In the last update, I made what I thought was a really tiny change, but it actually worried a lot of people. So now I’m here to explain it and get your feedback πŸ™‚

What are the Move Nexters?

They look like this:

They’re the buttons that Archive/Spam/Delete/Finish, and can be made to automatically move to an older email when you do so, to make it easier to glide through your emails.

What’s the logic for when they appear?

* Archive will be visible if the email is in the inbox
* Spam/Delete will be visible if the email doesn’t have a status or a deadline
* Finish (the green tick, which removes all statuses and deadlines), will be visible only if the email has a status or a deadline.

It used to be the case that we only greyed the buttons out (disabled them), but in the desire to de-clutter the interface, I made them invisible when not needed. Is there a situation where this is a problem for you?

There might be a bug with Finish not appearing

Some people are reporting that Finish (the green tick) NEVER appears, not even if you have a status or a deadline.

This is definitely a bug! Please let me know in the comments if it affects you, as I need to talk to you to try to solve it.

Where is ‘Do Nothing’?

This was an early Move Nexter, that simply moved you to an older email.

I removed it, because it was a duplication of Gmail’s own move newer/older buttons, and thus used up unnecessary space. I realise this has upset some people.

The intent is that if you hide Gmail’s Action Bar (by clicking the button with 4 diagonal arrows), then all the Move Nexters, and Move buttons, are next to each other, making it very easy to glide, like this:

I strongly recommend hiding Gmail’s Action Bar (if you use Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts, ‘l’ will still work to add/remove labels).
If you cannot do this, or simply don’t want to, please explain why in the comments so I can understand!


I’ve fixed the bug that was keeping the green tick hidden… if you upgrade to, it should all be ok.


This was written by Andy Mitchell



  • Thorrrr says:

    Hi Andy
    The main issue is previously you could deal with most of your email within a small area. The two buttons removed have created more issues than they have solved. Your asking us to hide Gmail bar AND remove functionality from your own bar!!!!

    It may seem nothing on a laptop but most users have 24 or 27″ screens. You now have to move right left right and extra shortcuts keys. Why add more user distraction and effort just to de-clutter it makes no sense


    • Hi Dale,

      Thanks for telling me how it is πŸ™‚

      Do you want to send a screenshot of how it looks on your luxurious screen?

      As you’ll see in my screenshot above, there’s very little travel distance – the buttons to move newer, move older, archive, spam, delete, finish, action, and deadline are all about as close as it’s possible to be…

      • Matt says:

        Unless I’m mistaken the [] buttons are only close together and among the AIB buttons if GMail buttons are hidden. If not then the GMail [] buttons are to the far right of the screen. This, I think, is at the root of the cross-wires re screen layout.

        Also… hiding GMail’s buttons also hides Boomerang (extension).

        Finally… I’ve not quite assembled my thoughts about “why” but I do find I’m having to think for (slightly) longer when it comes to selecting correct button when processing through a number of emails.

        Psychologically it feels as though the order of buttons should be
        Or, if reinstating a full compliment of buttons
        < >

        (darn – can’t get the above to display properly when I post – keeping getting quotes in the line.

        Do nothing / move older.
        Complete / move older
        Complete / move newer
        Do nothing / move newer

      • Hi Matt,

        I suspect you’ve called the source of the cross wires correctly πŸ™‚

        Ok, so things like Boomerang make it trickier to hide the Gmail action bar. What does Boomerang give you that ActiveInbox isn’t?

        It’s an interesting topic about the order of the buttons…

        My own gut says that it doesn’t quite fit to do [], just because Archive/Spam can be multi directional (older or newer), so it’s harder to work out. Indeed, by default now, Archive moves older, so [] [Archive] does have a certain logic (the first one moves newer, all the rest move older.

        The problem deepens if you consider different desires for each email:

        * If you just want to discard the email, you want the discard buttons (Archive/Spam/Delete) to be first. (These cannot be on the right, because then they’d move as you added Project labels, etc. which change the length of the dropdowns, pushing the right-hand buttons around – so you can never confidently click the same location).
        * But if you want to action/deadline it, it makes more sense to read left/right, and “add status, add deadline, then archive” (so archive/etc. would be on right).

        Of course, part of me thinks we might just need buttons for new users, and as we develop Keyboard Shortcuts, they become the fast option for power users…

      • BradCouper says:

        I’ve stopped using boomerang now that AIB has the emails return to the inbox.

