How to Show (Absolutely) All Mail in Gmail

How to Show (Absolutely) All Mail in Gmail

Is Gmail keeping something from you? Not if you know how to include the “Trash” and “Spam” in your searches. Find out here how to have Gmail show you all mail.

First, Waggle to Your Own Tune

When a bee scout has found a promising source of nectar, it waggles and dances, of course, to communicate the location, and all the other bees fly there to collect the nutrients.

All bees? Of course not.

Some 5 percent (but, depending on the season up to a quarter) continue their scouting behavior. Ignoring their own and others’ own waggling advice, they keep looking for new fields of nectar every day so the colony does not become dependent on a few sources or misses out on as-yet unfound riches.

Want to gather all emails in Gmail (including the unruly ones in the Spam folder)? Here’s how to waggle and shake keyboard and mouse:

How to Show (Absolutely) All Mail in Gmail

Time needed: 2 minutes.

To get an overview of all mail (all emails including those in the Trash and Spam folders) in your Gmail account:

  1. Open Gmail in a browser or the Gmail app for Android and iOS.

  2. Click in the Search mail field.

    Gmail keyboard shortcut: You can press / (slash) to focus the Gmail search field fast using a desktop browser.

  3. Type in:anywhere.

    Here’s why: This search term is the shortest to include all mail; it collects emails that are either in the All Mail label, in the Trash or in Spam.
    Alternative: You can be more explicit and type in:(all|spam|trash) instead.

  4. Press Enter.

    What you get: This takes you to a reverse chronological list of all messages currently in Gmail.
    This is how you can have Gmail show you all mail

Show All Mail Excluding Spam (or All Mail Excluding the Trash)

To find all emails in your inbox, any custom Gmail folder, All Mail and the Gmail Trash (but not emails labeled as spam):

  1. Focus the Gmail search field.
  2. Type in:(all|trash).
    Junk alternative: For all mail including spam but not deleted emails, use in:(all|spam).
  3. Press Enter.

How to Show (Absolutely) All Mail in Gmail: FAQ

Can I see all mail in Basic HTML Gmail?

Yes, showing all mail works essentially the same way in basic HTML Gmail.

To load all messages:

  1. Type in:anywhere in the search field in Basic HTML Gmail.
  2. Click Search Mail.

Can I select and work on all the emails in Gmail?


In the desktop browser version of Gmail, you can use the Select checkbox (or press * followed by A), the click Select all conversations that match this search to select all email in Gmail (and, for instance, empty your Gmail account).
Select absolutely all mail in Gmail

(How to show (absolutely) all mail in Gmail tested in a desktop browser as well as Gmail for iOS 6.0; updated May 2023)

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