Categories: Managing Settings and Mail :

Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first

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Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Andrew Denny 6/19/09 5:15 PM
I'd like to arrange my inbox permanently so that the oldest emails are at the top. 
That way I can read/reply to the ones who've been waiting longest for a reply.  (Currently, old emails are at the bottom, and take longer to reply to.)
Is there any way of doing this? 
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first MsI53 6/20/09 8:26 AM
No, gmail doesn't offer that option. Sorry.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 6/20/09 11:41 AM
Nothing wrong with going to the bottom of the list and moving to newer each time.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first grannybuttons 6/21/09 12:04 AM
Manny, that way doesn't work. As soon as one deletes or archives an item it reverts to the standard new-to-old list.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 6/21/09 12:45 AM

I didn't see where he was deleting or archiving, sorry, at my age my eyes are going dim.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Kernel 6/21/09 1:01 AM
There has to be a sort option.... When can we expect this Google?
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 6/21/09 1:54 AM
I don't see why since it is just as easy to go to oldest and work your way forward. I do this from whatever point I want to.

Lateral thinking works.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Andrew Denny 6/21/09 7:50 AM
Good point, Manny B.  Once you have clicked on Delete or Archive you are returned to an adjacent email. 
However, when I open my gmail account I'm still presented with the most recent email, and it's time consuming to scroll/page down to the bottom - especially if you've got a slow link like me and you've got a backlog of a hundred or two emails which you want reminding of. 
Furthermore, the oldest emails don't show up in lists like in iGoogle.  It only shows the most recent.  And if you've been away and youve got several days-worth to look at, you still see the most recent unanswered ones, and not the older unopened ones.
You might be happy with that, but I'm not.  'Lateral thinking works' is meaningless to me in this context. I simply want to see my oldest emails first when I open Gmail.  I apologise if I'm being stupid.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 6/21/09 8:45 AM
Not being stupid but this is normal office filing procedure and the latest mail in any file will always be on top. You will always see filing clerks lift a stack of mail and turn it over before starting working through them but as they are finished they are still back in the same order.

Definitely no apology necessary.

My way of dealing with it. As I finish off a day's or a week's post I archive "All" so my desk is clear. If I want to work through in date order I will just tap on Oldest or drop to the bottom of the page. Once the page is loaded it is no slower to do this whatever your broadband speed is as the page is already loaded.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Coopernatural 7/2/09 4:14 PM
I always type "is:new" in the search, then I only see unread mail, and I start at the bottom.  I have over 1000 emails in my inbox, probably as many archived, but generally fewer than 40 unread so it becomes manageable this way.  I'd prefer to be able to type "is:unread oldest first" but Gmail is what Gmail is!
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first scott kay 7/4/09 10:04 PM

You need to create a link or bookmark for the following:


Now it is important for you to understand that this is not a true sort, but that it will show you the last page of all your messages first. This is the best option with GMAIL for the current time. I hope it helps some of you out there.

If you wish you can do any of the following to make your life easier:

1) Create a bookmark
2) Set as default page for your browser
3) Setup the Quick Links in GMAIL Labs and configure it to use the bookmark your most popular bookmarks
4) Or, append /p100000 to any URL that uses a label (inboxsentdraftsspamtrashstarredchatsalland all custom labels created...)

NOTE: /pXXXX represents the pages back in time from 1. If you have a ton of messages, then you may want to do /p100000000000, etc...

Ok, so the one limitation I saw was that this feature was not working on searches. "Only Labels". So to get around this limitation you can do the following:

1) Create a filter with your search in it
2) Make sure to set the action to assign the messages to a LABEL you create
3) Then create your link to bookmark or use like you want.

Hope this helps someone out.

Notice all URLs for GMAIL are using https. If your not using it, then fix it:

Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first OLD-GUY 7/15/09 5:17 PM
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first OLD-GUY 7/15/09 5:25 PM
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 7/16/09 1:54 AM
In the Search box type in anything that would be associated with this such as company name or email address and click on Search Mail.

Why all the shouting. It's rude and if you are an old guy then you would have been brought up in an age when manners counted for something so please don't try to deafen my eyes.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Nairobi 1 7/29/09 5:17 AM
@Scott Kay - Your way is the possible alternative right now. And it has helped.

