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2,862 Tutorials

Change Gmail's Button Icons Back to Text

Not happy with Gmail's recent makeover? There's an easy way to replace those confusing icons with simple, straightforward text.

Maybe it's because I don't like change, or maybe it's because I hate it when software developers assume that everyone can figure out their cryptic icons, but I wasn't a fan of Gmail's recent makeover.

In particular, I didn't like the switch from simple, straightforward text labels for various buttons to attractive but largely incomprehensible icons.

Here's what Gmail looks like now:

And here's what it looked like before:

Do you miss "before" as much as I do? Then you'll be glad to hear that Google now gives you the option of going back in time, interface-wise.

Just open up Gmail in your browser, click the little gear icon in the upper-right corner, and then click Settings.

With the General tab selected, look for the Button Labels option and click on Text. Scroll down to the bottom, click Save Changes, and you're done!

Now that's an interface I can understand. Curiously, and amusingly, that little gear icon remains a gear. Guess Google thinks that symbol is universally recognized. I disagree: if you're going to use an icon for settings, I think a wrench is more logical. Don't agree? What symbol would you suggest?

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at [email protected], or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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