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I was trying to mark an email as "Important" in Gmail and accidentally archived it.

Now I cannot locate it, since there is no "archive" label anywhere.

How do I get it back?

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7 Answers 7

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Click on All Mail on the left. When you see the message, open it, and choose the Move to Inbox option to "un-archive" it.

Alternatively, you can use the search feature to locate the message (the search box should be towards the top of the Gmail page).

For more details visit Archive or mute Gmail messages | Gmail Help.

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    Just to add, the 'All Mail' system label on the left is not visible by default. To show it, click on the cog button on the top right > Settings > Labels > Show (next to the All Mail system label).
    – MrWhite
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 8:52
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    Tip: Typing in:all in the Gmail search box will take you directly to the "All Mail" view / system label. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 16:27
  • If you don't know which message it is note that the archive icon shown together with 3 other icons on the right while hovering over the item in the "All Mail" list is grey instead of black when the message is already archived. Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 6:41
  • No need to open each message: Select messages on the left and you can "Move to Inbox" with the respective icon appearing above the message list. Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 7:02
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If you want to search for more than one archived email, entering the following into the search bar will list all your previously archived emails:

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

To move them back to the inbox, select all the displayed messages (or a subset of them if you only want to restore some of them) and click the icon that says "Move to Inbox" when hovering over it.

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    What does the has:nouserlabels do for this query? Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 12:41
  • @owlstead It's been a long time, so I can't remember exactly, but I believe custom folders are/were represented by user added labels.
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 4:08
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    If a conversation/message with user label, like those assigned by filters, was archived it will not be included in the results. Instead use in:all with or without the other search terms.` Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 16:29
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    This is the best answer because it seems to show only achieved emails. Shame it's so insanely unintuitive, but works fine with copy/paste Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 9:25
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    This is easily the best answer. Amazing that it's 6 years old and Google still hasn't addressed this issue.
    – fig
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 6:33
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Just search for -label:inbox.

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    That will still include sent emails and drafts. The following search should leave only archived emails: has:nouserlabels -in:Sent -in:Chat -in:Draft -in:Inbox
    – IQAndreas
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 7:16
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An archived email is just an email with the inbox label removed. Search for it, or open a label that it should be in, then click on move to inbox.

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In addition to the other answers that show how to find your answer again, you can always get it back immediately after archiving it by clicking "Undo" in the message that appears just after the action:

enter image description here

I have used this "undo" feature many times. Also works for deleted messages.

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    Not always. For example if it's at the bottom of the screen in the app, "undo" is hidden behind the floating "compose" button, and scrolling to make it visible causes the button to permanently disappear... Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 9:33
  • Admittedly, it is now almost 7 years since this answer was posted, but I just did basically what the OP did and there was not "Undo" that I saw.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 13:05
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    "Undo" is too close to other buttons and too small. If one accidentally archives a message one probably also will have trouble hitting this tiny link under time pressure (one knows from past experience that the link will only be there for a few seconds). Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 7:00
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Google finally fixed this. Here's the 2020 answer:

in:archive

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If you can remember who is the sender or his mail id or part of his name, try to search with this information in the search box on the top of the page.

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