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Google Chat will be replaced by Hangouts on 6/26. Learn how to use Hangouts.

Chat history

Chat history only works for users with a Gmail username.

Your chat messages from Google Chat and downloaded client chats are stored in your Gmail account so that you can easily search for them later.

To access your chat history:

  1. Click on the Chats label in your Gmail account.
  2. If you can’t see the Chats label in your inbox, go to Settings to make it viewable. In Settings, click Labels, then choose Show next to Chats. This will enable your Chats to be shown in your inbox.
  3. A list of chats will appear, similar to the way in which conversations are listed in your inbox. You can then label, star and delete chats, just like Gmail messages.
chat history down arrow options

When you open a chat history, you can reply to the chat by email, forward it by email, apply labels to it or print it. Go to the top-right corner of the chat history page and click the  drop-down arrow to show the options. Then, choose what you'd like to do.

To search in Chats:

  1. Select the search bar at the top of your Gmail.
  2. Type in the keyword that you'd like to find. For example, if you're looking for the name of the Italian restaurant that your friend mentioned in a chat, type "Italian restaurant".
  3. Matching chat conversations will show up along with matching email conversations. All chats are labelled Chats and are marked with the chat icon so that you can easily distinguish them from emails.

For the Google Chat history settings, you can take individual chats off the record, but you'll no longer have the option to turn chat history off for all of your chats. Learn more about going off the record.

To exclude chats from Gmail filters

If you'd like to exclude chats from filters in Gmail, open the drop-down arrow for the search options on the right-hand side of the search box and select the box next to "Don't include chats".

You can also access this by clicking the gear icon for "Settings" and choosing "Filters". Then choose "Edit" for the filter that you'd like to edit.

Search box in Gmail

Exclude chat in filter

Megan is a Google Chat expert and the author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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