How to Mark Email Read in Gmail

Quickly clear out your queue without reading every message

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There are plenty of reasons that you'd want to mark messages in Gmail as read without opening them. After all, it's extremely satisfying to have zero pending notifications.

Gmail has several convenient controls that help you get to that glorious zero notification point. They enable you to select one or more messages as read, or you can open an entire label. On top of all that, Gmail provides keyboard shortcuts that make everything so much faster and more efficient.

Mark Email Read in Gmail

To mark an email or emails read in Gmail:

  1. Open your browser, and sign in to Gmail.

    Gmail inbox
  2. Select the message(s) that you want to mark as read by checking the box next to each one. You can also check a range of messages quickly.

    Gmail check message to mark read

    If you are looking for certain messages, try searching for the desired attributes and marking read within the search results instead.

    While you can check all messages in the current label or search results for marking, see below for a possibly faster way to marking them all read.

  3. When you have one or more messages checked, the toolbar directly above your inbox will change to show more options. Find Mark as read. The icon is an open envelope.

    Select Mark as read in Gmail
  4. Press Mark as read to mark every message that you have selected as read.

    Gmail inbox messages marked read

The Hotkey Shortcut

Efficiency is everything, and clicking your way through Gmail's controls isn't exactly efficient. There's a quicker way to mark your messages as read using a simple hotkey. It does take a minute or two to set up, but it can be a real time saver in the future.

  1. Return to your Gmail inbox.

    Gmail inbox
  2. Select the Settings gear icon in the upper right of your window.

  3. The Settings menu will appear. Choose Settings from it.

    Gmail inbox settings menu
  4. You'll arrive on the Gmail settings page. You should be on the General tab to start, but if not, select it from the menu up top.

  5. Scroll until you see Keyboard shortcuts, and select Keyboard shortcuts on. When you're done, scroll to the bottom, and Save Changes.

    Enable keyboard shortcuts in Gmail
  6. Back in your inbox, select the messages that you want to mark as read.

    Check more messages to mark read in Gmail
  7. Now, hold Shift and press i to mark the messages as read. So, the hotkey to mark messages as read is Shift+i.

    Messages marked as read with Gmail hotkey

Mark All Mail Read in a Label or View in Gmail

To mark as read all messages in a Gmail label or view:

  1. To start, open the label that you want to work in, and make sure that no messages are checked.

    If you have hotkeys enabled, you can press *n ('star' followed by 'n') to deselect all mail.

  2. Select More in the toolbar. The icon is three stacked dots.

    Gmail menu more

    With hotkeys, you can also press . (dot) to open the More menu.


  3. Select Mark all as read from the menu.

    Gmail all messages marked as read

Or, keeping with keyboard actions, press down followed by Enter.