Customize your Shortwave

Your inbox is critical for getting important work done, but it's hard to separate the signal from the noise when you’re bombarded by project updates, client inquiries, and promotional emails all in the same place. Important messages from high-priority contacts can get buried under a mountain of less critical emails, causing delays and missed opportunities.

Shortwave's powerful customization features are here to rescue you from this chaos. In this guide, we'll dive into how you can tailor Shortwave to your specific workflow, whether it's creating dedicated Inbox Splits for high-priority clients, bundling for easy bulk actions, or setting delivery schedules to control when emails hit your inbox. With real-world examples and step-by-step instructions, you'll learn how to transform your email management, ensuring that you never miss an important message again.

Focus and prioritize your inbox with Splits

Critical emails from customers, investors, and press can get buried under SaaS updates, newsletters, promotions, and spam. Inbox Splits combat this problem by letting you divide your inbox into focused tabs. They allow you to handle different types of emails at different times, keeping important Splits at inbox zero while skimming less critical ones periodically.

Configure Inbox Splits

Splits are customizable via Settings > Splits & Bundles and can be defined by importance, labels, senders, and additional complex search queries. Splits are backed by Shortwave’s best-in-class search infrastructure, allowing you to create all sorts of specific Splits based on a wide range of criteria. Label-powered splits are particularly powerful since you can use Gmail filters or Shortwave’s auto-apply rules to label emails automatically. Additionally, you can manually move emails between Splits via drag-and-drop, making it easy to manage your inbox.

Some of the most popular Inbox Splits include:

  • Important & Other – for separating the signal from the noise
  • SaaS notifications – to keep Asana, Github, Notion, etc., from cluttering up your inbox
  • Per-customer – for consultants who want to focus on one customer at a time
  • Newsletters & Promotions – so you can read them on your own time
  • Workflow-specific – using custom queries to streamline specific business processes

To reduce visual distractions, there are also per-split settings to hide empty Splits and automatically bundle emails in a split by sender, or disable bundling if preferred. This allows you to create many Splits for specific types of emails without overwhelming yourself with a ton of empty tabs and long lists of email threads.

Splits work to enhance Shortwave’s other key time-saving features, like stars, todos, bundles, and even our AI Assistant. Each split has its own Starred section for tracking high-priority emails. Todos let you group emails from different Splits, add notes, and prioritize tasks.

Shortwave’s AI Assistant can also help you get high-level summaries of entire Splits by shift-clicking to select all threads in a split and asking the Assistant to summarize the email threads.

Streamline triage with bundles & delivery schedules

Bundles are Shortwave’s not-so-secret weapon for conquering email overload. Bundles make it easy to take bulk actions by grouping related email threads together as a single item in your inbox. You can snooze, delete, or mark an entire bundle done. This way you can quickly dismiss several emails with a single click or keystroke.

To streamline things further, you can also set delivery schedules for bundles. Delivery schedules allow you to control when a bundle of emails enters your inbox, so you're actually ready to handle them when they arrive. Now, instead of being constantly interrupted during the day by non-urgent emails, you can have them arrive all at once at times you choose throughout the day or week.

Enable bundling

Bundles are the best way to streamline your inbox and make email management a breeze in Shortwave. There are several types of bundles you can create in Shortwave via Settings > Splits & Bundles.

  • Built-in label bundles: There are labels defined by Shortwave that you can enable bundling for, like Newsletters, Promotions, and Travel
  • Custom label bundles: Bundle together threads with custom labels you created
  • Contact bundles: Bundle together all messages from specific senders, mailing lists, and channels

Set delivery schedules

Shortwave lets you set delivery schedules so you can defer when different types of emails arrive in your inbox. Delivery schedules are great for time-boxing triage and batching your email workflow. You can configure any bundle to have a delivery schedule in just a couple of clicks from Settings > Splits & Bundles. Simply click on “Immediately” under the Deliver to inbox column and then choose your preferred schedule from the drop-down.

And for those emails that you never want to see? Set the delivery schedule to “Never” to automatically mark these emails as done so they skip your inbox. You can always reference these threads again via search.

💡 A settings configuration example

Shortwave's bundles, delivery schedules, and todos all work together to help you cut your inbox down to size. Here's an example of how you might use them in practice. Imagine you have five emails from customers labeled “Clients” you’re waiting on responses for, three emails about your upcoming feature launch, and six newsletters from throughout the week that you’ve been meaning to read (but haven’t gotten to yet). Instead of leaving those 14 emails around taking up precious space and mental capacity, here’s how you can streamline your Shortwave setup:

  • Enable bundling for your "Clients" label to group them all together, then snooze the entire bundle while you’re waiting for replies to keep your inbox focused
  • Set a delivery schedule for the built-in “Newsletters” label to have them arrive on Saturdays at 8am. This will minimize mid-week distractions and allow the newsletters to enter your inbox when you’re actually ready to read them.
  • Multi-select the email threads related to the launch and create a todo to group them together for better organization and context to handle next steps

Auto-apply labels in one click

Labels are a familiar tool for organizing information in many email clients and SaaS tools. In Shortwave, labels are not just for identification and storage—they're a powerful feature that can be automatically applied based on senders and fine-tuned with Gmail filters. This unlocks a suite of customization options, including delivery schedules, bundling, push notifications, and more.

You can set labels to be automatically applied or removed on a per-sender basis. Configure them once via Settings > Labels & Filters or the label picker, and let Shortwave handle the rest.

💡 An auto-apply label example

If you get an email from, you might want this to always get labeled as Travel. Go to the label picker, ensure the auto-apply checkbox is enabled, and click Apply. Now, every time you get an email from it will automatically be labeled as Travel.

You can view and manage the list of auto-applied senders for a label by navigating to Settings > Labels & Filters and clicking “# senders” listed under the Auto-apply rules column.

Optimize your app layout

You can customize your Shortwave experience with three inbox layout options via Settings > Inbox > Layout:

  • Default: A responsive layout that is optimized for any screen size
  • Side panel: See your email list and the selected email side-by-side
  • Fullscreen: Focus on one email at a time with a distraction-free view

Enable notifications for important emails

Shortwave comes with a highly configurable set of push notification controls that you can customize by label or sender. You can opt to turn push notifications on for only those particularly high-priority projects or individuals. Turning off unnecessary notifications helps reduce distractions and gives you more uninterrupted focus time to get deep work done.

Personalize further in Settings

Ready to transform your inbox into a space that truly reflects you? Dive into your Shortwave settings to explore all of the personalization tools available to fine-tune your inbox. Experiment with new accent colors, customize your swipe actions, and configure bundling to create the perfect setup that makes you feel like you’re ready to get stuff done.

While you’re there, don't forget to check out your AI Assistant personalization settings and see our guide on how to get the most out of the world’s smartest AI Assistant.