      • Thorrrr says:

        Hi Andy
        I can send you a screen shot if you want! But I did send you a full screencast ( as requested by you) showing you the issues so not sure why screen shot will be better than a video!

      • thorrrr says:

        The distance on my screen is 205″ which i think is a long way. Before it was like 5mm so i think i make my point. Also thinking about it your new vision is punishing people who do not have statuses applied.
        Can i explain many of us have email on forums and with companies. You send of an email you want a reply on so tag it with waiting on and a date.
        But 95% of these companies don’t respond to your email directly. You get a received no reply email and a ticket number. You then get several days later another email with you result you need.
        So the only status i apply when flying through my emails was the Shift Finish (Green Tick) move to next and this happens a lot.

        Now i have to move 205mm to the left now click ctrl shift Finish and move 205mm back (so not efficient just because you want to remove two buttons). You have the same issue with your move to next arrows which are even further.

        I am sorry if i am missing the point i really am but your update has added a full mouse keyboard workout and given me mind clutter πŸ™‚

      • Hi Dale,

        I went back to your screencast, and I see the issue –

        I’m talking about having the Gmail action bar hidden (by clicking the 4-diagonal-arrow button on the right of our HAB). When you do this, the [] buttons appear in much closer proximity.

        And, if you put the Move Nexters on the left (which I strongly recommend – disable the preference ‘Put Move-Nexters (e.g. Archive & Move Next) To The Right of the Horizontal Action Bar’); then the buttons are all next to each other, as in my screenshot above.

        Edit: Of course, I welcome you telling me why either hiding, or moving, the buttons doesn’t work for you πŸ™‚

      • thorrrr says:

        Hi Andy
        What i would like to know from you & your team your thoughts for what you have done ,because i just do not get it.
        I must be missing something because you went from a really nice compact efficient set of buttons to what can only be described as utter confusion and extra work (hence the feedback)
        If it was pure cosmetic then sorry you shot yourself in the foot.
        What i am struggling with now, your hiding Gmail bar now your talking about hiding your own !!!!!

        You had it fine if you were going to change anything . I would put the Move Nexters far left and get shut of those arrows. Or have a set of options to see what users want on and off.
        But you seem to have strayed from your strong stance for many years to avoid all these preferences for users, but lately this seem to have been relaxed and now its going in the other direction πŸ™‚

      • My thoughts are above, Dale.

        I’m still largely against Preferences (or rather, I just think most people don’t touch them – so you still have to pick very sensible defaults). I just let these exist because there’s always always a backlash when you introduce a change, and I wanted people to have time to get used to – and approve – the new way. FYI, all new users are given the setup I’ve shown above.

        (The thing about backlashes is… people often change their mind after a while. When we introduced the new left-hand sidebar, existing users instantly wanted to disable it, and a week later, they couldn’t live without it).

        And while I didn’t mean to poke the nest with this update (I really did believe it was minor, and it would have been much more so without the bug), it really has been interesting. Knowing how Ste, Jochen, Ian and others think is really insightful – and that discussion wouldn’t have come up without the changes being made. And as a consequence, I’m now more certain about decisions like disappearing-buttons vs. greyed-out-buttons.

        Re: your “utter confusion”. I put it to you that you’d diligently learnt and got used to the old way, even though it was sub optimal (which was my fault). We actually test a lot of the new stuff we put out on first-time users, to see how quickly people adopt a feature. The old style dropdown Move-Nexters weren’t like any normal buttons anyone has ever seen, and so were relatively hard to learn, with the added problem that they were also quite annoying as they flew out whenever you moved the mouse over.

      • thorrrr says:

        To be honest mine is not a backlash, i will get used to whatever you put in. I have to admit i like shortcuts keys when they work properly. I never really used them in Gmail before your last release you had us testing.
        As for Evernote and Photoshop i never hardly touch the mouse.
        But i think your right i did enjoy your introduction of your Nexters and how you showed the the use of shortcuts.
        I use them all the time so was a little bewildered why you removed 2 buttons under your declutter pitch but add 3 arrows !!! (or were they always there lol:)

        I will get used to what you do but i hope my screencast shows sometimes you should think about users who don’t live on laptops :0

      • thorrrr says:

        I am not sure if i am doing something wrong. But if i select the Finished button it applies it then shows the Green Arrow. I then have to hit the green arrow to get rid of it!!!
        I know about using shortcut keys but didn’t it just remove it before when you hit Finished?

