Finding Gmail Messages with No Label

Let’s say you like to organize your GMail messages by label, but sometimes you have emails that don’t have labels and you want to find them and either categorize them or delete them or whatever. It took me some looking around to figure out how to do this, and I posted my method and it worked pretty well, but it didn’t work for everyone and GMail features evolved and other methods became available. This page gets a fair number of views some years later and a lot of people have contributed. I was adding updates to the top so people didn’t have to read all the comments, but even that is starting to get confusing, so here’s the quick and dirty methods for finding unlabelled GMail messages. I try to credit and thank everyone in the updates, but I’m simplifying it here for quick reading.

If you want to understand what these filters mean, how we came up with them, or how to use them, scroll down for the original article which gives all the practical and theoretical background on custom Gmail filters.

Quick Version: GMail Filters for Finding Unlabeled Messages

The best method currently seems to be to exclude anything that has custom labels or one of the standard built-in labels as follows (thanks Tony Franks for the comment from 2013-07-01):

-has:userlabels -in:sent -in:chat -in:draft -in:inbox

If that doesn’t work, you can try a method JonG posted on 2013-01-14. Unfortunately that method seems to be flaky for many people and has never worked at all for me, but it does work for others:

has:nouserlabels -in:sent -in:chat -in:draft -in:inbox

My original method is more labor-intensive, but works reliably since it doesn’t really depend on any tags with special meaning. The key is that you can combine single-word labels in braces, but multi-word labels seem to need their own entry with the spaces replaces with dashes, like so:

-label:{label1 label2} -label:label-three -label:label-four -in:sent -in:chat -in:inbox

With all methods, Danimal suggests turning off covnersation mode (threaded conversations) as that can make things confusing. I like to keep it on because I catch more messages, but it depends on what you want. For me, if any message in the thread is labelled, that’s good enough. But if you want to find not unlabelled threads, but all unlabeled individual messages, then you need to do as Danimal says.

Finally, if all else fails, you can use this roundabout method from Federico (comment from 2013-06-08):

  • First search for every message that HAS a label (has:userlabels)
  • Label ALL of the results with a new “LABELED” label (or whatever you want)
  • Now search for has:nouserlabels
  • BUM, you got them!
  • Delete your “LABELED” label.

Details: Understanding GMail Filters

I’ve been experimenting more with Gmail after my disappointing Zimbra experience. Anyway, aside from Gmail not having a decent way to delete a message without get kicked back to the message list (FIXED: this is now an option under Settings), there is also the annoying fact that in Gmail there’s no button to just view unlabeled messages. The Google people no doubt think that I’ll just search and find the messages I want and locate the relevant message. But as the great Donald Rumsfeld said, there are known unknowns (I can search for those) and unknown unknowns like the credit card bill that I totally forgot about and which I could search for if I knew I had forgotten about it, but then I wouldn’t have forgotten about it and wouldn’t need to search for it now would I?

Update: What I Do Now (2013)

Before I tell you how to find unlabeled email, I have to say that I eventually just gave up. It was too much of a hassle to keep my shortcut updated as I changed labels not to mention trying to make sure everything has a label. What I do now is try to be diligent about adding important items to my filters so they get automatically labelled. If it’s a bill or an essential business email, I filter it to add a label that makes sense. So everything sent to the email address for my vacation rental in Yosemite gets copied and forwarded to my GMail account. It also gets a label “Rental”. When I’m in a hurry and think I have to catch up on rental business, I just view email with the Rental label. Once it’s processed, it goes into one of the nested labels under Rental (Awaiting Reply, Booked, Non-Customer, Former Customer, Admin). That makes a sort of mini inbox for the rental that I can deal with effectively, without getting sidetracked by notifications from Facebook. Then when I need to find something, I just use search. Yes, I have been assimilated by the Gorg!

Shortcut for Finding Gmail Message with No Label

So the way you find emails that have fallen through the cracks in Gmail is simple, but oh so cumbersome. You have to do a negative search for every label you use. That is, you look for messages not labelled Labe1 and not labelled Label2 and so on. There’s no way around this.

If you do this more than once, typing in all your labels in the arcane syntax Gmail uses gets old. So what I’ve done is simply create a shortcut, which you can do quite easily and it works up until you add a new label, but then it’s just a simple matter of editing the bookmark.

So first, you have a full syntax and a compact syntax and, as far as I can tell, the compact syntax does not work with multi-word labels. So if you have Gmail labels with spaces in them, you have to use the full syntax and substitute hyphens for spaces.

