad way. By the way, I am forced to use HTML because I have a dialup connection… and this Disable feature still does not exist. Will it be years before they get that message?

    • limerockcodger December 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

      Hey, lighten up, Sam. There is no “slant” in this delightfully precise little article, nor is there even a hint of a “slam”. Mr. G certainly didn’t “insult” me, but rather gave me a quick fix for a problem that was unique to my situation. It is one of those webtricks that save a few minutes, but save those minutes day after day and result in a tremendous net time (and in my case, efficiency) saving.

      Next time you visit a free help website, perhaps you might consider a bit of restraint in your comments, and show some appreciation for the freely given tip, while you exhibit a bit less churlishness!

      And if you can’t tweak the settings in HTML view, why not try logging in via the connection at your local Library or over a friend’s broadband to get into the settings and make the change? The settings will “stick”.

      Don’t know what Mr. Groovy’s billing rate is in his “day job”, but I just gave you $20 of MY time!!!

      • MrGroove December 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm #


        It’s people like you limerockcodger that keep me going! thnx.


    • MrGroove December 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

      Hi Sam. I’m sure grooveDex didn’t intend to insult anyone but rather, announce the new google feature to blow away threads should have the want. Unfortunately looks like this didn’t help you out as your still using the Basic Mode of GMAIL. Will keep an eye on that a drop another note if Google adds the feature.

  8. Bulivar Stagnasty December 19, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Unfortunately, the disable conversations/threads is STILL NOT A FUNTIONALITY FOR SMARTPHONE APPS!!!

    THE REASON WHY SOME OF US do not like the conversation thread (on our smartphones) is for security reasons:

    I have a webcam that sends an automated email notification, with 5-second video snippet, whenever something “trips” my security camera.

    Since the SUBJECT HEADING is always the same (ie:”garage secuity cam 04 alert”)… my Andriod phone with GMail will only notify me “one time” only… even if there are repeated/threaded security cam alert emails.
    UNTIL GMAIL UNDERSTANDS WHY SOME OF US NEED a ON/OFF funtionality for threaded conversations (for smartphones too… not just desktop email apps), I’ll use another smartphone email app!!!

    • MrGroove December 21, 2010 at 11:28 am #

      Ahh… yeah that makes sense why you wouldn’t want the conversation thread enabled…. Bummer Bulivar!

  9. Dana June 9, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Cheers for that, that feature has been bugging me for ages!

  10. claire March 26, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    Wow thanks, I just deleted an important email and spent ages trying to find it again in that stupid conversation view. Switched the view off and found the email immediately. I was just about to leave gmail!

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