How to Archive in Gmail

Last updated: January 26, 2017 - 11:06am EST

You know how people often use their attics to store things that they aren't planning on using any time soon but want to keep anyway, either because they might use them again someday, or else just for sentimental value? Think of the archiving feature of Gmail as its own version of an attic. You can use it to store old emails that you might need to look at again someday, without them cluttering up your inbox and making it hard to find emails and conversations that you need to keep an eye on right now.

How to Archive in Gmail

  1. Go to and log in. When you get to your main "Inbox" screen, find the conversation that contains the emails that you want to archive, and click anywhere on it (except for the three buttons on the left) to open it.

  2. Once you have the email conversation open, click the archive button () in the top menu to archive the conversation.

  3. To archive multiple conversations at once, go back to your main "Inbox" screen. Now, find the conversations that you want to archive, but don't open them. Instead, click the boxes next to each of them so that checkmarks appear. When you do this, you will notice that the top menu changes to look like it did when you had a single conversation open. Click the archive button () in the top menu, like before, to archive all of the conversations that you've selected at once.

How to Retrieve Archived Emails in Gmail

Okay, so you've archived a couple of emails, which means that they're out of your way for now. But what if you ever want to find one again because it has an important address or phone number in it? Fear not: there's an easy way to find your archived conversations, and even move them back to your Inbox if you need to do so.

  1. On the left-hand menu, click More.

  2. Now, click All Mail.

  3. You will notice that your conversations list now has labels for your conversations (if they didn't have labels already), telling you where each of your conversations are. Notice that the messages that are still in your inbox are labelled "Inbox," while those that were archived are not. This helps you keep track of which messages have been archived, sent to the trash, etc. Click anywhere on one of the archived conversations (but not on any of the three buttons to the left) to open it.

  4. You will notice there is a new option in the menu along the top of the screen. Click this option, Move to Inbox, to move an archived message back to your main inbox.

  5. You can also move multiple archived conversations at once back to your main inbox, in much the same way that you archived them from your main inbox. Go back to "All Mail", and click the boxes beside each conversation that you want to move back to your main inbox to put a check mark in them. Notice the menu across the top will change again. Click Move to Inbox to put all of the archived conversations that you selected back in your main inbox.

If you're ever having trouble finding emails that you've archived, using Gmail's "Search" function is a quick and easy way to find them.


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