So let’s say you have the following labels:

  1. Label1
  2. Label2
  3. Label Three
  4. Label Four

First, we want to exclude all messages that have those labels. To exclude a labeled message from your search, you use the -label: operator.

For the single-word labels, we’ll use the short syntax. This allows you to group terms within curly braces without repeating the “-label:” qualifier. So it looks like this in your Gmail search box

-label:{Label1 Label2}

Simple as that. Now for the multi-word labels, in theory as I read the instructions, I merely need to add quotes around the terms, and they should work within the curly braces. Not so for me. If you create a filter and look at the test search, that’s not how it does it either. So based on that, what I found worked for Label Three and Label Four was:

-label:Label-Three -label:Label-Four

So the entire search, with both single-word labels and multi-word labels, looks like this

-label:{Label1 Label2} -label:Label-Three -label:Label-Four

Now, that will create a URL that looks like this

Now you can save this as a bookmark or shortcut and instantly access your unlabeled Gmail messages. Sometimes Gmail will add a zx parameter to your URL that looks like zx=afeoasdxou3swf that is just a random string so that if your ISP is caching data, it will see this as a unique URL and won’t give you cached data for Gmail. Since this effectively creates a single-use URL, if that appears in your URL when you do your search, you should edit it out before saving the bookmark.

Note that if a message has two labels and you are only excluding one of those, the message will still show up in your search. So if you have something labeled Label1 and Label5, and you use the search above, it will still show up in your results.

Also, sometimes a conversation that is labeled shows up unless you relabel the entire conversation, because one message is unlabeled or is still in the Inbox or whatever. If you select the whole conversation in the list view and label it, that takes care of that issue.

Labelling Your Backlog

As per Karen’s suggestion below (see comments), if you’re trying to identify your unlabelled email just once and go label your back log, then you can view All, apply a label like “NoLabel” to it (or move them all to the Inbox as Karen suggests, but my Inbox is always overfull to start with and it stresses me out to much to put processed mail back in the Inbox… makes me feel like I’m making negative progress!).

Now go into ever other label folder, select all and remove the “NoLabel” label. Now if you go to the NoLabel folder, you have all your unlabelled email. If you’re going to do this on any kind of regular basis, though, you’ll want a bookmark as described above, otherwise this will be pretty time-consuming.

Dealing with Child Labels and Labels with Special Characters

James asks, what happens if you have special characters like underscores or slashes in your Gmail labels? If you are using the Gmail sublabel feature, you will automatically have slashes, because Gmail separates parent and child labels with slashes (look at Gmail in the Basic HTML mode and you can readily see this). First off, most special characters are just entered as such. Slashes must be entered as hyphens.

So let’s say you have the following setup:

  • Main
    • test1
      • test2
    • test3/test4
    • test*,:-test-./test

In that case, your search syntax will be, respectively

  • -label:main
  • -label:main-test1-test2
  • -label:main-test3-test4
  • -label:main-test*,:-test-.-test

Note that a label called “test3/test4” which is a single label, behaves exactly the same as test2 which is a child label of test1. And for anything except slashes and spaces, which are both replaced by hyphens, you just use the character as it appears in the label. That’s even true for the colon, even though it’s part of the search syntax.

77 Responses to “Finding Gmail Messages with No Label”

  1. I can’t get your solution to work. I have been trying all night and I can’t get Gmail to subtract more than two labels from the search. If I subtract the labels “friends” and “family” then no matter what netative search I put next, it will not recognize it and come up with a proper list. I could live without being able to subtract all the labels, but there are three major labels I use, and in order to find the unlabeled messages, even by hand, I need to remove these other three labels. It’s very frustrating.

  2. Sorry Jill. It can be frustrating and maybe I haven’t explained it well. It took me a lot of tries.

    If you post your list of labels, I’ll see if I can’t get it to work right.

  3. Thanks for the tip. Just what I was looking for.

    But regarding:

    “aside from Gmail not having a decent way to delete a message without get kicked back to the message list (instead of just going to the next message like every other email client on the planet”

    Just for the record, there are people (at least one?) that prefers this behavior. I selectively scan and read my inbox, leaving unread the messages I may not want to deal with at the moment. Many (most) of these can be determined just from sender/subject.

  4. Thanks Matt. I’m sure you’re not the only one as the designers must really like it this way and my nephew thinks the gmail interface is near perfect. I would just love it have it as a setting (i.e. action to take on deleting current message).

