Gmail Pro Tip: List all unread mail.

I don’t know about you, but I am terrible at organizing my email. I didn’t realize that “archiving” was something that somebody should do with email until I had thousands of unarchived emails and decided to come up with a different way of doing things. This is what I do:

I treat unread email as to do items. When I check my email I respond to the things I have time to respond to and the rest I mark as unread so that I can respond to them later. This is a very hassle free system. Except, there is one big problem. Gmail does not have a default “show all unread mail” button. This means that it is hard for me to compare my unread mail (to do items) and prioritize this means that some big tasks end up being buried under pages and pages of emails. Of course, with Gmail’s new addons this is very easy to do. Here is how:

  1. Go to “settings” then “labs” on the top right menu bar.
  2. Scroll down and enable the quick links addon.

    enable the add links in settings
    enable the add links in settings
  3. in the search box type in the following: in:inbox in:unread. Click search mail

    search box
    search box
  4. In the quick links box (middle left of your screen) click “add quick link”.

    add quick link
    add quick link

And there we have it, now your Gmail is set up to list all of your unread mail without the interference of stuff that you have already dealt with.

5 thoughts on “Gmail Pro Tip: List all unread mail.

  1. whoa! you have a blog! i saw your comment from months ago because most ppl just write on facebook. i must say your blog is much more cohesive and, in this particular case, helpful.

  2. Thank you SO much for posting this, it was the first link I clicked on when I searched for “gmail all unread mail” and your method solves the problem PERFECTLY. I pretty much treat unread mail the same as you, as a “to do” list, but I’m also really bad sometimes about taking a break and not checking some of my boxes for months. I had a box that had 26K+ unread mail in it, mostly from a 3-4 month period earlier this year that I took one of those breaks, and it’s been driving me nuts. I dealt with some of it, knowing who a lot of the repeat mailers were, and got it down to under 5000 but wanted it down to zero, and it’s always driven me nuts that Gmail didn’t have a “view all unread” or some such button. Your suggestion worked perfectly and I now have a clean mailbox that won’t drive me insane with the Unread numbers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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