Check tutorial of View Only Unread Messages in a Gmail Inbox with 2 Simple Tricks
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Gmail is an excellent email client, but one feature that has always felt missing was a simple sorting option to view only the unread email messages in an inbox. As it turns out, you can only show the unread messages with Gmail, you just need to use a simple search operator to reveal only unread messages, or use some other Inbox sorting method that shows unread emails first regardless of message age. Using both methods is very easy, so choose the method that best suits your situation.
This tutorial shows you two different approaches to easily view and see unread messages in Gmail.
How to Show only unread messages in Gmail inbox with search
This uses a search function in Gmail, making it temporary, and it doesn’t change the way the inbox functions or sorts messages outside of this task:
- Log into your Gmail.com as usual if you haven’t already
- Click in the Gmail search box at the top of the webmail screen, then type the following exactly:
- Press Return to sort the inbox by unread messages in the Gmail inbox
If you have multiple boxes and want to see unread messages in the inbox, this is a slight variation of the above trick this Gmail search operator would be:
label: inbox, label: unread
The Gmail inbox is sorted to display only messages that have not been read yet, this search operator is practically instantaneous no matter how big (or small) your unread email count is.
Yes, this quest tricks works on the web with any web browser, be it Gmail in Chrome, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer, FireFox, Opera or whatever besides the usual mobile Gmail apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.
You can also use the search parameter ‘label: unread’ if it is easier to remember or works better for your needs than ‘is: unread’
View unread emails only in the primary Gmail inbox
If you are using the standard Gmail inbox filtering and you only want to see the unread emails in the “Primary” Gmail inbox, you can do that with the following search operator:
in: category: primary is: unread
That only shows the unread emails for the “primary” inbox, instead of the entire inbox.
This is another major benefit of webmail as the task of sorting giant inboxes is handled by a remote server, it takes the load off the local machine from the disk and the CPU intensive activity of searching potentially hundreds of thousands of previous messages every 9000 + find unread emails in the inbox. This screenshot example might be a bit extreme, but even my personal email has over 200 unread messages at any one time.
To display the normal inbox with all read and unread messages together, remove the search operator from the search box and press Return again, or simply click the “Inbox” item in the menu on the left.
Despite it being so simple feature, it does not seem widely known. I’ve been using Gmail for many years and didn’t know about this trick, and it’s like only in a passing conversation with a friend that I learned about it.
How to Change Gmail inbox to show unread email first
Another option goes beyond sorting and searching the inbox and basically prioritizes your Gmail inbox by message type, in this case unread emails. When enabled, all unread messages will appear on top of the read messages, regardless of when either one was sent. For example, an unread message from two weeks ago appears above a read message from ten minutes ago. Enabling this is very simple:
- Go to Gmail settings (gear icon> Settings)
- Choose the ‘Inbox’ tab, pull down the ‘Inbox type’ menu and select ‘Unread first’
Unread messages are sorted immediately at the top of the inbox and the search operator is no longer needed unless you don’t want to see the read messages at all.
Any of these tricks are incredibly useful for those of us who manage large inboxes, where new unread messages are routinely pushed off the front pages of the inbox and inevitably end up up buried several screens back with a ton of post already read. As we all know, once an email ends up outside of the primary inbox screen, it’s pretty easy to forget about them, which only adds to the inbox feeling of overload when the unread number hits high digits.
If Gmail is also your primary email service, don’t forget to set Gmail as the default webmail client for your web browser as well.
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