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I was recently trying to clean up my Inbox. When I did that, I used filters to clear out all messages and apply them to the correct label.

While setting up a particular filter, Gmail crashed. I hit "reload", completed my filter, and applied it to all existing messages. However, when the page reloaded, it cleared the "search" portion of the filter. So, the filter was applied to every single message in my Gmail account.

How do I undo this without losing all of my messages?

Here is the filter that was applied:

Do this: Skip Inbox, Mark as read, Apply label "Receipts & Online Orders"

All I really want to do is apply a filter that says:

  • Search label="Receipts & Online Orders"
  • Undo Archive (skip inbox)
  • Remove label "Receipts & Online Orders"

Problems I've encountered so far:

  • I cannot undo archive
  • I cannot "remove" a label using filters
  • If I simply delete the label "Receipts & Online Orders", all of my messages are off in "archive" land, even if they had other labels.
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You don't need filters to correct this easily. Do this:

  1. View all emails with the "Receipts & Online Orders" label, by going to the left-side navigation and clicking on your label, or doing a search.
  2. Use the checkbox on the left side, above the message list, to select all emails.
  3. If you have more than the ones displayed on the page, click the blue "Select all xxx conversations in "Receipts & Online Orders" text above the messages.
  4. Click the folder-with-arrow icon above the message list to "Move to", then select "Inbox". Now your emails are all un-archived in the Inbox.
  5. Click the label icon to the right of the one you just clicked. De-select "Receipts & Online Orders" using the checkbox, and click "Apply" at the bottom.

You're done! After step 4, but before step 5, you can optionally toggle the envelope icon to mark all these messages read / unread as a group, but note that this will either mark all your messages read or unread.

If you have any doubts, you can try this first on a few messages at a time by selecting only a subset of your messages individually at step 2.

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