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May 14, 2007

Shortcuts for Special Gmail Labels

In Gmail every built-in view (e.g.: inbox, trash, read mail) is actually a label. So if you want to view all the unread messages from the inbox, you could search for: label:inbox label:unread.

You can combine these built-in labels with your labels and create interesting queries. But these queries can become long and hard to write. Fortunately, you can replace label with l and everything with still work fine. The previous query will become: l:inbox l:unread.

If you still think the query is too long, Gmail has shortcuts for the special labels.

^b chats
^f sent mail
^i inbox
^k trash
^r draft
^s spam
^t starred messages
^u unread mail

That means our query could become: l:^i l:^u. What about all the unread messages that aren't in the inbox? Search for: -l:^i l:^u.


  1. Those last bits definitely look like smileys :)

  2. Nice! I was looking for that. But why not make it a special button in gmail? Would be convenient...

  3. wouldn't it be nice to have a grease monkey script to create my own labels with those shortcuts? Is it possible??

  4. You can create filter and enter that shortcut in "Has the words" field.

  5. :( you should have posted this a week ago. Because last week only I traversed thru 100s of pages in my inbox to select and mark-as-read over 80 unread mails scattered thruout the inbox.

    l:^u will be my lifesaver :)

    Note: This is the ONLY way to list out unread mails in Gmail!

  6. > Note: This is the ONLY way to list out unread mails in Gmail!

    No, it is not. You can use "label:unread" or simply "is:unread", or even "-is:read".

  7. You must admit that l:^u is the shortest query that shows the unread messages in Gmail.

  8. There is no way to create a label which contains all the unread items.

    I tried creating a filter which has label:unread in the "Has the word" field, but it doesn't get updated once I read that item.

    Is there any workaround?


  9. Yes, there is. Go to Settings and enable QuickLinks in the Labs tab, then click on "Save Changes". Search for label:unread using Gmail and then click on "Add Quick Link". Enter a title for the bookmark, for example "Unread mail". You're not creating a new label, just an easily-accessible shortcut to the built-in unread label.

  10. Why suddenly the LABEL's (L) shortcut is not working in GMail ..?

  11. I can't get -label:Mylabelname to work. I want to see all the messages in the inbox that don't have a particular label. How can I do that?

  12. What would really be nice is the ability to make it a label as opposed to a quick link. While I use the quick link in a desktop situation, I can't via the mobile gmail app. So, I have to search for unread every time. PAIN - to say the least.

    Having unread as a label would enable me to add it to my views in the gmail application to simply click and view. (no searching or typing the search string required). Any thoughts on that?

  13. How do you get the ^ ? I can't find the keyboard combination


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