Once you run the links, gmail tells you how many pages you have.
You now can check you old mail in leaps rather than painstakingly going through page by page, especially if you have an idea of when a certain email was sent

- after running this it reads (for me)
NBOX: - Meaning I have 106 pages in my inbox
I then can change the number 106 to 55, run it and am on page 55

Well Scott, seems you know your stuff (kudos)

I would like to run the same on my Gmail group.
There are over 3600 posts, I need "quantum jumps" seraching through the postings.


Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Nairobi 1 7/29/09 6:16 AM
No worries, figured that out - just by changing the page too as per your example
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first babsbini 11/19/09 7:28 PM
Manny, whatever you suggest may work, but people are used to sorting and prefer it that way than do the search. It would only be apt if Google can provide this feature.
I do use the search, but still miss the sort feature. Consider the scenario below and if possible tell me how search would help.
This is the scenario where I need it most: I regularly send several emails (3-4 a day) to Julia Deere. Amongst these emails, once a week I also need to send an update with the same subject "Updated Roster" to Julia. Lets say today is 19th Nov and the the first ever "Updated Roster" email was sent on Jun 2. Often I need to copy some content from the older updates into the most recent one that I am sending, so I search for "Julia Deere", and all emails from/to Julia are shown in the search result sorted by date. However "Updated Roster" emails are grouped together and shown somwhere at the bottom as it was first sent on Jun 2! Now although I know that I sent Julia an "Updated Roster" email only last week, I still cant find it! And whats worse is if I forget the subject of the email then I m even more lost!
Sorting the search results by sent date would have put the "Updated Roster" email from last week somewhere in the top which would have been great for me!
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 11/20/09 12:58 PM
It would be easier but then using the Expand All command works as well.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first babsbini 11/21/09 8:24 PM
Would you please explain how the "Expand All" command would help? I cannot find this command on the Search Results of my gmail. This command is there only after opening each conversation. That does not help me right now, as I would have to open and view each conversation. I need a way to see all messages in the order they were sent as I remember that a message "Updated Roster" was sent recently.

Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 11/22/09 2:59 AM
I'm trying to work out what you really want but from what you describe it would be a cross referencing system outside Conversation Mode I think but I could be wrong.

I look at this as though working in an Office which relies on paper copies which are then filed in folders and I would have to open a folder to see what was in it or rely on the date and information on the outside which rather approximates what Gmail does.

There is one little hint to save you expanding each piece of mail to see the date - place the cursor in the gap at the top of any of the collapsed mails, click the left mouse button (active) to show the first few words and the date.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Sui Generis 11/22/09 12:31 PM
Just archived all my emails. Now, however, all mail in "inbox" is oldest first. No matter what I do, clicking:  newer, newest, whatever, it bounces back to oldest first. My issue is just opposite of original post.  Help!
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first babsbini 11/22/09 4:13 PM
Thanks for your prompt reply. Let me see if I can put it different words to explain the situation better.
As I said earlier, every week I am sending one email with the subject "Updated Roster" to Julia. Apart from this email, there are several other emails that I send to Julia. Gmail puts all the "Updated Roster" emails together as one conversation no matter when they are sent. So as mentioned earlier, the first one is sent on Jun 2 and most recent on Nov 11, and in the meanwhile, 21 emails were sent all with the subject "Updated Roster". 
Now lets say I want to refer to the "roster" in the email sent to Julia on Nov 11, and although I remember the it was sent only last week, I can't find that email in the top of the search results for "Julia". So what do I do? You will say don't search for "Julia", instead search for "roster". I tried that too, but unfortunately, "roster" appears in too many emails, so I can't use that. So my best bet would have been sort by date and then look at the latest email containing "roster".
Hope this clarifies the importance of sorting. The more important point is probably that searching is a great feature, but cannot replace sorting in every respect.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 11/22/09 11:53 PM

Do you mean that the earliest overlays the others or that the one at the top vertically is the oldest (correct protocol)? The lowest and one that shows as full page should be the latest and the order is set out this way so that a quick tap on the active button with the cursor placed in any of the previous mails will bring up all the dates and first words of an email so that you can find it quickly. Having the bottom of each email showing would give you the signature but none of the content.


