How to use Multiple Gmail Inboxes

How to Use Multiple Inboxes in Gmail

All the ways to use multiple inboxes in Gmail – Updated for 2022/23.
Director of Customer Success

In a Nutshell

Depending on your inbox type, there are many ways to configure Gmail so you can access multiple inboxes.  Follow the instructions below if you'd like to use Gmail's free multiple inbox feature.  For a more advanced setup, see what Keeping has to offer.

Table of Contents

Are you trying to juggle multiple Gmail inboxes at work? For example, your customer service team may monitor two inboxes on a daily basis: their own Gmail work account and the shared customer service account. The latter is an account shared by your customer service team that customers can contact with requests. It may have an address such as support @yourcompany.com.

If your team is monitoring more than one inbox, you can improve their productivity by teaching them how to manage multiple inboxes in Gmail.

Depending on your inbox type, there are many ways to configure Gmail so you can access multiple inboxes.

Table of Contents

How to setup multiple inboxes inside Gmail

Anyone with a Gmail account can add mini inboxes to their primary inbox. This makes it easier to organize your inbox into different sections based on the type of email, the project that it is related to or the person who sent it.

Gmail, Google Workspace, and GSuite provide a built in (and free) way to share multiple inboxes in a single account.  This is a great option for a solo user who needs access to multiple accounts.  We don’t recommend this option if you are trying to share multiple inboxes across a team.  Skip ahead to the next section if that’s you.

Multiple Inboxes in Gmail

Follow these steps to add multiple inboxes to your Gmail account:

  1. In the upper right corner of your Gmail, click the Gear Icon to see your settings, but don’t click See All Settings.
  2. Scroll down, and under Inbox Type, choose Multiple Inboxes.
  3. Now choose Customize. 
  4. Now use a search query to define how you see your new inbox. You should see two columns in this section: “Search query” and “Panel title.” In the “Panel title” column, type the name of the first multiple inbox you would like to add to your primary inbox. The name should describe the type of emails that will be sent to this inbox. For example, if you want to create a separate inbox for all emails sent from your manager, label it with your manager’s name.
  5. Enter “to: support @company.com” to create an inbox for email sent to another account.
  6. Optionally enter a name for your new inbox under section name.
  7. Once you finish defining your multiple inboxes, scroll down to the bottom of the page. In the “Maximum page size” section, enter the number of emails you want to be visible in each of your multiple inboxes. This is the number of emails you will see in each inbox when looking at your primary inbox.
  8. Then, go to “Multiple inbox positioning” to choose whether you want your multiple inboxes to appear to the right of, above, or below your primary inbox.
  9. Now click Save Changes.

How to manage a Gmail inbox with multiple inboxes

Once you navigate back to your inbox, you should see your newly created multiple inboxes. Now the rules you applied to define each inbox should take effect. For example, say you created a separate inbox for all emails sent from your manager. After following the steps above, this rule will take effect, which means all emails from your manager should appear in your new inbox rather than your main inbox.

Managing Gmail multiple inboxes is similar to managing a single Gmail inbox. You can choose how to organize, prioritize, and respond to incoming emails. The only difference is you will need to check all of your inboxes rather than just your primary inbox.

How to send email from a different account

If you’d like to send email from a different account than the one you are logged into, you’ll need to add another email address to your account and verify it.

  1. In the right corner of your Gmail, click Settings.
  2. Click the Accounts tab.
  3. Scroll down to the “Send mail as” section, and click Add another email address.
  4. Enter the address  of the email you want to send from.
  5. Click Next Step and then Send verification.
  6. If this is a school or work account, you may need to enter the SMTP server and the username and password on that account.
  7. Click Add Account.
  8. Sign in to the account that you just added.
  9. Find the confirmation message from Gmail and click the link.

Other ways to use multiple inboxes in Gmail

Use email aliases

Gmail allows you to send email addresses from alternate emails, also known as aliases, which you can set up if you are an administrator for Google Workspace for work or schools. Administrators can enable their users to send and receive emails from an alias with up to 30 alternate email addresses at no extra cost. 

