Change Button Labels Gmail to Text instead of icons

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Gmail interface allowing you to change Button labels in the toolbar to customize and switch the button from Icons to Text under the General tab in Settings. Check below simple settings toggle.

The new layout redesign in 2012 brought with icons and added the feature to change between icon and text. Initially, users dislike the new look toolbar and prefer to find a tweak for customizing to the text instead. Mostly for new users, the icon-based buttons might be annoying and hard to understand if not the expert user.
Change Gmail button Labels icons
Change Gmail button Labels icons

How to change Gmail Button Label icon to text.

Very simple settings toggle to replace icons with text, click on Gmail gear icon and hit the Settings then under the General tab scroll down to Button Labels section and hit switch between via radio button to replace.

Gmail Settings
Gmail Settings
  1. From on gear icon from the top right and navigate to Settings
  2. Scroll down in General Tab to Button Labels section
  3. Switch from icon to text or icon symbols
  4. Scroll down to Save changes
    Button labels
    Button labels
Save Changes Gmail
Save Changes Gmail


The Difference between Gmail Buttons label text and icon.

Below illustration is showing Gmail Toolbar Buttons labels differences between the Icon and Text for All Mails, Inbox, Spam, and Trash. Google concentration was accessibility for people with low vision to identify the icon instead of text if difficult to read the words.

All Mails Toolbar icons and text


Button labels All Mails Gmail

inbox Toolbar icons and text

Button labels inbox Gmail

Spam Toolbar icons and text

Button labels Spam Gmail

Trash Toolbar icons and text

Button labels Trash Gmail
Some users comments on exclamation symbol indicating to mark and report as spam. The symbol is not helpful for people to understand unless hover the mouse cursor to view the alt text. Therefore the choice is there to revert from icon-syle to familiar texts. These options are available for both free accounts and Google App for work account.

Gmail Icon and Symbol meaning in Toolbar.

As shown in above screenshots refer to below simple definitions.
  1. Select: Selecting all items (emails messages)
  2. Archive: Removing inbox label. Archive known as All Mails.
  3. Trash: Delete item
  4. Delete forever: Deleting items from Trash or Spam.
  5. Spam: Marking contents or reporting spam.
  6. Not Spam: Marking message "Not Spam".
  7. Mark as read: Show the message as reading. Unread mail is demonstrating with the white light background.
  8. Move to: Moving contents to another label.
  9. Labels: Tagging with Labels.
  10.  More: Looking for more options. Dropdown menu.

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HowGear: Change Button Labels Gmail to Text instead of icons
Change Button Labels Gmail to Text instead of icons
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