    I hope the unlabelled message thing works for you. It didn’t work for Jill and I tried to help by email, but I just couldn’t get my method to work for her.

  5. Thanks a million for this it really helps.

    What I found annoying was that it was also bringing in all my chat logs. I found starting the search queury with in:inbox solved this.

    So my search looks like this:
    in:inbox -{label:Label1 Label2 Label-three}

  6. thanks!

    I also remember there being a greasy monkey script that would add a shortcut to your list of labels and call it “unlabeled”, clicking it would lists all the unlabeled messages.

  7. Tom – thanks for the post. I was initially hestitant to do it as i had 50+ labels and finally tried it. It worked as expected.

  8. Thanks for this!

    You might be interested to know that slashes (/) for subfolders also get replaced by hyphens, so to exclude ‘top folder/subfolder’ you would use ‘-label:top-folder-subfolder.

    Square brackets don’t get changed though, so to exclude ‘[Imap]/Drafts’, you would use ‘-label:[imap]-drafts’.

  9. If I’m reading your lament about deleting messages correctly, and you actually mean archive, try using “[” while in a message. It archives the messages and goes to the next one. If not, never mind.

  10. No Sam, I don’t mean archive. Archive is Archive and Delete is Delete.

    I don’t want to archive spam mails, non-spam mass mails about Home Depot’s Labor Day sale, one-line mails from a friend where someone says “Okay, Sunday at 7:30 then” which are useless come 7:31 on Sunday. I suppose I would also delete embarrassing and incriminating emails if I had any of those, though I try to not write those in the first place!

    Ideally, I want messages that only have some information that I could conceivably care about cluttering up my archives.

  11. The trick to find ONLY the unlabeled mails (neither those emails who are in a conversation)

    The method is the following:

    Step 1: Seach for mails containing all labels using the OR-operator (ie. label:label1 OR label:label2 OR label:label3 etc.)

    Step 2: Star al these conversations.

    Step 3: create a new label (ie. LABELWITHOUTSTAR)

    Step 4: Seacht for conversations without a star ( -is:starred)

    Step 5: Select al these conversations and apply the LABELWITHOUTSTAR label.


  12. Hey Wander,
    Thanks for the tip.

    The problem with that is that you have to do it every time, and then you also have to use stars that way.

    Once you set it up, my method gives you one-click access to all those messages without any other steps.

    Which method you prefer would depend on how often you do this. If you do it a lot, it’s worth the overhead to set up my method. If you just want to do it rarely, then your method is probably less effort overall.

  13. The way not to do it every time and make only unlabelled messages show:
    1 – Create a label and call it UNLABELLED for instance
    2 – Create a filter with the following code in the “Doesn’t have:” space:
    l:label1 OR l:label2 OR l:label3 OR …. OR from:me OR in:chat (replacing label1, label2, etc with the names of your labels)
    3 – Click “Next step >>” and in “Apply the label:” choose UNLABELLED or whatever name you’ve given to your new label in step 1.
    4 – Click “create filter”.
    5 – From now on to see only unlabelled messages click on UNLABELLED label.

  14. Hmm, maybe I’m missing something, but I think I have a better solution :-) (Ok, I’m probably totally missing something, but here goes)

    The Skip-Inbox-mehod.

    The idea is do this all “backwards”: Let *no* email with a Label applied end up in the “Inbox”. The Inbox will be that interesting place where you notice those unknown unknowns — only *unlabeled* messages end up there.

    To emulate the functionality of the regular Inbox (now that we’ve sort of “ruined” the real one), use a new Label called TheBigInbox.. and a create a new Filter that will apply that Label to *all* messages:

    * Matches: from:(*)
    * Do this: Apply label “TheBigInbox”

    Why is this better? Well, it’s *easier* to tell each Filter (that applies a Label) to “Skip Inbox” than to enumerate all Labels (handling spaces and using curly braces and whatnot) in a query. And when a new Filter (Label) is created, there is no need to edit that cumbersome search query with curly braces and all, just tell it to “Skip Inbox” — that’s all! This should be more maintainable, right? Two examples:

    == The following filters are applied to all incoming mail: ==

    * Matches: from:([email protected])
    * Do this: Skip Inbox, Apply label “Donald”

    * Matches: list:””
    * Do this: Skip Inbox, Apply label “known-unknowns”


    – Hugo

  15. does anyone know if there’s a wildcard operator? ALL of my labels start with “INBOX\” so a wildcard would solve my problems, although that doesn’t seem to be working when I try it.