An email alias is a forwarding email account that the administrator can add to the user’s primary email account. When someone sends a message to the alias it is automatically received in the user’s primary account. If you want to read emails sent to the alias, you sign into your primary Google Workspace account. 

It’s important to remember that only one user can use the email alias, so if you want multiple users to be able to access the email you should use Gmail delegation instead (covered in the next section). 

You might want to use Google Workspace email aliases if you are running a small business and fulfilling multiple roles. For example, Bob is a solopreneur who creates three email aliases: support @bob.com for customer support emails, billing @bob.com for invoices and sales @bob.com for sales. Using Google Workspace aliases, Bob can receive all his emails to his primary Workspace account. 

Email aliases cannot be shared by multiple users, so they are not suitable for teams. You also can’t create an alias with the same email address that is already being used by your organization. You can’t use them to sign into Google and access services like Google Drive. 

Google Workspace Add Alias

To add an email alias for a user: 

  1. Sign into your Google Admin Console. 
  2. Go to Menu > Directory > Users
  3. Click on a user’s name to open the user settings page. 
  4. Under the user’s name on the left click Add alternate emails.
  5. Click Alternate email and type in a name for the alias (the section of the email before the @ symbol). 
  6. (Optional) You can select a secondary domain if you need to. 
  7. Hit Save

So using email aliases in Gmail is great if you have a single person that needs to send and receive emails from multiple addresses. Read on for the way to do it if your group or organization needs to share email addresses. 

Delegate a user’s email address

Email delegation grants access to one or more users to a single email account, who are known as ‘delegates’. This option is useful for teams who want to share an email address such as support @company.com, in which case you want multiple users to read and send emails. 

A delegated email account offers most of the usual benefits of a normal Gmail account. It includes the ability to automatically sort emails with filters. You can maintain a record of your correspondence by archiving email. You can also keep track of the status of your emails using labels. 

Delegates can read, send and delete emails for the delegated account, so you can use it just like you would a normal email account. Naturally, even though teams can share the delegated account, it’s not always easy to keep track of who is responding to certain emails and some emails may be at risk of slipping through the cracks. 

Delegated email accounts are useful for teams who have up to 1000 members that need to read and respond to emails from the same address, although Gmail recommends adding no more than 40 delegates. Any more than 40 starts to impact performance. 

It’s important to remember that delegates can’t be assigned to aliases because aliases aren’t Google Accounts. Also, Google Workspace admins have control over whether messages sent by delegates include both the email address of the account owner and the delegate, or the account owner only.

To delegate an email address

  1. Log into your Google Admin console. 
  2. Navigate to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail.
  3. Select User settings > Mail delegation
  4. To activate email delegation, check the box next to Let users delegate access to their mailbox to other users in the domain.
  5. You can control which sender address the recipient sees by selecting an option under Sender information shown to recipient
  6. Hit Save

So once you’ve set up email delegation, multiple users can start reading and responding to mail from the same email address. 

Google Groups Collaborative Inbox

Another way you can share email accounts is using the Google Groups Collaborative Inbox. For example, teams of customer support agents can read and respond to any email that is received by the Collaborative Inbox, and the reply will always come from the shared email address. 

Your administrator for your work or school’s Google account needs to turn on Groups for Business. The Group owner must turn on Collaborative Inbox features for an existing Group or create a Collaborative Inbox Group. 

You create a Google Group by: 

  1. Sign in to Google Groups at https://groups.google.com/.
  2. Click on the Create group button on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Enter your details, including the Group name, your Group email address and your group description. Hit Next to proceed.
  4. Adjust your privacy settings then click Next.
  5. Assign your Group members using their email address. Finally, click Create group.

After you’ve created your Group, you then need to turn it into a Collaborative Inbox using the following steps: 

  1. Sign in to your Google Groups account at https://groups.google.com.
  2. Choose your Group from the list.
  3. Click on Group settings from the bottom of the left-hand navigation bar.
  4. Locate the option to Enable additional Google Groups features and check Collaborative inbox.
  5. Save your changes.

