Quickly Find Your Oldest Gmail Messages

Sort Emails Oldest to Newest With Just a Couple Clicks

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No matter what folder you're in, Gmail shows your emails in the reverse order of how they came in. In other words, when you open your Inbox or All Mail folder, what you see first is the most recent messages you received.

While this is definitely the simplest way to find new emails, it's not always what you want. Maybe you want to browse through your oldest emails or just see how old an email folder is for fun.

To get Gmail to show you the oldest messages first is really simple and can be done within any folder, including a custom one.

Tip: If you just want to find a message from a specific point in time, a better method would be to search Gmail using the before or after date operator.

Make Gmail Show Messages in Reverse Chronological Order

  1. Take note of the area right above all of your messages and to the right. There's a number there that shows how many emails are in that folder.

    For example, you might see 1-100 of 3,477 if you have over 3,000 emails in that folder and your Gmail account is configured to show 100 conversations per page.
  2. Hover your mouse over that area until a small menu pops up. It should only take a second.
  3. Choose Oldest from that menu. You should immediately be taken to the very last page of emails in that folder.

    Two options are listed here: Newest and Oldest. Assuming you're viewing your emails in regular, chronological order, the only clickable one should be Oldest. If Newest is the only visible one, then you're already in this mode.
  1. To move backward to see newer messages, or forward to see older ones, use the arrows between the email count and the settings button.

Tips:

  • In the Settings > General area of Gmail is an option for how many conversations should be shown per page. You can adjust this number to be 10, 15, 20, 25, 50 or 100. This is where the 1-100 text comes from in the example from Step 1.
  • If neither option is clickable during Step 3, it means that the folder you're in doesn't have enough email to traverse more than one page. Just scroll to the very bottom of the page to see the oldest email in that folder.
  • You can return to reading your Gmail messages in their regular order be returning to Step 3 and choosing Newest.
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