    • Jason E says:

      I agree w/Thor; I miss the ‘do nothing’ nexter, as well as the delete nexter. As it stands now, one needs to travel from side to side on the screen to move to the next email. When deleting using the native gmail delete, instead of progressing to the next email to deal with…one ends up back in the larger query…then having to click on an email to start the process over again.

  • defaude says:

    Hi Andy,

    I am in fact dearly missing the FINISH button… I usually throw “Action” or “Waiting on” or other statuses on messages and hit the “e” key to move them out of my normal Inbox for now. Whenever I feel like it, I go to the “All To Do’s” section and walk through the accumulated garbage there πŸ˜‰ However, when I open mails there, no FINISH (or any other move nexter) shows up… πŸ™

    Keep up the great work tho’! πŸ™‚

  • Stelvio Gori says:

    personally I’d like to see the buttons greyed out instead of having them disappear depending on the situation, because of my very mechanical way of moving through the email.
    About hiding the Gmail Action Bar, I prefer to keep it because I use this more than the “Project” menu on AIB (very personal opinion),

    • Hi Ste,

      Do you know why you prefer Gmail’s Labels dropdown to the Projects dropdown? I’d love to understand your thinking (even if it’s critical!)…

      And, how does greying buttons out help your mechanical way of working? What is your mechanical way of working?

      • Stelvio Gori says:

        Hi Andy,
        not easy to explain a habit; I guess I normally go straight to the Gmail label menu instead of AIB menu because I can recognize the icon immediately instead of having to “decode” a word (Project).
        I’m also noticing that AIB icons are a little small, horizontally, to me, so I always finish to get the Archive Gmail icon instead of AIB one.

        Being visual, I also guess, means that I use the AIB buttons on top left by their absolute and relative position on the screen, so having them appear/disappear depending on the situation could be, for a fraction, disrupting.
        Anyway, just personal thoughts with no critical intent, I guess I’ll use AIB in the future also in case you make that changes πŸ™‚

      • BradCouper says:

        I use the Gmail labels instead of projects a lot of time because I have a broad horizen of work. Projects are what is important at the moment but I’ll still receive emails relating to projects that are long gone from my projects list.

  • Jason Webb says:


    Not sure of the reasoning that the delete is not visible when email has a status or deadline. In many cases, when action is completed, I just delete the email. Now I have unhide Gmail action bar or learn the Gmail shortcut key. Finish button is great for email threads that I want to keep archived. However, many tasks I created with Compose Self and don’t need to Archive when completed.

  • Troy Lakey says:

    I like it, now that I understand it! Great thinking.

    Though I am feeling stupid, because I’m not seeing any way to hide Gmail’s Action Bar? I don’t have the “full screen”-looking button you show and describe. Not finding it in any setting or lab I have in place either….

    Using AI Plus, Gmail’s default theme + touch-enabled view (have tried all 3 other views as well, to bring this option up, didn’t work), Chrome v30+ (most current), Windows 8.

    Screenshot below, hope it shows up here large enough to be visible. Thanks for the constant great work, and for any help!

    • Hi Troy, it’s possible you’re not on V5 yet… but I’d love to upgrade you! Why not drop an email to support and Lisa or I will flick the switch?

      • Troy Lakey says:

        Yep, completely neglected to specify AI version, didn’t I? Will do – thanks! Can’t wait see the new version

  • Chris says:

    Thanks, it’s fixed for me now.

  • JochenSchuetze says:

    Hello Andy,

    I strongly agree with Stelvio Gori: Every button should always be on the same place, and only be greyed out if it’s not meant to be used in the current situation. (I’m thinking of the “move nexters”.) The reason is that I usually remember very easily where the button uses to be that I intend to click, so I just move my mouse cursor to that place and click.

    If I cannot rely on that button always to be at the same place, I first need to look at the buttons, think about the icons on them and their meanings, and finally pick the right button. That’s way too much effort for a highly repetitive task like deleting E-mail.