It’s important to know that once you’ve set up your Collaborative Inbox you can benefit from certain features, such as the ability to assign a conversation to yourself or others. This means that multiple team members can keep track of messages without stepping on each other’s toes. 

You can also manage conversations in other ways, such as marking them complete, needing no further action, or a duplicate of another conversation. This helps your team stay on top of the status of an email and to understand when action needs to be taken. 

In summary

So, to summarize, you might choose email aliases if you want a single user to have access to emails from multiple email addresses. This option is suitable for very small businesses who want to keep all their emails organized. 

You’d want to delegate your email inbox if you are a team that needs access to a shared email address. Delegates can be added to your Gmail account and share the task of reading and responding to emails. 

Google Groups Collaborative inbox offers more functionality than delegation, with specialized features that help teams to manage emails. Collaborative Inbox does exactly what it says on the tin, although starts to feel limited when you are managing emails at scale. 

Gmail offers a variety of ways to access shared email addresses, along with using multiple inboxes as we have discussed in-depth. Next, we’re going to look at some of the pros and cons of using multiple inboxes in Gmail. After that, we’ll explore why you might want to invest in a tool like Keeping which works on top of Gmail to help you manage your incoming emails. 

Pros and cons of using multiple inboxes in Gmail

There are some advantages to using multiple inboxes in Gmail, including:

  • Because everything stays within Gmail, your team won’t need to learn how to use another tool to manage their inboxes.
  • It’s easy to set up. It only takes a few minutes to create multiple inboxes so you can get started right away.
  • It helps you categorize your emails to keep them organized.
  • You can define your own inboxes, which allows you to customize your experience to fit your needs.
  • It’s free. Like other Google products, the Gmail multiple inboxes feature is free for all users.

There are also a number of drawbacks to using Gmail to manage your multiple inboxes, including:

  • You cannot use Gmail to set up multiple inboxes if you are currently using Promotions, Social, or other tabs to organize your emails. If you rely on these tabs to keep your inbox organized, this may not be the best option for you.
  • You can only manage up to five inboxes per account, so you need to choose wisely when deciding the best way to define each multiple inbox.
  • It is not an effective way to manage shared Gmail inboxes, which are inboxes that more than one person can access.
  • This feature was not built for customer support teams, so it is not ideal for managing customer support requests. Adding multiple inboxes will not give you access to the other features you need to collaborate with your team on customer support requests.
  • Some people don’t like the layout of Gmail multiple inboxes, which is more confusing than the layout of a standard Gmail inbox.

The bottom line? This is a great way to keep emails organized within your inbox, but it’s not ideal for customer support teams managing multiple inboxes.

Limitations of Gmail’s multiple inbox

Using Gmail’s built in multiple inbox feature works fine if you just need to separate one mailbox from another inside your Gmail interface.  But it doesn’t really help if you need to collaborate with a team.

Most folks that are looking to manage multiple inboxes inside Gmail are really looking for a shared inbox.  This is especially true if one of your inboxes is a support or help account.  It’s likely that you need more features than Gmail’s built in option. For instance, wouldn’t it be nice to know the status of a customer’s email? Or set a priority? How about being able to assign it to another team member? You’ll need a third party tool to handle these features.

Should your customer service team use Gmail to manage multiple inboxes?

The short answer? No, this feature was not designed for customer service teams who need to manage multiple inboxes. 

Why? Gmail’s multiple inboxes are not built with the tools that customer support teams need to efficiently work together on customer support requests. This includes the ability to see when someone else is already working on an incoming request.

For example, problems can arise whenever this representative sees an incoming email from a customer in the shared customer service account. The representative immediately sees the request and begins responding to it.

However, what they don’t know is that another member of the team who also monitors this shared inbox is already responding to it, so the customer ends up getting two responses to their request. Plus, they forget to change the “from” email address before sending the email. As a result, the customer receives a reply from their personal work email address rather than the support @yourcompany.com email address.

This feature is also lacking other essential tools that your customer support team needs, including the ability to assign tasks, communicate with one another, and update the status of tasks.

These are some of the many reasons why your customer service team should not use this feature to manage their shared inbox.

