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How to select multiple emails in Gmail

Hello keyboard shortcuts, my old friend.....
September 8, 2022
Gmail on tablet stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you need to select multiple emails in Gmail all at once, whether to mass-delete them, mass-archive them, or move them en-masse to a new label, keyboard shortcuts will be your new best friend. Of course, if you only have, say, five to select, it would be faster just clicking or tapping each one. But if you have twenty emails? Thirty? Then there’s a faster way to select them all.

Read more: How to recover deleted emails from Gmail


To select multiple emails in Gmail mobile, you can only long-press on the first email, and then individually tap the others. There are no keyboard shortcuts to choose lots of emails simultaneously. So for selecting large amounts of emails, go to the desktop, where you can use the shift key and your mouse/trackpad.


How to select multiple emails in Gmail (Android and iOS)

If you’re on the Gmail app for either Android or iOS, selecting multiple emails comes down to only using your finger. Long-press the first email, and when a tick appears on the left, tap the other ones you want to select. You can then press the icons at the top to archive them, bin them, or hit the More menu to add a label to them.

gmail mobile email select

How to select multiple emails in Gmail (desktop)

The desktop version of Gmail is where you can select larger numbers of emails, using desktop shortcuts. You can either select all the ones visible on the screen, or select emails based on a certain label, Gmail status, or keyword.

Start by getting the emails you want to select up on the screen. You can search in the Gmail search box by keyword, click a label on the left-hand side, or select emails based on what status they are in Gmail.

gmail select status

Or use a keyboard shortcut to bring up one of these Gmail statuses.

  • All: keyboard shortcut *a
  • None: keyboard shortcut *n
  • Read: keyboard shortcut *r
  • Unread: keyboard shortcut *u
  • Starred: keyboard shortcut *s
  • Unstarred: keyboard shortcut *t

You can also choose a label, to have all emails matching that label come up.

gmail select label

Once you have the selected emails on the screen, you can first select them all, if you wish. To do this, tick the box at the top-left,  next to Refresh. This immediately highlights everything on the page. It will then show a link asking if you want to select all the emails matching your selection. Click that to select everything.

gmail email select 2

If you have everything on the page highlighted, but you wish to deselect an email (or more), just tick the box to the left of the email you wish to deselect. It will then highlight the rest, but not the one you just chose.

gmail email deselect

Another way to highlight and select emails on the Gmail page is to click the tick box for the first email (usually the one at the very top).

gmail select first email

Now, holding the shift key on your keyboard, click the last email on the page you want to select. Doing this will make everything in between automatically highlighted.

gmail select last email

Whichever way you do it, once you have the selected emails ready on the screen, options will appear at the top of the email window.

  • Archive, or keyboard shortcut e
  • Mark as spam, or keyboard shortcut !
  • Delete, or keyboard shortcut #
  • Mark as unread, or keyboard shortcut U
  • Snooze, or keyboard shortcut b
  • Add to tasks, or keyboard shortcut T
  • Move to, or keyboard shortcut v
  • Labels, or keyboard shortcut l

There’s also the More menu (the keyboard shortcut to open it is a full stop). There, you’ll find further options for your selected emails.

  • Mark as important, or keyboard shortcut +
  • Add star, or keyboard shortcut s
  • Filter messages like these, or keyboard shortcut gf
  • Mute, or keyboard shortcut m
  • Forward as attachment, or keyboard shortcut f

Read more: How to sort emails by sender, size, date, and unread in Gmail