In Gmail, the inbox view only contains mail which has not been archived. I'm looking for a particular conversation I had with someone a while ago to find a quote, but I can't remember the exact topic or person I was emailing. I know it has been archived but I cannot find a way of viewing only archived email—it appears I have to browse through many months of All Mail in order to find that particular conversation.

Is there a more effective way of viewing only archived mail?

  • 6
    in:archive works in 2020
    – Tarasovych
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 20:50
  • @Tarasovych Would you mind to post it as an answer? Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 16:31
  • @Rubén sure, was wondering if that's enough for valuable answer here on SO.
    – Tarasovych
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 7:16
  • Ah, never mind, I don't have enough reputation
    – Tarasovych
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 7:17
  • @Tarasovych has the best answer also because searching Gmail for "in:archive" displays archived email sorted by date of archival not by email date so it's very useful when you accidentally archived a lot of snoozed mails. Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 9:04

3 Answers 3


Inbox is a label.

Search for -label:inbox

  • 2
    Cheers, I had tried label:-inbox which didn't work but I had not tried it that way. Interestingly this doesn't filter out conversations where I sent mail but it still has a label of inbox - -label:inbox -label:sent mail gives me only archived mail though.
    – nobody
    Commented Jul 2, 2010 at 15:25
  • 2
    Doesn't work for me...
    – Drewdavid
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 3:48
  • Not working in Dec 2020 Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 16:27

If you search for the following, only the archived emails should show up in the list:

-in:Sent -in:Chat -in:Draft -in:Inbox

As dzilbers pointed out, if you have "group messages by conversation" enabled in your settings, some emails with those labels may still show up in the results if one of the messages in the conversation is archived. You will still have the "Move to Inbox" option for those results, which will un-archive any archived emails in the conversation.

  • 1
    This worked beautifully for getting only archived mail as asked for. (The accepted answer is only a half answer).
    – Robbie
    Commented Oct 20, 2013 at 23:08
  • has:nouserlabels didn't for for me, using the search you suggested I got messages that had labels Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 13:22
  • @DanielSerodio Another person figured out why those "labeled" messages were still showing up in the inbox, so I added in the information to answer.
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 3:21
  • It is possible to have archived messages that have labels. So has:nouserlabels is filtering more messages than it should. The answer is close though, -in:sent -in:chat -in:draft -in:inbox should do the trick.
    – htellez
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 6:20
  • 1
    For some reason -in:Inbox does nothing, but when I add everything @IQAndreas listed it seems to work better.
    – Drewdavid
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 3:49

To view only the Archived emails in your Gmail, do this:

  1. Click on All Mail from the left (If you can't see the All Mail, goto your Gmail Settings → Labels tab → click “Show” next to “All Mail” and save your setting.)
  2. From your All Mail list, you can see Inbox label in front of the email—these are emails in your Inbox folder. If you've archived an email the Inbox label will be removed, which indicates it could be in Archived/Sent Items/Notes. Obviously, the email you archived won't be in Notes or Sent Items if you checked that earlier, therefore if you look at the email it has to be the one in the Archive.

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