How to Mark as Unread in Gmail on the Desktop

Mark as Unread in Gmail on the Desktop

Ever wanted to keep an email top of mind, pretend you didn’t see it or make sure you’ll return to it later? Find out here how to mark emails as unread in Gmail on the desktop so they will appear all new again.

First, Put All Your Eggs in One B—

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, of course. Put them in a bowl instead, a bowl filled with water.

If, now, you are looking for fresh eggs, pick the ones that sit firmly in the water (or at the bottom). Avoid the eggs that swim bobbing on the surface.

For as time passes and moisture escapes from the egg’s shell, ambient air replaces it-and makes the egg more and more likely to float.

Now, while getting the air out of an egg and making it look fresh again seems relatively difficult, getting the boldness back into an email and making it look new again is positively easy:

How to Mark as Unread in Gmail on the Desktop

Using a Keyboard Shortcut

Time needed: 1 minute

To mark email as unread fast (using a keyboard shortcut) in Gmail using a desktop browser:

  1. Open or select the email you want to mark unread.

    Selecting: You can navigate the message list using the Vim keys J (down) and K (up), then select conversations by pressing X.
    Selecting more: * R selects all read emails on the current page, and * A selects all.
    Finding: You can also search Gmail for just the emails you mean to mark unseen, then select all in search results.

  2. Press Shift U.

    Nothing happens: If the email remains read, check if Gmail keyboard shortcuts are enabled.
    Custom keys: You can also set up your own Gmail mark as unread-shortcut.

Using Mouse or Trackpad

To mark an email message unread with a desktop browser and mouse or trackpad:

  1. Open or check the email you want to mark as unread.
    Here’s how: Click the checkbox (☐︎) in front of the message in the message list or the email’s subject to open it.
    More than one: Click multiple checkboxes to select more than one message and mark them unread in bulk.
  2. Now click the Mark as unread button in the toolbar.
    No “Mark as unread”: If you only see Mark as read, click it to get to marking as unread; see below.
    You can use the “Mark as unread” button to mark emails unread in Gmail in a desktop browser

On a mobile device: How to Mark Email as Unread in the Gmail App

How to Mark as Unread in Gmail on the Desktop: FAQ

I only see “Mark as read” in the Gmail toolbar, not “Mark as unread”; what can I do?

When at least one of the messages open or selected is already unread, Gmail will display the Mark as read button instead of Mark as unread.

To mark all selected messages as unread:

  1. Click Mark as read to mark all as read.
  2. Now click Mark as unread that has appeared in the same space.
    Selection: Gmail will keep the selection, so you effectively press the button twice.

How can I mark all messages (in a folder or matching a search) as unread?

To mark all emails as unread that have a particular label or match a certain pattern in Gmail on the desktop:

  1. Go to the Gmail folder (label) or search result that collects the emails you want to mark as unseen.
    Search: Press / or click in the search field for Gmail search to find emails with precise search operators.
  2. Press * A to select all visible messages.
  3. Now click Select all conversations that match this search or Select all conversations in “<label>” to select every message that matches the criterion or criteria.
  4. Press Shift U to mark unread.

(How to mark as unread in Gmail tested in a desktop browser; updated April 2024)

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