Why Do You Need A Tool to Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts?

It’s not easy to manage multiple Gmail accounts without a third party tool like Keeping. Why? Without the right tools, you may need to log in and out of different accounts to access multiple inboxes. This is not an efficient way to monitor your inboxes or keep track of your work.

If too many people are logging in and out of the same account, Gmail may even temporarily freeze the account, which can affect your team’s ability to respond to customer requests.

The bottom line? Gmail was not built for customer support teams, so it does not have the features your team needs to manage their work account in addition to the shared support account. For this reason, it is crucial to use a third party tool like Keeping to efficiently manage multiple Gmail accounts.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Keeping: The best way to manage multiple email accounts

Keeping is software that lets you and your team manage multiple email accounts together.

It is specifically designed for businesses that have multiple inboxes and that want to centralize them all into one interface. With Keeping, you can add an unlimited number of mailboxes. Adding and managing your team’s access to multiple gmail inboxes is easy.

All Gmail features work: Search, your filters, email signatures, file attachments, email forwarding, history, keyboard shortcuts, and more. You will also have access to all of Keeping’s features, which were designed to make managing multiple email accounts easy as possible.

Keeping Multiple Inboxes

How Keeping makes managing multiple gmail accounts easy

Keeping was built with all of the features you need to manage multiple email accounts and your customer support efforts with ease, including:

  • Collision detection. You won’t have to worry about your team duplicating their efforts if you use Keeping to manage your inboxes. Keeping is designed with a feature that tells you when someone else has already responded to an email or is in the process of responding. This way, you won’t waste your time working on a request that’s already being handled.
  • Task assignments. Keeping turns every email into a task that can be assigned to other members of your customer service team.
  • Status updates. Keeping allows you to update the status of every task in your inbox to Open, Closed, or Pending, which makes it easier to keep track of customer support requests.
  • Shared notes. Keeping allows you to attach notes to tasks so you can add important context or provide details about a specific request to your team members.
  • Reporting. You can pull reports to evaluate how well your team is handling incoming customer service requests. You can see important metrics such as the number of incoming requests and the average response time.
  • Automation. Set “if/then” rules to automatically assign tasks, prioritize incoming requests, or remove spam from your shared inbox. This eliminates many of the manual, time-consuming tasks involved in managing customer support requests.
  • Shared templates. Your team shouldn’t have to manually type out a response to frequently asked questions. Save the answers to these commonly asked questions so your team can insert a response into an email with just a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Confirmation receipts. Let your customers know you have received their request and are working on a response by using Keeping to set up automatic confirmation receipts.
  • Third party integrations. Thanks to Keeping, you can see all of the data you need to respond to customer support requests in your Gmail inbox. Simply use Keeping to connect to third party tools such as Shopify, Slack, Google Sheets, and more.

Keeping Assign Ticket

Why should you choose Keeping?

There are many multiple email manager tools to choose from, but none that can compare to Keeping. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Keeping is invisible to your customers. Your customers won’t know you are using Keeping to manage your customer support efforts. It is completely invisible to everyone who isn’t on your team.
  • Keeping works directly within Gmail. You won’t need to switch back and forth between Gmail accounts, programs, or apps to manage multiple email inboxes. Keeping allows you to manage everything directly within your Gmail inbox.
  • We will never hold onto your data. Unlike other help desks, we won’t hold your data hostage if you choose to stop using our services. It’s your data, so it will always belong to you.
  • We provide super responsive support. You won’t ever get stuck talking to a chatbot if you need assistance. You will always speak to a real, live human on our support team.
  • Keeping is safe and secure. Keeping is built with security and privacy as a top priority. We are hosted directly on Google’s servers, and all data is encrypted both in transit and at rest.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

How to set up Gmail multiple inboxes with Keeping

It only takes a few minutes to start managing your shared inboxes using Gmail. Here’s what to do:

  1. Log into Keeping using the Gmail account you use for work. You should use your own work Gmail account, not your team’s shared account.
  2. Enter your company’s name and the shared email address you use to provide customer service and support.
  3. Login to your shared email address with Keeping, and Keeping will automatically sync the email arriving here.  If you prefer, you can also use Gmail’s forwarding feature.
  4. You can ask Keeping to send a test email to your shared account to confirm that the email forwarding is working correctly.

