OK, so you know when you subscribe to a fairly active mailing list and then don't read it for say, a couple of years? Yeh, I could just mark all as read and get on with my life, but say I like reading...

I have all the messages labelled and when I select the label Gmail says I have 2500 (out of about 8000) messages unread. Just to get to the page with the first unread message on it I have to hit the "next page" link about a bajillion times. So is there a way to skip straight there?

btw. Filtering so I'm just showing unread messages and hitting the "oldest" link won't work because Gmail lazilly evaluates filters and doesn't show the "oldest" link when anything more complex than label:whatever is in use.

1 Answer 1


If you know at around which date the first message was sent, you can filter with the before: keyword (or approximate it, at least it will reduce the size of the list to navigate through.

label:mailinglistname before:2008/01/01
  • Surely I'd want after: rather than before: ? Anyway, that causes the same problem as the unread filter in that you don't get an 'oldest' link any more so you still have to page through.
    – U62
    Dec 11, 2010 at 19:20
  • @U62: You want to limit the list to posts before a specific date. And no it doesn't solve your problem exactly, but it might get you there faster. If you know you received one letter per week/month, you can just take a guess based on the number of pages and keep refining your search until you find it.
    – mbillard
    Dec 14, 2010 at 4:31
  • Ahh, I see what you mean now. Yes it does help get me to the first unread message quicker. However, I click on it to open it and so now I'm in the message view. I press 'k' to go to the next newest coversation a few times and I'm stopped at the date I entered. Seems the next/previous function is based on the current filter rather than the whole message collection. Still, I can read a month at a time before changing the filter so it helps to some extent and I think it's probably the best idea I'm going to get on this subject, so thanks.
    – U62
    Dec 14, 2010 at 16:44

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