    In summary:

    Most efficient is a hotkey / shortcut: My fingers find it blindly, as easily as they find one another.
    Second comes a screen button at a fixed position. That’s almost like picking up your desk phone: It’s always at the same place, you know where it is and hardly need to look. (Moving the mouse pointer requires more visual feed-back than picking up the phone, but at least the target location is clear.)
    However, if the phone (button) keeps wandering around my desk (the HAB), picking it up (clicking it) always requires much more eyesight and brain effort in order to make sure I don’t hold my coffee cup to the ear (click the wrong button).

    What do you think?

    • There is definitely merit in fixed positions – it’s the original reason we relocated the Move Nexters from the right to the left.

      But there’s also something to be said for having less visual stimulus – i.e. fewer buttons. I wonder if one possible trade off is have them more greyed out (more transparent) than they used to be?

      • JochenSchuetze says:

        Hi Andy,
        more transparent would be fine with me, and I agree that it’s the best compromise I can think of.

        How about 80% or 90% transparency, reducing to, say, 50% or 60% when I hover the mouse over the button?

      • Ian Gadd says:

        I agree with Jochen (as usual). While the removing of unnecessary buttons is elegant it does run counter to one’s own haptic memory of where certain buttons should be.

        An example. I click ‘Action’ on an email and immediately click on the Calendar. The calendar drops down as ‘Action’ continues to process. Then, just as I’m about to click on ‘Tomorrow’, AIB catches up with itself and the whole bar shifts left and…I click ‘Start of Next Week’ instead.

      • Thanks Ian, the introduction of haptic memory is building this into a comprehensive argument for its return πŸ™‚

        Just a note on ‘AIB catching up with itself”… Tom is working on a major new architecture, which will be a few more weeks in the making, to essentially replace our underlying ‘manage Gmail engine’ from that of a VW camper van to a Porsche. And part of that will be near-instant responsiveness.

  • Michelle Pennock says:

    Just throwing in my .02. The new configuration does inhibit my workflow. I’m not a power user of the GTD thing, but my work flow goes like this… Open my inbox and start going through what’s new… delete-next on mail that doesn’t matter (often solicitations), do-nothing-next on items that will take 2 minutes or less, label-action-archive-next what needs done, or re-archive-next anything that is a response but not yet ready to be complete and next. Also, there’s send to calendar-label-archive-next. Then I will go back and do the 2-minute items and probably just delete them when done. I’m an admin, so I have a “reminders” calendar for tasks that have to be done regularly. I get the email in my inbox, action it or do it.

    Then I take a run through action and waiting on to see if I need to change their status or if they’ve been done, etc.

    I agree with the mention of having a habit of where things are on the screen, it’s muscle memory. And hiding the gmail bar takes away my labels. I use the gmail label feature because I get the dropdown and type a couple of letters to get may label. Sometimes I even use that to assign action, waiting on or follow up if I’m already in the label dropdown. I label & use the do-nothing-next or delete-next a lot.

    • JochenSchuetze says:

      About Michelle’s last paragraph:
      I feel the same — I use the GMail label dropdown all the time, and love typing a few letters to pick the label. But doesn’t AIB’s labelling feature support this now, too? Maybe not sufficiently similar to GMail’s feature…?
      Michelle — for hiding the GMail bar: GMail shortcuts ‘l’ (“ell”), ‘v’ and ‘.’ give you everything you may miss..!

      • BradCouper says:

        +1 on needing the labels as mentioned before.

        Also, please do bring back the do nothing button.

        I know you are trying to minimise the clutter, so i followed the suggest and minimised the Gmail bar – but then lose that functionality of the Gmail labels and do nothing.

      • Jochen & Brad –

        If you use Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts, then even with the Gmail Action Bar hidden/collapsed, you can still click ‘l’ and type in a label as before!

        Also, we’re working on our own Keyboard Director, currently an experimental feature, to provide a cohesive way to control AIB with the keyboard.

      • JochenSchuetze says:

        …which is just wonderful! πŸ˜‰

    • b00ky says:

      I am a little late to reply on this, but I want to put in my vote for something like what used to be the do-nexters. After reading Michelle’s post, I realized I will definitely miss going through my various emails by status and updating them using those do-nexter buttons.

      I will usually go to !Waiting On and click on the first email and choose either Completed-Next, DoNothing-Next, or I may manually change the status label and choose DoNothing-Next. I typically do this for each status to clean things up from time to time.

