I have a ton of labels. How do I tell Gmail to show all messages which are in my INBOX and have no label?
As of November 2012 this is now possible with a simple search
The short answer is: you can't. Or at least not with the way things currently work with Gmail. As you've probably noticed, your only options are filtering by a tag or using the archive to hide things. A glance at the advanced search tools show what you are after isn't really accommodated.
Your question is in a similar vein to those asking how to find unlabeled messages, and a similar answer applies. You can try and build a search that explicitly excludes every other label, e.g.:
You can build the search once then save the URL, but given you mention that you have a ton of labels I know it is far from ideal. If you have a look at the answers to questions on finding unlabeled messages you'll see you're not alone.
The problem as I see it is that Google have renamed things, which means people have to figure out what they can do. It is possible to organize things so Google filters stuff so it goes straight into a folder. For example I want newsletters to go into a folder (sorry label) called "Newsletters":
In Gmail click on the gear wheel at the top right -> Settings -> Filters
Click "Create a new filter" and set up how you want to filter things
Tick the box "Skip the Inbox (Archive it)"
Tick the box "Apply the label:" and create the label "Newsletters"
Tick the box "Also apply filter to -- matching conversations."
Then click on "Apply" or "Update"
All emails which match your filter then disappear from the inbox, but you can access them under the label "Newsletters".
A message with the label "inbox" will be in the inbox. Archiving a message removes the inbox label, the message is then no longer seen as a part of the inbox. The message is still listed under the other labels associated with the conversation.
You can jump to any label using the label buttons on the side, or via search. Of course search can be complex and can show you conversations with multiple labels, or label a but not label b.
What can be confusing is that you seldom see the inbox label, because when you are looking at the inbox, the actual label is hidden. But all messages/conversations start with the inbox label unless they are archived.
protected by Community♦ Jan 16 '14 at 16:58
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