How to Select Multiple Messages Quickly in Gmail

Use keyboard shortcuts in Gmail to manage your inbox more efficiently

Gmail inbox screenshot

Gmail supports many keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly archive or delete multiple message at once. By using the mouse and keyboard in unison, you can select and deselect consecutive messages even faster. It's even possible to select multiple messages based on specific search criteria.

Instructions in this article apply to the web version of Gmail. Steps are the same regardless of which browser you use.

How to Select Multiple Messages in Gmail

To select a range of consecutive messages at once:

  1. Click the checkbox in front of the first message in the desired range.

    Click the checkbox in front of the first message in the desired range.
  2. Hold the Shift key.

  3. Click the checkbox in front of the last message in the desired range. All of the messages in between will automatically be selected.

    When you click the checkbox in front of the last message in the desired range, all of the messages in between will automatically be selected.
  4. Release Shift.

  5. Click the checkbox in front of any non-adjacent messages to select them as well. You can even select another range and remove individual messages from the selection by clicking their checkboxes again.

    Click the checkbox in front of any non-adjacent messages to select the as well.
  6. Whichever action you perform next will apply to all selected messages.

Deselecting a range of messages in Gmail works exactly the same way as selecting them.

How to Select Multiple Messages Based on Message Criteria

To select multiple emails in the current view based on specific criteria, click the downward-pointed triangle (▾) beside the top checkbox in your Gmail's message list toolbar to reveal a list of options.

Click the downward-pointed triangle (▾) beside the top checkbox in your Gmail's message list toolbar to reveal a list of criteria.

You can then select multiple messages based on criteria:

  • All: Select all messages in the current view. You can also select all messages by clicking the top checkbox. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut *a.
  • None: Deselect all messages. You can also click the top checkbox; it will be filled with a check mark () if all messages are currently selected, and with a minus sign (-) when some emails are checked. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut *n.
  • Read: Select all emails marked read. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut *r.
  • Unread: Select all new and unread messages. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut *u.
  • Starred: Select emails marked with a star. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut *s.
  • Unstarred: Select all messages not highlighted with a star. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut *t.

How to Select Multiple Messages Based on Search Filters

Gmail supports dozens of search filters with options to include or exclude keywords, senders, attachments, message sizes, and date ranges. When you filter based on criteria and then select all the conversations on the page, a new option will appear under the message list toolbar: Select all conversations that match this search. If you click the hyperlink, all messages in the search results (not just those on the current page) will be selected.

When you click Select all conversations that match this search, all messages in the search results (not just those on the current page) will be selected.

Once all messages are selected, unchecking any message on the current page will also unselect all hidden emails. The new selection will comprise all emails on the current page minus those you unchecked.