How to Undo Actions in Gmail

Using Gmail Google Mail on computer

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You can undo just about any action in Gmail, no matter if it's as simple as reversing an email move to a new folder or something a bit more critical like undeleting or undo sending messages. You can also undo a label you made, a message you archived, an email you marked as read, and more.

Undo Actions in Gmail

To take back an action in Gmail, all you have to do is click or tap the Undo button before it goes away.

For example, say you just deleted a message. The next thing that happens after the email disappears, is that Gmail will prompt you with a yellow bar at the top of the page that says something like The conversation has been moved to the Trash.

Gmail undo message

Just choose the Undo link within the yellow message to take it out of the Trash folder and put it back wherever you deleted it from.

The same is true for other actions, like when you move a message into a folder called Read Later, for example; you're given the message The conversation has been moved to the Read Later and the opportunity to undo it.

To undo a sent message to prevent it from going out, you have to make sure you catch the "undo" link quickly. However, you need to first make sure that undoing emails is turned on for your account. Do this by checking the Undo Send option on the General Settings page.

Another way to reverse what you did in Gmail is to enter z on your keyboard while you have Gmail open, which is one of the many keyboard shortcuts in Gmail. Don't type it into a text box or email, but instead just "into the page" right after you do whatever it is you want to undo. If anything else is selected, Gmail might not register it as a shortcut key.

No matter what you're undoing or how you undo it, Gmail will tell you that Your action has been undone. However, you can't redo an action as easily as you can undo it.

Limitations of Gmail Undo

You cannot undo deleting emails in the Trash or Spam folder. Removing those emails will cause them to be permanently deleted from your account. After deleting them, you're simply told that the messages have been deleted, and not given the chance to undo it.

If you do want to "undo" a delete in those folders, just drag them out and into a new folder (like Inbox) before they're permanently deleted 30 days later.

The "undo" message does not stay on the screen forever. It will disappear after a while, even if you don't refresh the page or navigate elsewhere. 

Pressing z is only applicable to the last thing you did, and it only works while the yellow notification is still visible. Pressing z over and over will not keep undoing all the previous things you've done in Gmail.

Extend the Undo Window

  1. Open your Gmail inbox.

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

    Gmail inbox settings menu
  3. Choose Settings from the menu.

  4. Under the General tab, locate the Undo Send setting. Use the drop-down to select how long you want Gmail to make the Undo action available after you delete an item.

    Gmail set undo time
  5. When you're done, scroll to the bottom of the page, and press Save Changes to make your new undo duration permanent.

    Gmail set settings