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I'd like to try out Inbox, but I don't see how I can go back to Gmail if I do without a lot of manual pain. There doesn't seem to be a way to get back from pins to stars. Is there?

I know I can find starred items in Inbox, but can I star items in Inbox? Or is there a way to find pinned items while in Gmail?

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    I would recommend using Snooze instead of starring items in Inbox. This helps clear your inbox and brings the item back at the time you choose. I was a heavy user of stars in Gmail and really can't imagine going back to Gmail. – Folk Jun 28 '16 at 20:18
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You cannot star items from Inbox, and you cannot pin items from Gmail. But you can find one from the other. After you find a list of them, it's easy to star all of the pinned messages or pin all of the starred messages (select all, do action).

You just need to search using "label:pinned" or "in:starred". Here are some examples of my searches.

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Note: While you can label conversations in Inbox by clicking on the 3 vertical dots to the right of a conversation and using the "Move to" feature, "Starred" is not among the options for labels.

As for the other direction, I tried adding the "pinned" label to a message in normal Gmail but it looks like you have to create a new label that is in no way tied to the pinned status employed by Inbox.

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I don't think you can star items in Inbox, but you can find pinned items in Gmail with the search operator "label:pinned"

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