A reader is hoping there’s a way to access Yahoo’s Classic Mail:

“Hi Cyn. First, thank you very much for all the information you pass on to us. I have a problem with Yahoo mail. They appear hell-bent on stopping us using the Classic format. It was the original & simple to use & intuitive but now they have changed it. For a while, I could switch back to it but they have removed the button to access it. There have been many complaints from users but they don’t appear to be addressing them, Do you think there could be a way to access it? I am elderly & the latest format is not easy to use, the print for a start is small & there is no intuitive help when using the compose email.”

Yahoo has changed the name of what was formerly called Classic Mail to Basic Mail. Basic Mail doesn’t really look much different than it did eighteen months ago, though they have moved a few things around.  But let’s check out how to get to it and the differences between New and Basic.

Here’s a look at the “New” inbox which is the default.

yahoo-inbox-new.jpg

Here’s the “classic” view:

basic-yahoo.jpg

So what’s the difference between these two views? If you look at the top-right of the newer version you’ll see that there are icons at the top instead of text. The address book icon represents contacts. The little calendar icon opens your calendar. Next to that is Notepad.

new-yahoo-icons.jpg

Click the little square of squares for access to Messenger, News, and the Yahoo homepage.

new-yahoo-square-icon.jpg

To switch views, click the gear icon to the far right of the inbox and choose More settings.

yahoo-more-settings.jpg

Then choose Basic mail.

switch-to-basic-mail.jpg

When you switch to the basic inbox, you’ll see a tabbed layout across the top. While you still have Inbox, Contacts, Notepad, and Calendar, you don’t have tabs for messaging or news.

basic-mail-tabs.jpg

You’ll also notice drop-down menus for Actions and for sorting your messages.

basic-mail-sort.jpg

In the Basic mode, you can’t add photo slideshows, drag and drop attachments or personalize your themes. Switching back to the new look is as easy as clicking on Switch to the newest Yahoo Mail in the top right of your inbox.

switch-to-newest.jpg

As far as there being another version of the Basic inbox available that more closely matches what the Classic inbox looked like a few years ago, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. When a company changes something like the layout of their inbox, they don’t secretly keep another version running somewhere on their servers. For good or for bad, changes are made for a reason. Most likely to keep up with changes in security or technology or just in people’s habits. Some things, like that little square of squares in the new inbox, have become standard for menus across services like Gmail, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

If there’s anything specific you’re having trouble figuring out with this inbox, let me know. I may be able to walk you through it.