Have you thought of using a Label attached to each one of the Roster emails? My way would be to use a pro-forma for the Roster mails (Canned Response) with a significant word in the first few such as "Roster"  and using the click anywhere system that I have just described it will stand out immediately and the date will be shown at the far end of the line.

Gmail has to be designed as universally and not user specific so it is down to you to create your own filing system within the parameters of it. If you need a specifically designed system there are companies and programmers who can do this but you could most likely take a holiday on the moon for slightly less.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first MsI53 11/23/09 5:30 AM
@babsbini -- why not include a date in the subject line when you send the roster update? Your subsequent search results for "roster update" would be easier to scan and allow you to find what you are looking for.

Another thought -- if you consistently have to discuss the update each week, you could use the multiple inboxes Lab to keep that particular conversation readily available.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first awbrie 12/10/09 10:17 AM
I, too, desperately want a sort option (but preferably a way to make the oldest emails at the top by default)!  My mind just doesn't work backwards like this.  I want my oldest emails to be on top, because I want to handle those first.  I'm tired of reading from bottom to top all the time - it's just not natural - and it's causing me to overlook emails.  I don't understand how to implement any of the suggestions from "scott kay" - how about some of you smart folks make us a lab!  ;)
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 12/10/09 3:25 PM
If you mean they should be at the upper edge of the window then please realise you would not be able to see the headers for the previous ones which even when you can only see a fine gap between them can be revealed by left clicking on any of the gaps so you don't have to open them all to sort through them. The way you want you would need expand them all to see just the date. Be careful what you wish for. In office filing systems you look at the top of the letters to check the dates or references.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first RadioActiveLamb 1/4/10 7:56 PM
Not everybody operates the same way, which is why companies like Microsoft include column sorting, categorizing and grouping in-addition to search and labels in Outlook. Gmail simply doesn't offer this feature. Sadly, it feels like a "my way or the highway" response. Since Gmail is your email platform (as it is mine), you are constrained by its limitations. If you cannot adapt the the Gmail way, then use a program like Thunderbird (free) or Outlook (not free + fat) to manage your gmail account. 
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 1/5/10 3:00 AM

Outlook and and Thunderbird use your pc's resources to do the sorting and a lot of users do not and will not have these resources so sorting will become a long and tedious job and there will be no chance of running three or four apps at the same time. On line/web emailers use their own resources and have to be as good as the supplier can make them which make them power hungry as users find with Gmail who complain about the slow speed it operates at but this is very often due to slow broadband connections or bandwidth. iPhones and all the other iWhatevers eat the ISP's bandwidth so it is now a matter of everybody playing catchup, the more you want the more it will cost in power and resources somewhere down the line.

I will now step down off my soap box and wish everybody a Happy New Year.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first rufusvsmith 1/5/10 6:32 AM

To begin with, Google's programming staff are clearly not idiots, as evidenced by their many superb products.
So it is much more likely to be a policy decision than a technical one.

The policy makers, being who they are, no doubt look at it as "revenue stream" versus "customer convenience".
It also appears to be their policy to not reveal why such an obvious (almost ubiquitous) tabular feature is not included.
(perhaps the more people who enter search/filter terms, the more grist for the "what people search for" mill at Google)

(manny b, as far as client-side "sorting resources" go... my ancient trs-80 could sort 1000 50 character records in a reasonable amount of time, I think java script probably could too...)

Reasons I sort and extract/filter (note: sorting is a bit like consecutive filters)

I sort/extract by subject and by ascending dates so I can go through a multi-user conversation in chronological order.
I sort by sender to eliminate newsletters, etc in bulk.
I filter by a field in the subject (usually in [] brackets) then sort by subject to read mailing list entries in order.

I guess I'll have to see how well Outlook Express (free for Windows users, I believe) handles gmail...

Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 1/5/10 8:57 AM
Your ancient whatever did not have to deal with modern programs that use vast amounts (by comparison) of ram. The latest net books have more ram than your old machine could have even coped with and the CPU would have had an overheating fit. You will notice that I did mention three programs and up. Sorting by subject is something that Gmail does for itself and once you expand it seems to be sorted the way you want. I would far rather use Thunderbird than Outlook but the choice is yours.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first ronhollow 1/5/10 12:05 PM
Rufusvsmith is right.  Google's decision to not make sorting and conversation view optional is definitely a policy decision, not a technical one.  I find it absolutely hilarious that all of the "Top Contributors" keep trying to act like Google is somehow limited by technical restraints.  Yeah, folks, Google is limited in their ability to offer the same options that Yahoo mail already offers.  That really passes the common sense test.  LMFAO
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first yhadary 1/13/10 2:44 AM
Gmail have lots of advantages, sorting is not 1 of them. if U want 2 sort, use outlook...
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Rayynn 1/13/10 1:18 PM
I agree... I have over 200 emails and people who have been waiting eventually get upset with the delay. I notice the newest ones when I first long in and after a quick scan I am weak and start replying immediately to the ones on top.

This would be a GREAT feature.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first rblizz 1/29/10 4:52 PM
I thought I was just missing something. This really is silly of Google to assume everyone wants their new email at the top of their InBox. I *always* set up my email to go in order from oldest to newest. So, yeah, I guess I'll just read it into Opera or Thunderbird where I can use their service the way it seems more natural to me.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first rmpbklyn 3/11/10 8:42 AM
@Andrew, I do identify, that is why I got to this post in the first place.
I have over 3 thousand emails.  Take note it shows '1 of thousands' , and there is no "oldest" or "last page". Therefore the oldest emails are totally inaccessible to me to get to the oldest emails.

@Scott, thank you so much I will try that!!!!!!  thank you for also contributing to the topic with advice and tip.

@non contributing folks who which are  just 'throwing sand' , move on to a different topic, if you don't know the answer then don't clutter the page with nonsense

Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first allenrussell1216 3/23/10 6:37 AM
Manny...I read your logic about reverse filing for paper.  I must disagree.  The folders (e.g. hanging) and files (e.g. manila) are always placed A - Z, 1 - (?), etc. from front to back (closest to furthest) in the cabinet.  It's documents that are occasionally filed in reverse, but in many corporate offices and law offices the clerical guidelines suggest the user to follow a case chronologically so that executives and attorneys can review a situation or case in process.  No other email system I know of requires reverse chonological inboxes.  I use two other popular email programs in addition to Gmail and find that the flexibility helps me work my emails much faster.  Seems to me this change would be a simple one for a Google programmer, and would make a lot of users happy. 
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 3/23/10 7:04 AM
But the paperwork in a folder is always latest on top which is why whatever folder you use the paper holding system will be on the right hand side as you open it - if they were filed earliest first then filing clerks would be forever having to take out the older ones to add the new ones. Also take a look at which way the continuous paper feeders were set up so the earliest dates printed first so the latest were on top. Remember that with offices where these were updated 24 hours a day, very often without physical supervision, there is no other way that this can be done. Your Printer will, unless you change the order manually, print from first to last.

Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first allenrussell1216 3/23/10 7:31 AM
Manny...If I have more than 2 pages to be printed, I do change the order so I can just lift them out, staple, clip or bind them without sorting.
It's obvious that you're sold on the 1-way-offered inbox organization of Gmail.  And that's fine.  However, there are probably millions of subscribers of Gmail that would like to have the option to reverse the order.  I'm not familar with "lateral thinking" either, but I'm happy just being upward and downward, whichever makes more sense to me.  In this scenario we're discussing, I think downward is being heavily promoted with the oldest messages at the top.  Thanks.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 3/23/10 1:09 PM

Choices would be nice but the majority of on-line (web-based) email systems are chronologically arranged in the same way as Gmail naturally and anything else is by request such as in Yahoo but in that case why are so few using Yahoo as an emailer. Once you use a third party app on your computer the order appears to be reversed naturally. For myself I go to the earliest delivered that I have not opened and simply click on the word Newer to get to the next one. Gmail made this very easy and gave me the choice instead of using the word Next so I really cannot see the difficulty of which way they are in the Inbox.

When you go hunting through a file of paperwork to seek a specific letter or form do you look at the bottom of the sheets with nothing on them or at the top where the headers, senders and dates should be? Do it your way and the only thing you would see is a blank area unless the email was reversed and you would need to read it before realising what the or even the date subject was and there was no gap at the bottom. If I have got this wrong  check with your filing clerk as to which way they would rather do things.

