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How to Find All Unread Messages in Gmail

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An Inbox, a huge Archive, starred mail, chats, Spam and all kinds of labels: ways to view mail abound in Gmail.

Where, though, is the unread mail—all the unread mail, be it in the archive or the Inbox or anywhere else, and only the unread mail? Fortunately, "unread" is an attribute that messages in Gmail carry like a label. This means you can search—and find—these unread emails easily.

Find All Unread Messages in Gmail

To view all (and only) unread messages in your Gmail account:

  • Type "is:unread" (not including the quotation marks) in the Gmail search field.
  • Click Search Mail.

If you do this search repeatedly or generally appreciate brevity, you can use "l:unread" or even "l:^u" instead of "is:unread" (or "label:unread").

Of course, you can combine the quest for unread messages with others:

  • "l:^u from:tim" finds all unread messages from "tim",
  • "l:^u l:^t" finds all unread starred mail, and
  • "l:^u l:^k subject:hi" finds all unread messages with "hi" in the subject that are in the Trash.
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