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How to Have Gmail Open the Next Message Automatically When You Delete or Archive

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After deleting a message or archiving it, what do you usually do in Gmail? Do you open the next immediately; or do take a good look at the message list before deciding how to proceed?

If you open the next email immediately, Gmail need not take you on the message list detour. You can have it open the next (or the previous, if you prefer) message in the list automatically when you're done with one — archiving, deleting or muting it.

Have Gmail Open the Next Message Automatically When You Delete or Archive

To make Gmail automatically open the next (or previous) message instead of going back to the message list:

  • Make sure Auto-advance is enabled. (See below.)
  • Click the Settings gear in Gmail.
  • Choose Settings from the menu.
  • Go to the General tab.
  • Make sure either Go to the previous (older) conversation (recommended if you begin processing your Gmail messages on top) or Go to the next (newer) conversation is selected under Auto-advance: for After archiving, deleting, muting, etc. a conversation:.
    • You can turn off automatic advancing with Go back to the threadlist.
  • Click Save Changes.

Enable "Auto-advance" in Gmail Labs

To turn on Gmail's auto-advancing lab experiment:

  • Click the Settings gear in your Gmail's toolbar.
  • Select Settings from the menu that shows.
  • Go to the Labs tab.
  • Make sure Enable is selected for Auto-advance.
    • You can find the experiment by starting to type "Auto-advance" under Search for a lab:.
  • Click Save Changes.

(Updated October 2012)

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