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You’d be pretty normal if you came to your inbox each day to find dozens – if not hundreds – of unread emails. But that can sometimes mean you miss new messages when they come through.

To make things simpler, and to give you a fresh start, you can mark all your old emails as read so that you can start keeping on top of your new ones. And the good news is, Gmail’s advanced search features make this process really easy. Here’s how to mark all emails as read in Gmail.

Why it’s useful to mark emails as read

It’s not always possible – or even necessary – to open and read every single email that comes into your inbox. That said, it’s also disconcerting to open your Gmail account to see that you have 10,576 unread messages.

Being able to mark emails as read is a great way of organizing your inbox without having to necessarily go into every single message.

Marking an email as read

To mark a specific email as read:

  • Check the box to the left of the email.
  • Navigate to the top of the page, and click the Mark as read icon.

  • You’ll now see a pop-up confirmation message which gives you the opportunity to Undo the command.

Marking your whole inbox as read

In your Gmail dashboard:

  • Navigate to the search bar and enter Label: inbox is: unread and press Enter

  • Click the arrow on the right-hand side of the Select icon, and select All

  • In the message at the top of the page, click Select all conversations that match this search.

  • You’ll then see a message that shows that you’ve selected these emails.

  • At the top of the page, select the Mark as read icon, then OK.

  • Confirm your command by clicking OK in the pop-up confirmation. 

You may need to repeat this process if you have hundreds of emails to mark as read. You can only access 50 emails at a time.

Marking emails in specific folders as read

You can also use the advanced search function to select messages in all your folders. To select unread emails in your Important folder, type Label:Important is:Unread into the search box.

Setting up a “Mark as Read” filter

You can also set up a filter in Gmail that lets you automatically mark certain emails as read as soon as they come in.

To do this:

  • Navigate to the search bar, and click the arrow to the right-hand side.

  • Enter the search criteria for the email(s) you wish to automatically mark as read. This is usually the From field.

  • Click Search
  • Select Mark as read, and click Create filter. 

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