I used to see preview text from email messages in Gmail on my computer, but now I just get the subject lines. Is there a setting or preference in Gmail that restores this feature?
Thought its user interface isn’t particularly elegant, there are quite a lot of different changes you can make to how Google Mail [Gmail] shows your email, whether an individual message or the overview list of messages in your inbox or other folder. Colors, themes, background images, typeface, language, even whether there are various little icons included that show whether it’s a secure sender, whether you ‘starred’ the message, whether it was addressed to you and much more are all options if you’re willing to monkey around with Gmail’s settings.
What you’re talking about, where the empty space to the right of a displayed subject shows a half-dozen or more words from the beginning of the email message itself, I call a “preview” but Gmail refers to as a “snippet”. In fact, the Gmail team says that it’s “just like Web search!”
Let’s see how it works and I’ll show you how to turn it on – it is quite handy, actually!
First, my inbox without the Gmail snippet preview text shown. Just subject lines:
Lots of empty space, particularly on messages like the one from Perry where the subject’s quite short.
To change the snippet setting, click on the gear icon on the top right, just below your photo:
You can experiment with different display density (I change it up occasionally just to make things interesting) and you can change themes if you’d like a different visual appearance, but for this task, click on “Settings“, as highlighted.
Now you’ll be in the rather crude Gmail settings area, with its category list along the top:
You can also see Language settings above too: You can specify you prefer Gmail in Spanish or Thai if you’d like. Notice you can also block email addresses from getting into your inbox too (see category “Filters and Blocked Addresses”). That can be handy sometimes. ‘nuf said.
Scroll down on the General section, however, and near the bottom you’ll find the Snippets setting:
See what I mean? “like Google web search!” 🙂
Turn on snippets by clicking on “Show snippets” then go to the bottom of this page to click “ Save“. Now you can go back to your inbox or other folders and instead of empty space, it shows a few words from the beginning of the email itself:
More useful, in my opinion. And now you know how to turn it on and off you can try both ways and see which is more aesthetically pleasing for your tastes!