  16. Matt –

    yes! finally able to search for unlabeled mail! thanks a lot.
    also used your information to be able to create quick searches that search for labeled mail in inbox (so I can archive them quickly) and all sorts of other useful tricks

    thanks a lot again.

    best regards

  17. Tom,

    sorry, accidentally called you Matt – again. thanks for the info.

    best regards

  18. Steve, I don’t think there’s a wildcard. At least not to my knowledge. It would be nice if they just added a system label like the “Unread” label


    Will all show unread messages. Why not a l:nolabel system tag?

    SFD – no problem. Matt. Tom. Hey. I’ll answer to anything that’s not insulting.

  19. I don’t believe anyone has addressed the problem of having conversations that still show up when some of the messages within those conversations match the search. The solution is relatively simple, as long as you don’t have a ton of labels and/or filters: Select all conversations in a given label, then move them to a new label. This will label ALL messages within each conversation. Then the search works perfectly as given.

  20. Following on from Bill’s comment above about some still showing up, I had the same issue and it seems to be that the search only works if the label was applied to the first message in a conversation.
    What I did was unlabel them and apply the label again.

  21. So far, the emails within emails that don’t have labels are messing me up, as it’s bringing all those forward even though single emails have labels.

    It seems that Andre’s method is going to work for me… So far, so good, anyway. :)

    “The way not to do it every time and make only unlabelled messages show:
    1 – Create a label and call it UNLABELLED for instance
    2 – Create a filter with the following code in the “Doesn’t have:” space:
    l:label1 OR l:label2 OR l:label3 OR …. OR from:me OR in:chat (replacing label1, label2, etc with the names of your labels)
    3 – Click “Next step >>” and in “Apply the label:” choose UNLABELLED or whatever name you’ve given to your new label in step 1.
    4 – Click “create filter”.
    5 – From now on to see only unlabelled messages click on UNLABELLED label.”

  22. Oh plus… what I really want (and Andre’s method seems to solve) is to give a no_label label too all incoming mail that is not assigned another one of my labels. I don’t really want a rule for every single email that I get.

    This would be contingent upon Gmail applying the other labels first, and then applying the no_label label last, after checking for any other labels. I don’t know how gmail’s logic works, but so far, so good.

  23. Well, I’m glad you have a semi-workable solution. I don’t think you’ll ever get GMail to follow complex order of operation rules whereby you check all other rules and if it doesn’t have a label yet, it gets “no label” Or at least it will take a long time given that you can’t even have multiple signatures yet!

  24. Thanks it works although it was time taking as i had lots of labels in my gmail, but thanks it works

  25. Yeah, I have a ton of labels, so it is a hassle. Google has been making a lot of enhancements lately, so we can hope for an integrated solution.

  26. A fine read (Your headline, ‘
    Find All Unlabeled Gmail Messages :Raised By Turtles’ made me giggle) and some quite interesting points made. The fact that merely a modest percentage of people will likely be affected to my mind doesn’t cause the measures used here.

  27. Thanks for this. I had a lot of labels so I shortened the process of creating the search string by copying and pasting them all into Excel, sorting and deleting non-label items, then pasting just the labels into Word and changing the end-of-line characters to spaces. Then I had to remember that any labels for sub-folders have to be written using the “full” syntax. THEN I had to remember to switch Conversation view off. But ultimately it worked great! How absurd that Gmail does not already include a simple “Search for unlabeled messages” button!

  28. agnieszka

    after pasting my labels into excel, i discovered i have 195 of them. it was easy enough to apply the syntax to in excel, but the clincher here was that the search field in gmail did not accept that lengthy a string.

    got to less than half-way. seems the character limit in the search field is approx 1,891.

    ho hum.

    i wish it just gave you a button you could press! maybe it’s going to be in an upcoming lab. :-/

  29. Sorry it took so long to respond….

    Thanks for the heads up on the 1891 character limit. That’s helpful.

    Given that there are 30 comments on this page, that indicates some interest, and I bet there will be some Labs feature for this at some point.

  30. Hey you should really check out gmail labs
    Autoadvance and QuickLinks

  31. Just use gmail archive function to achive this-
    Step1: click on each lable to select all mails inside it and archive all the mails
    Step2: go back to inbox and you will not see labelled mails, however they can be viewed when you click on the lable link or when you click All Mails lable

  32. Thanks Saurabh – I’ll check them out.

    Javed, thanks for the idea, but the problem is when I want to look at unlabelled emails that I have already archived. I archive all emails as I process them. I could create a label called “misc” and label every single email, but that’s a hassle.