Peculiarly enough my printer (Office type Laser) prints naturally on the underside of the underside of the sheet as they are rolled over the top of the machine so that the when a finished letter is picked up and turned to be read the first sheet is the one on the front and I have to lift all except the last to sign it. I believe you must be using a standard home type inkdot printer which is of course done this way so that previous prints have a chance to dry before the next is scraped across. Printed the other way the wet side would be pushed across a surface probably smudging it.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Caite Caast 4/16/10 2:02 AM
What they will not fix....go around.
If you have a lot of emails to answer and don't want to have to page through every time you log in to find the oldest,  try using the advanced search to break it down.

I used this for a search of thousand, I couldn't get to the end of but it will work just as well here.

Go to advanced search.
Go to "Date within" select "1 year"(or 6 months etc etc...depending on what works best for you) and fill in date as 1 Jan like so  "01/01/2000"
Start when you think the oldest are and work back or forward until you get some entries.

Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Zicco 4/17/10 3:40 AM
No, gmail doesn't offer that option. Sorry.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first mandd 4/19/10 12:19 PM
It's hard for me to understand, Manny, why you insist on pursuing the "office" analogy. Emails are not pieces of paper, physically filed in boxes. Surely the ability that IT has to sort information quickly and in a variety of ways, is its greatest advantage. How do you justify an argument which requires that we think and operate like Victorian clerks. There are obviously a lot of people who want to use the "new" technology to sort their emails in any way they want. Why can't they? Why can't I?
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first hargus1953 9/7/10 4:25 PM
Ok....I am also on yahoo and hotmail and I like my mail with the oldest first...looks more organized that when I read it and delete it I have the option of automatically seeing the next email pop open. 
That is not an option when reading email from the bottom of the can't automatically open the next email because it is above the one you read.
I have gone back and forth on whether to just not use googlemail, but hoping google will change and be like ALL the others.... there any way to change this option?
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first MsI53 9/7/10 4:37 PM
@hargus -- no, currently there is no way to change the order of the inbox.

You can make a suggestion at -- there are options you can vote for.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first The C Man (Call me C) Ex TC 9/7/10 5:13 PM

If Gmail was like all the others then it would be just one of the others. Because of the Conversation View and the fact that the headers are visible once you click on any of the concealed posts it works but if it showed the bottom of each page there would be nothing to see which it would do if was reverse ordered.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Leachim 10/2/10 4:41 PM
I suggest downloading thunderbird. It can fetch your gmail and sort them to be listed as oldest first.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first cityguyusa 10/15/10 9:48 AM
Boy I never say such people with such strong views on sorting the current way or being able to sort chronologically.  You people act like being able to sort in chronological order is like going against the Google God.  Well you're ridiculous!  You should be able to sort on any field and choose the direction in fact I'll go one further and say you should be able to sort by multiple fields and with different directions for each one if you so desire.  This is not 1960.  Sorts are pre-written modules and only need to be invoked by the person desiring the sort by clicking on a column heading but the developers need to make it available this is just arcane that they don't realize that people don't always won't to see the most recent mail first.  They went to all this expense creating Priority Inbox and I would rather be able to sort by chronological order.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first Theo45 12/13/10 11:06 AM
Column sorting is so important to me that I don't use the web interface to gmail (which otherwise I like).  I make an imap connection to gmail with a client that does sorting (Microsoft Exchange, in my case) and easily sort any way I want.  (Would probably work with POP too, but I prefer imap.)  It's the best way, better than waiting for G to succumb to pressure.  Don't much like web interfaces anyway.
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first jasdjensen 1/19/11 6:53 PM
Web interfaces will always outrank application based interfaces because they can be used anywhere, at any computer.

Here's my 2 bits.  As those have said for it looks like close to 2 years now, it would be a simple feature.

My request:  Allow sorting of read and unread email separately.

Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I keep a lot of crap in my inbox.  Every few months I'll go through and do a big delete or archive and get those numbers down.  I don't get a ton of emails, but there are those that do.  I want to see JUST the unread emails with sorting ability, or to say it another way, I want to be able to sort all my emails and then filter them with properties such as "unread".

If Google is unwilling to implement this outright, can it be a Labs feature at least?
Re: Sorting inbox by date, oldest mail first manny.b 1/19/11 9:23 PM
is:unread in the search mail does that. For true sorting use Thunderbird, Outlook or similar.
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