Archive messages

Archiving removes messages from your inbox, but keeps them in your account so that you can always find them later. Archiving is like moving messages into a filing cabinet for safekeeping, rather than putting them in the trash can.

Archive button

Why archive?

  • Clean up your inbox by getting messages out of your way.
  • Archived messages stay in your account in case you need to find a phone number in someone’s signature or you become famous and write a memoir.
  • When you delete a message (instead of archiving), it will be automatically and permanently deleted after about 30 days.

How to archive

Archive individual messages

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Open the message (or select the checkbox next to it).
  3. Click the Archive button.
    Gmail Archive icon

Archive many or all messages at once

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Find a group of messages you want to archive, such as all messages that match your search criteria or all messages in a label.
  3. Select messages using the checkbox in the toolbar above your messages. This will select all messages that are currently visible on the page.

     
  4. Directly above your messages, you should see a sentence similar to this:

    "All 20 conversations on this page are selected. Select all conversations that match this search."

    Select all messages link

    Use the “Select all conversations” link to select the rest of the messages if you’d like to archive all the messages at once rather than one page at a time.
     
  5. Click the Archive button.
    Gmail Archive icon
 

Find archived messages

All your archived messages can be found with search or by looking in the All Mail view. When someone responds to a message you've archived, the conversation containing that message will reappear in your inbox.

Search

The easiest way to find archived messages is to search. If you're having trouble finding the result you want, you can refine your search by clicking the small arrow in the search box, and entering your criteria in the appropriate fields. Learn more about Gmail search.

Gmail Search Box

Look in labels or All Mail

If you applied a custom label to a message, click your label on the left side of Gmail and look for your message there. Any message you've archived can be found in All Mail, so if you can’t find your message in search or a custom label, follow these directions:

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Hover over your label list on the left side of Gmail (under the compose button).
  3. Click More at the bottom of your label list (you may need to scroll down).
    More link
     
  4. Select All Mail.
    All Mail label

    If you don’t see All Mail under More , look for All Mail towards the top of your label list.
  5. Look through the pages of messages.

Move archived messages back to your inbox

  1. Find the message (see above).
  2. Open the message (or select the checkbox next to it).
  3. Click the Move to Inbox button in the toolbar.

Tip: Two ways to archive automatically

Filters: You can set up your own filters to automatically archive certain kinds of messages. Learn more about filters.

Send & Archive: If you often find yourself replying to a message and then immediately archiving the conversation, this feature will save you time.

Click here to learn how to turn on “Send & Archive”
  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Click the gear in the top right.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. In the General tab, scroll down to find the “Send and Archive” section.
  5. Select Show "Send & Archive" button in reply.
  6. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

Once you enable the setting, you'll have two options when you reply to a message:

  • Click Send & Archive to send the reply and archive the previous message in one step.
  • Click Send to send your reply but leave the original message in your inbox.

Learn More