  33. Hi All

    How about this:

    1) select ALLMAIL, move all to inbox
    2) go into each label, select all in that label and ARCHIVE

    now the inbox should only contain emails that don’t have a label.

    This works for me in the short term to sort all my old “archived” emails that previously had no label.

    hope it helps someone.

    Karen :)

  34. What about labels with more than spaces…

    For Example:

    __Purchases/2010/Tax Deductible (Has underscores and multiple slashes for path)
    [Imap]/Sent (brackets and slash for path)
    Clients/Finished (Just a slash to denote path)
    Jobs – Applied (spaces and a hyphen)


  35. @Karen
    You can do that, but it’s a bit of hassle to do that every time. You could also look at all mail, add a label called “Nolabel” and then go to every label, select all and remove the “Nolabel” tag and then everything in the Nolabel box has… well only one label, the “nolabel” label.

    Slashes are special and are replaced with a “-” so for example, if I have


    the search label is “websites-test1-test2”

    All the other characters are just used as they are.

  36. Thanks for the tip! Works for me!

    I’ve also found that when you have two or more words making up a label, you can use the hyphen (“-“) for the space and get the proper results, for example:

    -label:{Priority-One Priority-Two}

    would bring up all messages that do not have these labels:
    Priority One
    Priority Two

    Thanks again!

  37. Scott W

    Here’s another handy setup based on your helpful posts:

    1) Near the “Search” button, click on “Show search options”
    2) Fill in the “From” field with -Your-Name, to exclude items from “Sent Mail”
    3) Fill in the “Doesn’t have” field with “l:Inbox OR l:label1 OR l:label2 OR …”
    4) Click the “Search Mail” button to test

    When the search is satisfactory:

    5) Select the whole URL field in your browser
    6) Click the “Compose Mail” button, paste the URL into the body of the message, add a suitable title, and mail this to yourself.

    Now you have an email that you can archive with a clever title you can remember. Find the mail, click on the URL within and the search is re-created whenever you need it. As an email message, this follows to all platforms, not just your present browser.

    Also, when you click the URL, the original search form is re-created, and you can revise the search with new labels when needed.


  38. Don.a.dio

    contact synchronization is possible through Thunderbird using Dropbox by creating symlinks to the impab files. If you also use Apple’s Address Book, it now syncs with Gmail and TB.

  39. Excluding one label from a search fails when viewing the second page. ie: search results 1-20 do have the label excluded, but when I click the right arrow to view search results 21-30, the list includes emails with the excluded label.


  40. Hey Dan,

    I’m not really sure. For me it works roughly as expected. It will progress to the next page (21 to 40 of 172) without issue except that the “of” part keeps changing until it finally calculates the true result and switches to “21 to 40 of many”.

    To be honest , though, I’ve finally thrown in the towel and just use search to locate email.

  41. Jani,
    I tried that. It didn’t work for me.

    While the idea of “labels” is somewhat innovative, it is poorly implemented. Please fix this!

  42. Jani, that doesn’t work for me either. It shows all kinds of mail, with and without labels.

    Brett, aside from the issue with not being able to see items with no labels, what else is wrong?

  43. Steven Stern

    This doesn’t work for me:

    -from:([email protected]) -{l:inbox l:label1 l:label2 l:label3 l:lable4 l:label5 l:label6}

    I seem to be picking up sent mail.

  44. Steven Stern

    Thanks! I’m getting close with -is:sent and -l:Sent

  45. Anonymous

    Hello gyus,

    i have a label which is called: appl

    and i want the search to show me the inbox without the massages with the label appl.
    So I typed in:
    in:inbox -(label:appl)
    and it doesnot work.

    i tried this either:
    in:inbox -label:appl

    and it doesnot work too.

    any suggestions???

  46. It works fine for me. For example, I have a label YWPHI and I have one item in my inbox with that label.

    in:inbox -l:YWPHI

    shows me the contents of my inbox, minus items labelled YWPHI.

  47. Valerie

    Alternatively, you could set up all of your labels to skip the Inbox. Then your inbox becomes the area for unlabeled emails. The “All Mail” area then becomes what your Inbox used to be.

  48. Valerie – that’s pretty brilliant! Definitely a good alternative!

  49. I’ma afraid this does not work for me at all. The method works when I have four or less labels in the string, but when I add further labels the search returns a seemingly random set of messages many of which have labels that I have excluded. I have checked the syntax meticulously and tried it in both shortened and full forms.

