Subscribed, but not getting messages in Gmail

Gmail categorizes your incoming messages in an attempt to help you organize your inbox. For many people this is a useful tool, once they learn how to manage the categories. When Gmail began this system, many in our community stopped seeing regular emails, such as the weekly issues of This Week at EUUC. Naturally, those people thought that something was wrong with their subscriptions, and much time has been spent in looking for subscription problems.

Gmail side menu
Gmail side menu

If you use Gmail to read your messages and if you have noticed that you are missing subscription messages, such as This Week at EUUC, look in the side menu for Categories.

The Forums category is where Gmail typically puts messages from subscription lists.

Understanding how Gmail sorts your mail

Gmail automatically assigns categories and labels to incoming messages. You can manage the categories by telling Gmail which categories and labels to display. Hidden categories and labels can be seen by clicking More at the bottom of Gmail’s side menu.

By creating filters, you instruct Gmail to categorize and label messages according to your needs.

System labels

At the right is a sample of the Gmail side menu showing some of the Categories and Labels that Gmail uses to sort messages. The items from Inbox to Trash are System Labels which Gmail uses. You can have them appear here at the top of your side menu, or you can hide them in the System Labels.


In your Gmail inbox check the left navigation bar for Gmail’s four categories: Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. The image shows the Categories menu for a Gmail account. You might not see all of these categories, and in fact, you might not see any. This is because Gmail lets you configure your email box to show or hide specific categories.


In the example, you see EUUC and friends and family below the four categories. These are custom labels that this Gmail user has set up. In the side menu Categories have a heading telling you that those items are categories. The labels do not have a heading.


Scroll to the bottom of the side menu and click More to see System Labels, Categories, and Custom Labels that are hidden from the lists above. Clicking More also reveals a link to Manage Labels.

Create tabs for your inbox

Gmail lets you create tabs at the top of your inbox for viewing messages in the four categories. To create tabs, scroll to the bottom of the side menu, and click More and then click Manage Labels. At the top of the page, click the Inbox tab. On the Inbox menu you can select the categories you want to access with individual tabs. Here is an example of an inbox using tabs.

Gmail inbox tabs

Manage Labels and create filters

At the bottom of the side menu click Manage Labels to configure how items are listed in the side menu.

To have Gmail label or categorize incoming messages automatically, click on the Filters tab near the top of the page. The Filters tab is highlighted below.

Gmail Settings tabs


Contact: the Administrator