Quickly Find Your Oldest Gmail Messages

How to sort your Gmail by date

What to Know

  • View messages in reverse chronological order by hovering over the 1-?? in the upper-right corner and selecting Oldest.
  • You can also search for emails by date using a variety of search operators like after, before, and older_than.

This article explains how you can sort by date in Gmail to display messages in reverse chronological order. Instructions apply to the web version of Gmail. It's not possible to sort messages by date in the Gmail app.

How to View Gmail Messages in Reverse Chronological Order

When you sort messages by date in Gmail, you see the last page of messages first, but the messages are still listed from newest to oldest. If a folder has only one page of messages, look at the bottom of the screen to see the oldest conversation. If a folder has multiple pages of messages, use this workaround:

You can adjust how many conversations should be shown per page in your Gmail settings.

  1. In the upper-right corner, just above your messages, there's a number that shows how many emails are in the current folder. Hover the mouse over the email counter until a small menu drops down and choose Oldest. You're taken to the last page of emails in that folder; the oldest message is listed at the bottom.

    To move back to a previous screen to see newer messages, use the back arrow next to the email count.

    Oldest option in Gmail Inbox menu
  2. If you want to read your Gmail messages in the default order, select the email counter and choose Newest from the drop-down menu.

    Newer arrow in Gmail Inbox for reverse chronological order

Search Gmail by Date

If you want to find a message from a specific point in time, search your Gmail by date. You can even combine search operators to display messages between specific dates. Examples of valid search queries include:

after:1/1/2020 Display messages after the date.
before:12/31/2019 Display messages before the date.
after:1/1/2020 or before:1/7/2020 Display messages between two dates.
older_than:3d Display messages older than 3 days.
newer_than:1m Display messages newer than 1 month.
Lifewire / Melissa Ling
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