How to Select All Messages in Gmail

Manage your Gmail inbox by selecting emails in bulk

Gmail Logo
Gmail. commons.wikimedia.org

To make managing your inbox easier, Gmail allows you to select multiple emails at once, and then move them, archive them, apply labels to them, delete them, and more—all at the same time.

Selecting All Emails in Gmail

If you want to select every email in your Gmail inbox, you can.

  1. On the main Gmail page, click the Inbox folder in the left pane of the page.

  2. At the top of your email messages list, click the master Select button. This will select all the messages that are currently displayed; you may also click the small down arrow on the side of this button to open a menu that allows you to select specific types of emails to be selected, such as Read, Unread, Starred, Unstarred, None, and of course All.

    Note that at this point you have only selected the messages that are currently visible on the screen.


  3. To select all emails, including those that are not currently displayed, look at the top of your email list and click the link Select all [number] conversations in Inbox. The number displayed will be the total number of emails that will be selected.

Narrowing Your List of Emails

You can narrow emails you want to select in bulk by using search, labels, or categories.

For example, clicking on a category such as Promotions lets you select emails in that category only and manage them without affecting emails that are not considered promotions. 

Likewise, click any label you have defined that appears in the left panel to bring up all emails assigned to that label.

When performing a search, you can also narrow your search by defining what aspects of emails you want to be considered. At the end of the search field is a small down arrow. Click it to open options for more refined searches by field (such as To, From, and Subject), and the search strings that should be included (in the "Has the words" field), as well as search strings that should be absent from emails in the search results (in the "Doesn't have" field).

When searching, you may also specify that email results should have attachments by checking the box next to Attachments and that results exclude any chat conversations by checking the box next to Don't include chats.

Finally, you can refine your search by defining an email size range in bytes, kilobytes, or megabytes, and by narrowing the time frame of the email's date (such as within three days of a specific date).

  1. Start by performing a search, or selecting a label or a category in Gmail.

  2. Click the master Select checkbox that appears above the list of email messages. You can also click the down arrow next to that master checkbox and select All from the menu to select the emails you can see on screen. This selects only the emails displayed on the screen. 

  3. At the top of the list of emails, click the link that says Select all [number] conversations in [name]. Here, the number will be the total number of emails and the name will be the name of the category, label, or folder that those emails are in. 

What You Can Do With Selected Emails

Once you have selected your emails, you have several options available.

  1. Delete: You can delete the selected emails by clicking the Delete button, which looks like a trashcan. This will delete the emails completely from Gmail.

  2. Archive: This button's icon appears as a box with a small arrow in it. Archiving emails removes them from view in your Inbox without deleting them. This helps tidy up your Inbox without potentially deleting emails you may later need. Once archived, an email will not appear in your Inbox, but it can be found through a search or by viewing the All Mail folder found near the bottom of the lefthand pane (you may have to click More to reveal it if you have many labels and folders).

  3. Report Spam: This button has a stop sign with an exclamation point in its center. Using this will move emails to your Spam folder, and future emails from these senders will likely bypass your Inbox and go to your Spam folder automatically.

  4. Move to: This button has a folder icon on it, and it allows you to move your selected emails into a folder or label easily.

  5. Labels: This button has an image of a tag on it. It allows you to assign labels to your selected emails. You can select multiple labels by checking the boxes next to the label names, and you can create new labels to assign to the emails by clicking Create new in the menu.

  6. More—The More button offers several other options for your selected emails. They include:

    • Mark as read
    • Mark as unread
    • Mark as important
    • Mark as not important
    • Add to Tasks
    • Add star
    • Filter messages like these
  7. You may also have a button labeled Not "[category]" available if you selected emails in a category such as Promotions. Clicking this button will remove the selected emails from that particular category, and future emails of this sort will not be placed in that category when they arrive.

Can You Select Multiple Emails in the Gmail App or Google Inbox?

The Gmail app does not have functionality for easily selecting multiple emails. In the app, you will have to select each individually by tapping the icon to the left of the email.

Google Inbox is an app and website that offers a different way to manage your Gmail account. Google Inbox does not have a way to select emails in bulk the same way that Gmail does; however, you can use Inbox's Bundles to manage multiple emails easily.

For example, there is a Social bundle in Inbox that collects emails relating to social media. When you click on this bundle, all social-media-related emails are displayed. In the upper right of the bundled group, you will find options to mark all emails as done (archiving them), deleting all emails, or moving all the emails to a folder.