Gmail Tips

Sort email by oldest first Click for larger image and screenshots

Sort email by oldest first

When working in an email list it is often useful to start at the oldest email first. You can do this by clicking on the email count and selecting 'Oldest'.

Select any email list and, where you have an accurate count (eg 1 - 50 of 500), hover on the count to see a drop down showing the options Newest and Oldest. This will sort the email in that list by date - newest first, or oldest first.

Where there is only a estimate (eg 1 -50 of many) it is an indication that GMail has not yet counted all your email in the chosen list and the sort option will be greyed out.

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Comments/Feedback

Brenden McEwan
Poorly worded title. This is not sorting by oldest to newest. It is taking you to Ћ page with Ћ oldest email.
03 August at 06:02 Reply to this comment
Nestor Albuquerque
I can't understand Google's devs' logic ... this feature is not available in the Inbox (options are greyed), only if I select "All mail", for example.
12 July at 22:51 Reply to this comment
Naresh Rana Right now its available I guess as for the last update of gmail features.. not sure why it was not available previous. Cool thing to work out! Cheers! http://www.agileinfoways.com
25 July at 05:48
Obadiah Robert Robinson, Jr
I tried that, all it does is make the last page first, but the oldest emails are still on the bottom. If I click the bottom email on the list then delete it instead of opening the next oldest email it brings me back to the list again. I want the oldest CONSECUTIVE email on top of the list.
28 June at 03:06 Reply to this comment
Obadiah Robert Robinson, Jr
I tried that, all it does is make the last page first, but the oldest emails are still on the bottom. If I click the bottom email on the list then delete it instead of opening the next oldest email it brings me back to the list again. I want the oldest CONSECUTIVE email on top of the list.
28 June at 03:05 Reply to this comment
Ian Mayman
Both are greyed out for me too - and I only have 12 emails in the Inbox, not "...of many". In fact I count them to confirm Gmail is correct in the number, but it is still all greyed out. If you have or receive a lot of emails, I recommend using "Mailbox" app.
01 June at 17:36 Reply to this comment
Robert Morrison
If you have 10,000 sent mails how can you can quickly go to number 10,000 and go backwards. Thank you for an answer.
25 May at 12:08 Reply to this comment
Kathleen Cervini
Cannot change from Newest to Oldest because options are gray. Now what can I do?? Very frustrating.
07 May at 05:35 Reply to this comment
Yvonne Fitzpatrick
Livid now. I want to see Oldest to Newest and it will not sort as specified. I have 13 gmail accounts and this is unacceptable. What is the easy fix. I need to keep track of conversations, not see the "last" first and my hover does not result in the options stated. Very frustrating to not be able to simply click to reverse order. I am an extremely power user of multiple systems, but if GMail makes it this difficult I will simply pull everything off of Google and pick another provider. Please advise. ~Yvonne Fitzpatrick fitzpaty7@gmail.com
09 April at 03:58 Reply to this comment
Cody Maurer
These options are both grayed out for me. Why is this?
20 March at 22:26 Reply to this comment
Peter Codner
where do i find that option?
29 November at 14:21 Reply to this comment
Arthur Vann
How can I do a search for a name, and ask it to search the oldest occurence of that name first??? Arthur.vann@gmail.com
28 November at 14:17 Reply to this comment
Mary Faulkner
I have over 21,000 e-mails.....what is the simipliest way to delete these in my account?
23 October at 04:29 Reply to this comment
Mary Faulkner
I have over 21,000 e-mails.....what is the simipliest way to delete these in my account?
23 October at 04:29 Reply to this comment
Janardhana V
After searching a particular mail to delete,how to search oldest in that...pls suggest me as soon as possible....
18 October at 07:06 Reply to this comment
Michael Yarbrough
When I hovered over the count, neither choice was highlighted or available for selection. How do I make the either "oldest" or "newest" available?
30 September at 15:26 Reply to this comment
Zia Ahmed
I prefer the oldest/original version of gmail. You made me go for the newer version by not enabling me to open my gmail account till I opted for the newer version. This is highly irregular ! I like the oldest version where firstly when I compose a new mail, the entire page the size of the screen opens up as opposed to what you have now where the page opens in a small little right down corner! Secondly when I look...for instance...all my 'A' contact email ids, just 4 or 5 show up as opposed to all my contacts with alphabet 'A' showing up in the earlier version. So on and so forth for all other alphabets. Request you to kindly re-instate the oldest / original version of the gmail account ( zeeyman@gmail.com ). Thanks Zia
27 September at 08:12 Reply to this comment
Bill Callahan
It's funny that they let you choose the order on a page by page basis, but not within the page. I guess I could use Thunderbird to view them instead.
03 September at 16:54 Reply to this comment
Rodney Dunn
I do wish they would change this also. My preferred way is "newest at the bottom" regardless of how many are in my Inbox.
22 July at 17:34 Reply to this comment
Shana Tarter
Has anyone found a workaround to the comment below? Mark Williams Good spot, that is correct. It seems Google feel you don't need to sort if you can see all the email on a page. So, if you have the number of conversations set to 100, and the count is less than that you won't be able to sort. Set the number of conversations (in the General Tab) to 25 and you can sort a smaller list! It seems strange to me, maybe Google will fix this. 29 February at 10:05
26 February at 20:32 Reply to this comment
anne wood
clicking on "oldest" to see older emails only gets me back to April 2012. I have saved almost all my gmail since 2007 and had been able to get to it by going one page at a time. How do I access it with more ease?
29 January at 12:30 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams Hi Anne, I'm not sure whether the Oldest has a limit on how far back it goes - or whether it changes as Gmail indexes your search. But take a look at the tip we have on advanced searching for email - you can search around a set of dates so easily find email from 2007. gAppsTips
29 January at 13:35
Richard Bready
Doesn't seem to work for Inbox, which is the first place most people would like it to work. Options appear but are grayed out.
26 January at 06:40 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams Hi Richard, It does work for Inbox Classic. But it will only work for a view where there is a "full count" ie 1 of 18,000 would work but 1 of many would not. gAppsTips
29 January at 13:33
Attila Szab
Ohh I see, thanks Mark. So can I make a filter out of a search, that looks for the yellow sticks(important mail) and whats in my inbox (not archived)? Will sort work on that search? If so what would that search string look like? Thanks a lot, Attila
15 August at 14:45 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams The search string would be "in:inbox is:important" - but I'm not sure whether you can then sort by Oldest - it depends how many emails you have in your inbox that are designated as important. The sort only works on accurate counts. Try it and let me know if it sorts.
15 August at 15:01
Attila Szab
The tip only works if you are using the standard inbox versions. It does not work on the priority version. Any idea?
15 August at 11:55 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams Hi Attila, The sort will only work where you have a "count" - ie where you have an email lookup. Priority inbox is not a "count", it is a summary of recent emails - so there is unfortunately no way to sort. If you create a label or a search, you can then use this tip. gAppsTips
15 August at 12:04
Mischka Hughes
Both the Newest and Oldest options are greyed out form me unless I have more than 1 page of results in my list.
29 February at 09:59 Reply to this comment
Mark Williams Good spot, that is correct. It seems Google feel you don't need to sort if you can see all the email on a page. So, if you have the number of conversations set to 100, and the count is less than that you won't be able to sort. Set the number of conversations (in the General Tab) to 25 and you can sort a smaller list! It seems strange to me, maybe Google will fix this.
29 February at 10:05

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