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How to Mark Email Read in Gmail

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Emails demand to be read. Not all emails' reading is rewarding, however.

If you have imported certain messages into Gmail, for instance, and seen them before, you'd want to take the unread alert off them. If you keep copies of messages to a mailing list whose past emails are not nearly as interesting as the present and future ones, you may want to mark the old ones read. If you have marked some emails unread inadvertently, you can make them appear read again decisively.

In any event, marking emails read in Gmail is easy — and versatile: you can mark select messages read, ranges of emails or entire labels (and search results).

Mark Email Read in Gmail

To mark an email or emails read in Gmail:

  • Make sure all the messages you want to mark read are checked in the message list.
    • You can check a message by clicking in its box or by pressing x when the blue focus indicator highlights it.
    • You can also check a range of messages quickly.
    • If you are looking for certain messages, try searching for the desired attributes and marking read within the search results instead.
    • While you can check all messages in the current label or search results for marking, see below for a possibly faster way to marking them all read.
  • Press Shift-I.
    • You can also:
      • Click the More button.
      • Select Mark as read from the menu that comes up.
    • Or, if you have Mark as Read Button enabled (see below):
      • Press the Mark as read button in the toolbar.

Mark All Mail Read in a Label or View in Gmail

To mark as read all messages in a Gmail label or view:

  • Make sure no messages are checked.
    • You can press *n ('star' followed by 'n') to deselect all mail.
  • Click More in the toolbar.
    • You can also press . (dot) to open the More menu.
  • Select Mark all as read from the menu.
    • Or, keeping with keyboard actions, press down followed by Enter.

Enable "Mark as Read Button" in Gmail

To add a Mark as read button to your Gmail toolbar:

  • Click the Settings gear in your Gmail toolbar.
  • Select Settings from the menu that comes up.
  • Open the Labs category.
  • Make sure Enable is selected for Mark as Read Button.
    • To find the lab experiment quickly, you can type "Mark as read" under Search for a lab:.
  • Click Save Changes.

(Updated June 2012)

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