      I am sure my workflow could be improved that might make those buttons less relevant to me, but I think we can all agree that things don’t always go as planned and I know things don’t always happen in perfect order. For that reason, I do find myself update statuses retroactively from time to time in bulk. It also feels great to mark things as complete or just see progress in my Statuses.

      Otherwise I think the new AIB interface is great and in general a very helpful tool. I am looking forward to the new engine in the next few weeks!

      • That makes sense to me… I hoping the new update works for you to, as detailed in

        Finish is on the left hand side now, so if you’re in the ‘Waiting On’ view you can click through easily. ‘Delete’ is optional (if you don’t delete things, I suggest you disable it to reduce button count). And ‘Do Nothing’ is closer to the status buttons, so if you change something’s status it’s shorter mouse-travel to get to the ‘Do Nothing’.

      • b00ky says:

        Things are working very well for me and I am really liking the version 5 preview. I am interested to see how the new engine build will improve performance. Things move pretty well, but we are all about efficiency and productivity!

    • Thanks Michelle – I really appreciate you taking the time to detail how you work. I kept my ears open on this, and in the latest things are back. I also (slightly controversially, but I thought it out as well as possible given the trade offs), the Move Nexter buttons are rearranged in a way I hope will support your workflow (the Archive button is closer to the status buttons).

      How are you adding things to the calendar? Using our export, or another way?

      And, how do you handle the regular reminders you have set up for recurring tasks? Is that with GCal, or in email?

  • Jay Melone says:

    I use tools other than ActiveInbox, and clicking the 4 diagonal arrows makes them disappear. I’d like the ability to continue using those tools along with AI, but as of now, I cannot move to newer/older emails b/c you’ve remove the Do Nothing move-nexter. Bring it back, please.

  • Sean Killeen says:

    Hi Andy,

    First of all, thanks for the update — I appreciate that you’re willing to explain things to users and that you actively ask for feedback. It’s a great quality.

    In general I dig what you’re trying to do, but I think it has a few drawbacks that have made my AIB experience less pleasant:

    * Muscle memory: I have long expected the do-nexters to be in the same place and they’ve become central to the routine of clearing my inbox. It was like one place for my workflow. While I understand that it may have seemed redundant, I appreciated that AIB recreated the experience in the context of where I was at that time — in “do-nexter mode”, as it were.

    * Requires additional GMail configuration: In order to replicate my workflow, I have to change the configuration of my basic GMail setup to hide the default toolbar. While I can appreciate that the extra GMail toolbar might be seen as clutter, it was always an important feature to me that AIB didn’t require me to change anything about my GMail set up to make it work. Requiring one to change gmail to get the full experience seems a little too tightly coupled to me.

    * Finding how to change the GMail configuration: Currently, I’m experiencing an issue where I’m having trouble finding the icon to remove the GMail top toolbar as recommended. I’m a tech guy, so maybe it’s just early in the morning, but it’s concerning to me that I’m missing how to find this button.

    * Does not play well with other GMail add-ons: If other GMail add-ons live in GMail’s toolbar, this would hide them as well. This one isn’t necessarily an issue for me but I think ActiveInbox having its own ecosystem is important in this regard, too.

    * “Easy” to change back/make optional: I say “easy” because I’m certain it’s more complex than an end user would normally venture, but it seems like a simple solution could be to make this an option. AIB is very customizable, and an option to add a “do nothing” do-nexter could make a nice option for those of us who make regular use of the feature. I understand the issue of “option creep” and having to support a bunch of features that a minority of users require, but this one is pretty central to my workflow and I’m thinking it would hopefully not be too difficult to support long-term.

    Again, thanks for being willing to take on our feedback.

    • Hi Sean,

      There’s a new update at, which resolves a few of your points. (The only thing that might make you intake breath sharply is that I rearranged the Move Nexter buttons… but I promise I thought it through as fully as possible before doing so!).

      The key thing in the update is that whether the Gmail action bar is hidden or not, you have option of seeing ‘Do Nothing’ and ‘Delete’.

      It’s a fair point about other Gmail addons… I’m not quite sure whether to go an extra step and also move those (I can pick and relocate specific buttons), or just leave it so people don’t need to hide the Gmail Action Bar.

  • Dan Sullivan says:

    Udpate?? Same issue but the hide gmail button is no longere there.