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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gmail Inbox vs Archive

It seems there’s two different approaches to maintaining Gmails. One is to keep everything in the inbox; all mails will stack up, and those you still need to react on have the unread status (making them visible by their white background, and searchable using is:unread). The other approach is to immediately archive all mails you’ve dealt with so that you have a clean inbox. (In both approaches you can additional star messages you’d like to get back to later on, though it’s also easy to star too much and then never get back to it.)

The two approaches are different, with each having slight pros and cons in different areas, but both achieve similar effects in organizing your mails. However, some in a forum thread say that keeping your inbox rather clean (and letting things stack up in the archive instead) will help speed up Gmail. I switched to the “archive” approach yesterday to give it a try for some time, though I can’t make a clear conclusion what’s faster – it does seem a little faster, a little less lagged during start-up, but I’m not sure. (And it may also depend on the number of unread messages still in your inbox.)

If you want to switch from an inbox to an archive approach but you want to keep your unread mails in the inbox, here’s what you can do. In the inbox, click All, and then click the Select all... link. Hit the Archive button (this may process a while afterwards). Now do a Gmail search for is:unread, and in the results, click All and hit the Move to Inbox button. Now when you get new mails and read and reacted on them (where necessary), you need to remember the extra step of hitting the Archive button on them, though.

[Thanks Drew, everyone!]


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