Gmail Tip: How To Browse Only the Unread Messages

By Daniel Scocco

If you are anything like me, you probably have dozens of unread messages sitting on your Gmail account. I try to keep my inbox zeroed through out the week, but sometimes you just can’t handle the amount of incoming messages.

Other times you leave some messages unread on purpose, because you know that you are only going to need them in the future (that happens when you run a contest or a competition, for example).

Now when I first started using Gmail, I would run through all the previous pages in order to find those unread messages. Needless to say it was a boring and time consuming task. Then one day I thought: “hmm, there must be a better way to do this.”

There was, and it was pretty simple. All you need to do it is to search for “label:unread” on the Gmail search box. This will filter only the unread messages.

What other Gmail tricks do you use frequently?


38 Responses to “Gmail Tip: How To Browse Only the Unread Messages”


    Excellent find Daniel…I was badly in need of this trick.

  • Ben

    Great tip !!! Just tried it out and it does make life a lot easier email-wise.

  • Muhammad Siyab

    I use a filter automatically mark mail such as blog backups and such read and sent to the trash. And my inbox stays neat and clean πŸ™‚

  • Abhijeet from Jeet Blog

    label:unread would display all the unread messages in your mail. However if you are a heavy user of Gmail filters and labels then you can search unread messages in a specific label by typing this – “label:label name label:unread”

    For example you just want to see the unread messages in Inbox then you can type – label:inbox label:unread . Similarly for all other labels.

  • Ramiro

    Very good tip. I did not konw It is so easy. Thank you for this short post.

  • Eli

    Dozens? I have 690 unread at the moment and that’s after I removed about 600 topic reply notification emails the other day. I’m trying to get it back under control though πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the tip, I needed this one.

  • Writer Dad

    I did not know that. Thank you.

  • Michael Sync

    Nice Tip! Thanks..

  • Kevin

    You can also do “is: unread”.

  • raitocorleone

    I’m sorry but i want to say what you post is an unnecessary move.

    You can input “read” only.

    and here is a lot of other word:

    From,to,In:trash,Has:attachment ,Subject,Filename

  • keith w.

    thanks, was just racking my brain the other day trying to figure out a way to do this!

  • aaron

    Being able to select all unread messages is a major reason behind me moving all of my accounts to GMail. I have no idea why all online email providers don’t do this.

  • Mohd Hafifi

    thank you so much..

  • sailor

    Neat trick. One that is worth remembering. Thanks.

  • Need_knowledge

    Hey good tip man, i’m using gmail this is good tips. Keep on going for good tips.
    Happy blogging

  • Ulla Hennig

    Nice tip – I didn’t know it up to now.

  • Arjen

    Good tip! Gmail seems to be full of ‘hidden’ useful features πŸ˜‰

  • Jef

    I wonder how many other tips and tricks about gmail that I don’t know yet? Thanks!

  • stetoscope

    That’s what I call a tip !

  • SomeAudioGuy

    This is PERFECT!
    I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this since I signed up for Google.
    Why it’s not a button already is beyond me…

  • Nick Stamoulis

    Great tip although our Gmail has been down for over an hour now so these tips would be great if we could access our email! LOL

  • SBA

    I use the “starred” flag, but then I don’t have hundreds to come back to! Also create a label for storing certain emails under , e.g. “DailyBT” or “Post Reference”.. etc. Then search for that label name later.

  • Tomer

    I was using is:unread for the same thing.

  • Cory

    I love gmail, it is by far the best email provider that is out there, than again maybe its because its by google, the best company out there.


  • Geek Samrat

    Hey thank you very much for the tip. Accidentally I came across your site. Actually I was searching for this tip some time back. Good explanation. Thank you. please do write some simple tips like this….

  • Paula

    Excellent..I needed that tip. I missed a really important message last week because it was ‘hidden’ amongst all of my messages. I have a very bad habit of not clearing out my Gmail mail. I am getting better though.

  • Stefan Wurz

    Very good tip! Thank you for this short post.

  • rangan

    The technique can be better implemented as follows:

    label:label name is:unread

  • Gustavo

    This is just what I’ve been wondering since a while but never googled it.

    Add to this tip: If you want to search unread messages in a particular label just add that query.

    ie. if you put “label:unread” it gives you all of your unread messages. but if you want only your inbox messages type “label:unread label:inbox”


  • gux

    Nice one! I was looking exactly how to do this.

    Do you mind if I translate it to Spanish in my blog? (of course, referencing the source)


  • medyum

    I did not know that. Thank you.

  • ssk sorgulama

    Being able to select all unread messages is a major reason behind me moving all of my accounts to GMail. I have no idea why all online email providers donÒ€ℒt do this.

  • The Taz

    Here is an approach that saves some time:1) Go to Settings, Labs, and enable “Quick Links” which is near the top.2) Follow the steps in the eHow article above, then select “Add a Quick Link” in the new box that has appeared on your left panel. 3) Save the Quick Link as “Unread” and you will have one click access to all unread mail.4) Repeat the process for “Label:Read” and you will have one click access to all read mail.

  • Rowan Pettett

    This is a great tool, but there’s one frustration issue – the returned search results ignore my “Show 50 conversations per page” setting and display only 20 per page. What’s with that?

  • Dee

    Wow, this is great! I’m terrible at responding to emails where I want to spend some effort doing so, so I always RE-mark them as unread. This is so useful for me to be able to do this without clicking Next Page over and over and over again. Thanks again!

Comments are closed.