  50. Hmmm… Not sure what could be the cause. One thing to watch for is if you have a message with multiple labels, it makes the filters a lot more complex, because even if you tell it not show messages with labelA, if a message has labelA and labelB, your filter will still show it based on labelB.

    Could it be something like that?

  51. I’m starting to try another approach: to use a filter to set a label to all incoming mail (I use the label “ND” for “Not-Done”).

    When I manually label something I also remove the “ND”, so the former “unlabeled” messages now are the “ND” ones. Forgetting the cleaning of the “ND” label its not a big issue because delimiting searches using labels is easy, and you can do a clean up from time to time.

    The filter simply labels all incoming mail that does not match something highly improbable (e.g. “hapevgdtaiahdg”).

  52. yep, all you need is this now:

    has:nouserlabels -in:Sent -in:Chat -in:Draft -in:Inbox

  53. Hi JonG,

    Thanks for the tip. Interesting. I searched my mail for the word “water” just because I knew I had an unlabelled message with that in the title. And mostly your search worked – it filtered most, but not all, mail that had labels applied. The mail with labels that came through seemed to have no rhyme or reason, just the odd random label. But out of 169 results, only about five had labels and without your has:nouserlabels there were 280 results. So it seems to mostly work. Thanks!

  54. I think you are saying that “has:nouserlabels -in:Sent -in:Chat -in:Draft -in:Inbox” will find all unlabeled emails in your inbox. I added some mails without labels and it does not find them :-(

    If I have to list al my labels, that would be a pain since there are so many!

  55. Anonymous

    I have hundreds of labels. 250,000 emails. Any better solutions ?

  56. alexandra

    Way late to the game, but this was still the first result when I tried to answer this. Turns out gmail finally caught on and got a solution:


    works beautifully. finally!

  57. Danimal had a useful comment that I someone deleted, probably while bulk deleting spam comments. Anyway, it went like this:

    “In order to get this to work correctly, you must turn conversation mode off.

    Gmail puts labels on each individual piece of mail, this sometimes skips certain emails within a conversation.”

  58. Federico

    The problem with has:nouserlabels is that it might show conversations where one of the messages doesn’t have a label, even if the others do.

    You might want to try this:

    – First search for every message that HAS a label (has:userlabels)
    – Label ALL of the results with a new “LABELED” label (or whatever you want)
    – Now search for has:nouserlabels
    – BUM, you got them!
    – Delete your “LABELED” label.

  59. I found your original script:

    has:nouserlabels -in:Sent -in:Chat -in:Draft -in:Inbox

    was quite flaky, but a little tweak:

    -has:userlabels -in:sent -in:chat -in:draft -in:inbox

    does the job very easily

  60. I tried the original method as well as Tony’s method on 6 accounts today, 2 regular GMail / Google accounts and 4 accounts under different Google Apps for Business accounts – both produced the exact same results.

    I’, not sure about this, but country specific Google URLs, like for Google India – do they have country specific URLs for GMail too? I just tried, but was redirected (after logging in) to, so I’m not sure if that would be a factor or not.

    At any rate. I keep finding different recipes for Thunderbird for use with GMail, and invariably one particular setting that I change, having to do with email deletion, always creates these ghost entries that are not actually deleted, but hang around cluttering up my All Mail when they should, in fact, be deleted. This article is a lifesaver for me – I used to try to do it the old fashioned way – but I’m too old for hunt and peck in All Mail….

    Thanks for this article and the revisits / updates.

  61. Oh, gawd – thank you for this. I’ve been looking for the way to search for unlabeled items for YEARS.

  62. Glad it helped. Take some time to read the comments too – I’ve tried to fold suggestions from the comments into the text, but there are some gems in the comments that folks have contributed that might be of use!

  63. e-zrider

    TY been looking for this for years but i had added a twist in that the label was based on an email and then using the has:nouserlabels i was finally able to find the non labels items within an email. TY!!!

  64. For those of us that can’t get -has:userlabels to work….Frederico’s solution worked like a charm!

  65. Nice, thank you! Especially the Federico’s solution from June 18, 2013.

    The tricky thing is that in a conversation, there can be messages with or without a label, so the conversation will be shown in both has:userlabel and -has:userlabel. This happens AFAIK when you assign a label to a conversation and the conversation then continues, so new messages are not assigned with the same label in advance.

    So the Federico’s method is IMHO the only correct and straightforward solution for vast number of messages/conversations. Good job!

  66. tisna

    thanks for sharing.
    it helps me find unlabel email back to inbox

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