The bottom line: what is the best way to manage Google multiple inboxes?

Keeping is the only tool that is designed specifically for customer support teams who need to manage Google multiple inboxes. It also works directly within Gmail, so your team won’t need to learn how to use a new tool to start using Keeping. These are some of the many reasons why small- and medium-sized businesses rely on Keeping to manage their inboxes and their customer service efforts. Start your free trial today to learn more about how Keeping can make it easier to manage your customer service efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you have multiple Gmail accounts one inbox?

Yes. Gmail has a feature called “Multiple Inboxes” that allows you to separate email from Gmail account in the same inbox.  Enable multiple inboxes in your Gmail settings to try this out.

How can I see all my Gmail accounts in one place?

There are multiple ways to see all of your Gmail accounts in one place. If you’d like to have multiple inbox sections and you don’t share your inbox with a team, then you can use Gmail’s free multiple inbox feature.  That way you can see a shared inbox next to your primary inbox.

What if your Gmail multiple inboxes are not showing up?

You cannot set up Gmail multiple inboxes if you are currently using Promotions, Social, Updates, or Forums tabs in your inbox. If your Gmail multiple inboxes aren’t showing up after following the steps listed above, you most likely need to disable these tabs.

To do so, click on “Settings.” Then, scroll down and click on “Inbox” to open your inbox settings. Confirm that “Primary” is the only option that is selected in the “Categories” section. If other options are selected, uncheck them and click “Save” before exiting. Unchecking these boxes should make the multiple inboxes appear in your primary inbox.

What are the advantages of having multiple inboxes in Gmail?

It can be a huge advantage to have all of your email in one place.  Logging into multiple Gmail accounts can get cumbersome, and it’s easy to miss email if you don’t constantly check the other account.  Depending on the number of emails you receive, Gmail’s built in functionality may be all that you need.

How does Keeping work?

Connect your team’s shared support account to Keeping by either a) forwarding the email to Keeping or b) using ‘Login with Google’. Then, Keeping will automatically start sending copies of emails sent to this shared account to each team member’s inbox. Our Chrome Extension automatically keeps these emails out of your main inbox. You’ll find them in a new folder located directly underneath your Drafts folder in your Gmail inbox. This keeps your customer support emails separate from the rest of your work.

You will need to install the Keeping toolbar from the Google Chrome store. This toolbar will give you access to all of Keeping’s features directly within your Gmail inbox.

Do I need a Gmail account to use Keeping?

Yes, Keeping works exclusively with Gmail and requires a Gmail account to work.

Does Keeping store my Gmail password?

No, Keeping does not store your Gmail password. You are required to enter your Gmail password during the sign in process. However, Keeping uses something called OAuth, which allows us to interact with Google’s servers without ever seeing or storing your Gmail password.

Can I view multiple inboxes in Gmail?

Without Keeping, you can view up to five inboxes in Gmail. However, Gmail’s multiple inbox feature was not designed with customer support teams in mind, so it is not built with the features you need to effectively manage a shared inbox. Keeping allows you to manage as many inboxes as you like.

What do multiple inboxes look like in Gmail?

Many people love Gmail because of its clean, simple design. But if you use Gmail’s multiple inbox feature, the minimalist inbox layout you are familiar with will change. Each inbox you add to your Gmail account will appear in a separate pane, which makes it difficult to stay organized, keep track of emails, and manage your workload.

What is the best way to manage multiple Gmail accounts?

Keeping is the best way to manage multiple inboxes within one Gmail account. Keeping turns every Gmail email into an assignable help desk ticket. You can use Keeping to delegate work to team members, share notes, insert templates into emails, update statuses of tasks, automate manual tasks, and much more. Thanks to Keeping, all of these features will be available within your Gmail inbox.

Andrew Rivers
Andrew Rivers
Andrew leads customer success at Keeping.