How the Stars in Gmail Can Make Your Life Easier

Ben Stegner 15-01-2016

Gmail has plenty of features; some awesome, and some that might annoy you. One option allows you to mark emails with stars or other symbols for easy categorizing. Let’s take a quick look at how you can use these to your advantage.


If you haven’t noticed, every email in Gmail has a star outline in between the checkbox and the “important” icon. Each time you click it, it cycles through several colors of stars as well as an exclamation point, question mark, or check mark.

If you use the standard Gmail inbox view with categories Primary, Promotions, etc. categories, starring an email will place it in your Primary box automatically.

Use of the stars and icons is up to how you manage email, but perhaps taking Mihir’s advice on Gmail labels Rediscover Gmail Labels and Finally Tame Your Inbox There are plenty of tricks to deal with email overload, but there's one right under your nose that you might not be using: good old Gmail labels. Read More would be a good place to start. Different colored stars could be used to mark important receipts, memos, etc. while the punctuation boxes could mean that you need to follow up on that email or make an appointment for it.

Those who don’t use these stars: if you accidentally click a star, you don’t have to click ten times to cycle through all options; just wait a few seconds and click it again to make it blank.

If you’d like to remove them completely, head to Gmail settings and under Stars you can re-arrange the order or remove stars from the rotation completely. If you’d like to use only a few you can do so, or remove them all to rid yourself of the feature.


Get more Gmail goodness with some new features you might have overlooked What's New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out You might have missed out on a few new features Gmail has gradually added in the past year. So let's look at what deserves our attention. Read More .

How do you use Gmail stars? Let us know in a comment!

Image Credit: Alexey Boldin via

Related topics: Email Tips, Gmail.

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  1. Anonymous
    January 20, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Instead of giving me all these contrived, cutesy categorizing options, let me sort emails on the Sender, Topic and Date fields. I'll do my own categorizing. Also, give me the option to "send directly to Spam", instead of just sending it to Trash, when an email matches the filter's parameters. On a daily basis I have to go through my Trash and, one by one, manually declare spammy emails as such.