Activate the new Gmail and Google Calendar Interfaces

Google has been changing the look and feel of many of their products since rolling out Google+ a few days ago.

The new Google product UI is very different than we’ve been used to from Google, and I personally really like the new look, and couldn’t wait to use them.  To learn more about the new Google design, read their blog post.

New GMail Interface

New GMail Interface

New Google Calendar Interface

New Google Calendar Interface

I am a heavy Gmail and Google Calendar user, so when I found out that there was a new interface for Google Mail and Google Calendar I was excited to try them, and went hunting around each piece of software to find out how to enable these interfaces.

I’ve detailed below how to enable the new interface for both Google Mail (Gmail and Google Apps mail), and Google Calendar.  Try the new look out, and if you don’t like it you can easily revert to the previous look.

Unfortunately, there is no new UI for Google Contacts or Google Docs yet, though I’d imagine they are coming soon.


The new Gmail interface is available to all users (personal Gmail and Google Apps).  I was looking for the new interface in Labs, but it turns out that it can be enabled as a Theme.

Note: Your Gmail interface may have a different color scheme, depending on the theme you’re using.  You may also have extra tabs/links in the Settings page depending on what Labs options you have enabled or disabled.

  1. All Google users should now see some version of the Google header bar at this point.  Yours might be a different colour (Google is rolling out a new black header for users).  In the far right hand corner, you should see a new gear icon.  Click on the gear icon to open the sub menu, and select Mail Settings.

    Enable the new Gmail Interface: Step 1

    Step 1

  2. From the Settings screen, select Themes.

    Enable the new Gmail Interface: Step 2

    Step 2

  3. Themes allow you to change how your Gmail looks.  There are a lot of great themes available (previously my favourite was Shiny).  The new Gmail interface is at the bottom right hand corner and is called Preview. There is also a slightly different version called Preview (Dense) which I actually prefer because it’s a little more compact.

    Enable the new Gmail Interface: Step 3

    Step 3

Google posted an official post on the Gmail Blog previewing the new changes.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a little different.  The new interface isn’t in Themes.  It’s actually much easier to get to.

  1. Click on the Gear icon at the top left of the page.  From the dropdown menu select Try the new look.
    Enable the new Google Calendar Interface

Google created a support article about the new Google Calendar interface.


  1. Dan
    July 4, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

    You’re welcome Peter. I love the new look too. I’ve already started to see this look roll out to Google Search, Maps and Places. I noticed a change to the Analytics interface a while ago which doesn’t totally match. I wonder if they’ll be re-doing that as well?

    I am hoping the new interface comes to Contacts and Docs soon as well, then my whole Google Apps suite will have the awesome new look.

  2. Peter M
    July 4, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    Sweet, I love the new look for Gmail and Google Calendar. This is not just a simple tweak they’re doing now, it’s going across their different applications (Google+). Thanks for the tip.