How to Tell If a Gmail Email Has Been Read

By Amy Dombrower

Gmail is Google's free web-based email program. It has a number of accessible features, including an archiving system. Gmail has ever-increasing memory, so you rarely need to delete emails. However, you can organize your inbox in a number of ways. You can determine if a Gmail message has been read or remains unread by seeing whether the message appears bold in your inbox.

Step 1

Open your Gmail account by entering "" in your web browser's address bar.

Step 2

Look on the left side of your browser window. When you first open your email, Inbox is highlighted. The inbox shows all the messages or conversations that you have received and have not archived.

Step 3

Look at the messages that are showing. If you have not yet read an email, it shows up bold. If you have read an email, the line of text is not bold.

Step 4

Look for a number in parentheses next to Inbox on the left. The number shows how many unread conversations you have in your inbox. When you read a message, this number decreases, and the line of text becomes plain (not bold).

Tips & Warnings

  • Gmail threads messages into conversations. If you send a message to someone and she replies, you see the message attached to your original message. It does not become a separate message. Each time the person replies to the thread, the conversation appears bold in your inbox.
  • You can mark emails as read or unread. For example, if you have a message that you have already read (and is in plain text), you can mark it as unread if you like. This is helpful if you just glanced at the email but want to read it again. To do this, click on the check box to the left of the message you want to select. Click the "More Actions" button. Click "Mark as Unread." It appears bold again in your inbox and is easy to spot.
  • Archive a message by clicking a message's check box and clicking the "Archive" button. This takes the message out of the inbox. The message is not deleted and is accessible when you search your mail or select "All Mail." This features allows you to organize your inbox to your liking.

References & Resources