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Our email inboxes are busy, with the majority of people finding inbox zero an elusive task. As of 2018, there are about 124.5 billion business emails sent and received each day according to Campaign Monitor.

It goes without saying that some emails are going to pass you by and go unread. But what if you want to go back and catch up on those you might have missed?

If you want to find your unread emails in Gmail quickly and easily, here are the 3 quickest and most elegant solutions for surfacing them.

1. Force Gmail to Show You Unread Emails First

One of the easiest methods for finding your unread emails in Gmail is to force it to show them at the top of your inbox. This is achieved in five easy steps.

Step 1. Click the gear icon, found in the top right of your screen and choose “Settings.” Then select “Inbox.” 

Step 2. Click the dropdown on “Inbox Type” and choose the setting called “Unread First.”

Step 3. You then need to choose how many unread emails you want to see at the top of your inbox. You can select 5, 10, 25, or 50. However many you choose is down to personal preference – and how busy your inbox is.

Step 4. Don’t forget to go to the bottom of the page and click “Save Changes.”

Step 5. Navigate back to your inbox, and you’ll now see that your unread emails are at the top, and everything else is pushed further down the page.

2. Search for Messages Using the Unread Label

If you need to find older unread emails, then you’re going to need to use labels. This is easy to do in three steps.

Step 1. Navigate to the labels section on the left-hand side of your screen. Click the label group that you want to search in. In the example below, you will see that “analytics alerts” has been selected.

Step 2. In the search box where the label text appears, you simply need to add “is:unread.”

Step 3. Press enter – you’ll now be able to see only the unread emails associated with that label.

3. Advanced Gmail Search Techniques

There are times when neither of these methods will surface the email that you’re trying to find. In that case, there are a few advanced options for you to try.

Below is a list of potential scenarios for how you might locate the email, and the text that you need to type into your Gmail search box to surface it.

  • Search By Date – is:unread before:2019/11/11 after:2015/11/11
  • Search By Specific Email – is:unread from:larrypage@google.com
  • Search By Specific Domain Name – is:unread from:*@rightinbox.com
  • Search By Name – is:unread from:Elon
  • Combine Any Of The Above – is:unread before:2019/11/11 after:2015/11/11 from*@rightinbox.com

It’s as simple as that.

These three methods will ensure that you never leave a Gmail message unread ever again.
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