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Gmail versions – Basic HTML view and the standard view

Different Gmail email versions

Many users are not aware that Gmail comes in two versions. It’s fine if you belong to that group because such technicalities can be put aside as long as you find the service useful.

However, it’s always a good idea to at least know all the things Gmail has to offer. This article provides a brief introduction to the two Gmail versions so that you can choose the one which is more suited to your needs.

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Please understand that these versions differ only cosmetically. The information and data on your account isn’t altered if you switch between the versions.

Basic HTML view – the simpler Gmail version

The basic HTML Gmail view is the older of the two versions and it’s primarily for people on slower internet connections such as a dialup. Many bells and whistles like Gmail themes are missing from the standard view because these fancy features tend to make the web page heavy, slowing the functionality and page display. Here is a little tip – when there is a heavy download in progress (via a Torrent, for example) and you want to simultaneously check email on Gmail, use this version because it will load faster saving you precious time.

The standard Gmail view – the Advanced version

The standard Gmail view puts all the Gmail features at your disposal – Gmail themes, dynamic drop down menus, rich-text formatting for composing emails and many more. Though this results in file-size-heavy web pages, people on broadband and fast internet connections will hardly notice the difference.

The Gmail HTML basic view - the older version

Gmail newer version - the standard Gmail view

Please note that these two versions differ mainly in features that take time to load such as images, dynamic drop down menus. The basic functionality of composing and reading emails remains the same; though rich-text formatting is absent from the basic version.

Rich-text formatting missing from the basic HTML view - the older Gmail version

OK, this is where things get slightly more complicated. The standard Gmail view itself comes in two versions – newer and older. Hardly worth mentioning, but the older version is devoid of many features like chat, themes, offline view etc.

Gmail lets you shift back and forth across standard and basic HTML views by clicking the link of the other version. This link is typically present at the bottom of the page (in the footer). For example, I use the standard Gmail view (newer version) and have links to the older standard as well as the basic HTML versions at the bottom.

Conclusion: use the basic HTML version on slow internet connections or when you have a big file download in progress and shift to the fancier version for added functionality when connected through broadband.

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