Does this scenario sound familiar? You’ve been reading an important email in Gmail when you are distracted by your phone ringing, your dog barking, a colleague needing your attention…. Something that takes your mind away from your computer screen. You attend to the matter at hand, come back to your screen to read the email and it’s gone! What? You know it was there, it was important but you just can’t find it. You check the bin folder, not there. You didn’t move the email to a folder so what is going on?
Gmail Emails and Labels
When you open an email in Gmail, it will almost always have something called a label.
Labels are a fundamental part of how Gmail keeps track of your email messages.
When you receive an email in your inbox, it is automatically given a label of “Inbox”.
If you move an email to a folder, it is given a label that matches the name of the folder. You can create your own labels and then add them and remove them from an email. Using labels gives you a huge amount of flexibility to group emails in as many ways as you need.
Email with No Labels
And that is where the rub is. Without realising it, you can remove all the labels from an email and this is when it can look like it has disappeared from your Gmail account. If you inadvertently click on the archive button for an email,
this will remove all the labels for an email. If you are reading an email in your inbox and you inadvertently click on the x icon for the inbox label
this will have the same effect.
So where does an email go that has no labels?
The All Mail Folder
Enter the “All Mail” folder. If you scroll down the list of folders that are visible in the left-hand side of the Gmail window, click on the line that reads “More”.
This will open up a list of extra folders and one of those will be “All Mail”.
Click on this link and you will see all the emails for your Gmail account. This is the one location where you will be able to find ALL your emails, even those that you cannot see in your Inbox. To return an email that you thought was lost to your inbox, click on the email to open it and then click on this icon.
This will add the “Inbox” link to the email and, hey presto, the email will be visible in your inbox again!