How-To Make Gmail Display Only Unread Email


If you receive dozens of emails every day you might not have time to skim through every single one.  Likely you’ll sort out the most important ones and read them first, especially now that Google has the new Priority Inbox feature.  Before you know it the weekend comes along and you have an inbox stacked full of unread email, but you don’t feel like going through the trouble of tracking down all of them.  With this groovy trick, you won’t have to!

With 280+ unread email messages and that are scattered and mixed in with those that you have already read, it can save a lot of time auto-sorting them.  Not to mention that some of the unread email messages are archived by filters while others are stuffed away under their own label.  Lucky for us, Gmail has a secret label that will bring all of these to one box.

lots of unread email in gmail

Step 1 – The Secret “Unread” Label

In the search box Type:

label: unread

Then Click Search Mail.

All of your unread email items should now be displayed below, even the ones that are not in your inbox.  For example, I filter my Twitter messages to go directly to archive, but since they are unread they have pulled up anyway with the search.

gmail unread email label

Step 2 – Get Specific

You can add an extra label to your search and narrow things down to just your inbox, or any other additional label that exists in your Gmail.  To do this just add another label: labelname after your initial label: unread.  Gmail will now display just the unread emails from the chosen label.

show unread email from a label in gmail

Step 3 – Optional: Add A Quick Link

Quick-links are like mini-bookmarks inside of Gmail that you can use to quickly repeat actions or find your favorite emails.

First, Visit Gmail Labs and Enable Quick Links.

gmail quick links

Now repeat the first two steps so your mailbox displays only Unread mail.  Now on the left-pane below chat, you’ll see Quick LinksClick Add Quick Link and name it Unread Mail, or something appropriate along those lines.

create a gmail quick link


Now all unread email messages can be easily sorted and marked as read, deleted, or archived as you deem necessary.  I hope you enjoyed this groovy quick-tip.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mike

    I am late to the party of finding this post but big thanks for it. This was exactly what i was looking for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To Top