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What does archiving mean in Gmail?

Unlike Outlook, when you Archive a message in Gmail, the message is hidden from your Inbox view.
So in effect, archiving lets you tidy up your inbox by moving messages from your inbox into your All Mail label, so you don't have to delete anything. It's like moving something into a filing cabinet for safekeeping, rather than putting it in the trash can. Or in Outlook Parlance, moving it off the server onto your local hard drive. HUSD's Gmail-based inboxes are so large, you shouldn't need to!

Any message you've archived can be found by clicking the "All Mail" label on the left side of your Gmail page. You can also find a message you've archived by clicking on any other labels you've applied to it, or by searching for it.

And something cool ... when someone responds to a message you've archived, the conversation containing that message will reappear in your inbox automatically!

To archive messages:
  1. In your inbox, select the message by checking the box next to the sender's name.
  2. Click the Archive button in the toolbar above your message list. 
    (If you have a message open, you can also archive it by clicking the Archivebutton above the message.

To move an archived message back to your inbox, follow these steps:

  1. Click All Mail. (If you don't see All Mail along the left side of your Gmail page, click the More drop-down menu at the bottom of your labels list.)
  2. Check the box next to the sender's name.
  3. Click the Move to Inbox button.

If you'd like an option to automatically archive messages after you've sent replies:

  1. Click the gear icon and choose Settings.
  2. Locate the Send and Archive setting and choose the option you prefer.
  3. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

Once you enable the setting, you'll see a new button at the bottom of the page when you reply to messages. When you're done writing, click Send & Archive to send the reply and archive the previous message in one step, or click Send to send your reply but leave the original message in your inbox.