How do we search for all our archived messages in Gmail?

Non-archived messages should not be displayed,

Only the archived messages should be shown.

  • 1
    How do you define simplest? I don't think there's a one-click command for that.
    – R.K.
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 11:03
  • 7
    Padding out your question with words complaining about the quality standards that SE impose does NOT make your question any better. Asking quality questions will improve the site as a whole and improve your chances of getting a quality answer. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 11:21
  • Out of curiosity, why would you ever want to do that?
    – o0'.
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 11:30
  • @Barry, yes edited.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 3:47
  • @Lohoris, to clear archived emails at regular intervals.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 3:51

4 Answers 4


In the Gmail search box, type

-label:inbox -label:sent -label:drafts -label:notes

and press enter. That should give you all your archived messages. Once there, select All and then click Select all conversations that match this search to ensure that all messages are selected. Click Delete.

They'd still go the the Trash though so you'd have to empty the Trash as a final step.

  • 6
    The dash is really a "minus" sign. So it means stuff that doesn't have this. It's a general google syntax: google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=136861
    – ford
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 16:06
  • R.K.'s suggestion has a potentially disastrous side effect: If you have emails that have other labels (i.e. "Emails from Mom"), those emails will be selected (and trashed) as well. In addition, when you go to the trash to remove them, they will have all of their custom labels skipped. (I'm sorry, I tried to leave this as a comment but can't find or don't have that option) Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 18:56
  • 2
    I wouldn't call it a side effect. He did ask for a way to find all archived emails. Whether or not it has other labels is irrelevant. It is still archived. At least according to his question.
    – R.K.
    Commented Aug 19, 2012 at 3:02
  • I'd say the answer is fine. If you added a label to a message and don't remove it from the inbox, then it won't be deleted. Otherwise, it's archived. Anyway, the answer gives an excellent idea on what to do if you want to keep those tags! Just add -label:Mom to the query! :)
    – MBender
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 7:37

Our company's email is hosted by Google Apps, and I asked Google Enterprise Support the same question. They answered that the search syntax for archived messages is:

has:nouserlabels -in:Sent -in:Chat -in:Draft -in:Inbox

Here's the reference documentation for Gmail's search: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7190?hl=en

  • This does not show archived messages that has user labels....
    – Pacerier
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 6:11
  • 1
    OT: is has:nouserlabels new? I searched for such a thing ~1 year ago and it wasn't there! Or is it exclusive to Google Apps? edit: I tried, and it works on standard gmail too. Great!
    – o0'.
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 10:06
  • 1
    The search suggested will not return messages with labels as @Pacerier mentioned. Commented May 1, 2015 at 19:36
  • @Rubén, Looks like "Google Enterprise Support" needs more staff training.
    – Pacerier
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 23:41

Short answer

  • Try -in:inbox for archived messages.
  • Try in:anywhere -in:inbox for messages archived, in Spam and in Trash.


In the Gmail Help lingo context, archive a message means removing it from Inbox, without asigning any label, but in a broadsense archived messages could means messages that moved from the Inbox to some place where it could be found later.

Type in:anywhere in the Gmail search box and hit enter. If the Conversation view is enabled this will return all the conversations in the current Gmail account mailbox including those messages indidually marked as Spam, deleted if the still are in Trash and the conversations in Inbox.

To find messages that are not in Inbox, nor in Spam nor in Trash type -in:inbox.

Archive messages - Gmail Help
Advanced Search - Gmail Help

  • You should use -in:chats -in:spam -in:trash as well Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 21:11

You can also type in:archive in the search box, that will show you all archived message then you can select which you want deleted.

  • 6
    Sure about that? It's not working for me. All I'm seeing is messages (and docs) with "archive" in the content.
    – ale
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 20:28
  • -1 There isn't such search operator. Commented May 1, 2015 at 3:15
  • does work for me Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 8:49

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