Search Through GMail Email Faster With These GMail TechTips

by | Dec 2, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Us GMail & Google Apps users are most likely old Outlook users. We found a new and exciting email interface, liked the options, so we went all in. The only issue I have with GMail is their feeble attempt at folder structuring emails which is to say, their email organization. They use labels and I know most people don’t take advantage of this within GMail. When you setup a label you have the ability to color code it and then setup a filter so that the email gets automatically associated with the label when it comes in to your inbox. It’s a pain to setup but pretty sweet once it’s done. When your done, all you have to look for is the corresponding color and you know who the email is from almost faster than reading the name. GMail uses this as opposed to a folder structure. You can have sub-labels just like sub folders, bu it really doesn’t work the same way.


I would have to say that the hardest part in running my I.T. business out of Google Apps for Business is the search function. A lot of times, I am not sure what I’m searching for, I know I need an attachment between a certain time period, but cant remember the sender. Google actually has an answer for this through advanced search functions. The problem is that within Outlook, this is really easy, for GMail, not so much. Categorize your mail by attachment and look down the dates list for Outlook. Unfortunately there is no categorization in list form for GMail so we have to use advanced search functions. Below you will see a list of GMail search functions and they are pretty easy to execute. If you want to search for an attachment like my problem before, all you have to do is type in the search box “has:attachment.” You can even search for file names of attached files by using the filename: command. The in: command is also very important, with it, you can specify in what folder you want to search. In my opinion, these advanced search functions are nice, but I don’t use them enough to remember them. I always have to reference this list which is annoying. Google Apps is a great piece of law firm technology but some days I really miss outlook, and I think about using the Google Apps Sync for Outlook tool.


Boolean Operator Explanation

Type the boolean operator within the GMail search bar and your query after the colon. You can also do operator combinations. For quicker searches with a little less functionality you can also refine your search by clicking the faded (down) arrow in the search box on the right side.

Operator Definition Examples
from: Used to specify the sender Example: from:amy Meaning: Messages from Amy
to: Used to specify a recipient Example: to:david Meaning: All messages that were sent to David (by you or someone else)
subject: Search for words in the subject line Example: subject:dinner Meaning: Messages that have the word “dinner” in the subject
OR Search for messages matching term A or term B* *OR must be in all caps Example: from:amy OR from:david Meaning: Messages from Amy or from David
– (hyphen) Used to exclude messages from your search Example: dinner -movie Meaning: Messages that contain the word “dinner” but do not contain the word “movie”
label: Search for messages by label* *There isn’t a search operator for unlabeled messages Example: from:amy label:friends Meaning: Messages from Amy that have the label “friends”Example: from:david label:my-family Meaning: Messages from David that have the label “My Family”
has:attachment Search for messages with an attachment Example: from:david has:attachment  Meaning: Messages from David that have an attachment
list: Search for messages on mailing lists Example: list:info@example.com  Meaning: Messages with the words info@example.com in the headers, sent to or from this list
filename: Search for an attachment by name or type Example: filename:physicshomework.txt Meaning: Messages with an attachment named “physicshomework.txt”Example: label:work filename:pdfMeaning: Messages labeled “work” that also have a PDF file as an attachment
” ” (quotes) Used to search for an exact phrase* *Capitalization isn’t taken into consideration Example: “i’m feeling lucky” Meaning: Messages containing the phrase “i’m feeling lucky” or “I’m feeling lucky”Example: subject:”dinner and a movie”Meaning: Messages containing the phrase “dinner and a movie” in the subject
( ) Used to group words Used to specify terms that shouldn’t be excluded Example: from:amy (dinner OR movie) Meaning: Messages from Amy that contain either the word “dinner” or the word “movie”Example: subject:(dinner movie) Meaning: Messages in which the subject contains both the word “dinner” and the word “movie”
in:anywhere Search for messages anywhere in Gmail* *Messages in Spam and Trashare excluded from searches by default Example: in:anywhere movie  Meaning: Messages in All MailSpam, and Trash that contain the word “movie”
in:inbox in:trash in:spam Search for messages in Inbox,Trash, or Spam Example: in:trash from:amy Meaning: Messages from Amy that are in Trash
is:important label:important Search within messages thatPriority Inbox considers important. Example: is:important from:janet Meaning: Messages from Janet that were marked as important byPriority Inbox
is:starred is:unread is:read Search for messages that are starred, unread, or read Example: is:read is:starred from:David Meaning: Messages from David that have been read and are marked with a star
has:yellow-star has:red-star has:orange-star has:green-star has:blue-star has:purple-star has:red-bang has:orange-guillemet has:yellow-bang has:green-check has:blue-info has:purple-question Search for messages with a particular star Example: has:purple-star from:David Meaning: Messages from David that are marked with a purple star
cc: bcc: Used to specify recipients in thecc: or bcc: fields* *Search on bcc: cannot retrieve messages on which you were blind carbon copied Example: cc:david  Meaning: Messages that were cc-ed to David
after: before: older: newer: Search for messages sent during a certain period of time (using the date format yyyy/mm/dd) Example: after:2004/04/16 before:2004/04/18  Meaning: Messages sent between April 16, 2004 and April 18, 2004.* *More precisely: Messages sent after 12:00 AM (or 00:00) April 16, 2004 and before April 18, 2004.
older_than newer_than Similar to older and newer, but allows relative dates using dm, and y for daymonth, and year Example: newer_than:2d Meaning: Finds messages sent within the last two days.
is:chat Search for chat messages Example: is:chat monkey Meaning: Any chat message including the word “monkey.”
deliveredto: Search for messages within a particular email address in the Delivered-To line of the message header Example: deliveredto:username@gmail.com Meaning: Any message with username@gmail.com in the Delivered-To: field of the message header (which can help you find messages forwarded from another account or ones sent to an alias).
circle: Search for messages that were sent from someone who you added to a particular Google+ circle Example: circle:friends Meaning: Any message that was sent by a person in your “Friends” circle.Examples: circle:”soccer friends (team blue)” or circle:”my \”fab four\”” Notes: For circle names that include a space, parentheses, curly brackets, or vertical bar, add quotes around the name. For names that include quotes, add a back slash immediately before the quotes.
has:circle Search for all messages that were sent from someone who you added to your Google+ circles Example: has:circle  Meaning: Any message that was sent by a person in any of your circles.
size: Search for messages larger than the specified size in bytes Example: size:1000000  Meaning: All messages larger than 1MB (1,000,000 bytes) in size.
larger: smaller: Similar to size: but allows abbreviations for numbers Example: larger:10M  Meaning: All messages of at least 10M bytes (10,000,000 bytes) in size.
+ (plus sign) Match the search term exactly Example: +unicorn  Meaning: Finds messages containing “unicorn” but not “unicorns” or “unciorn”
rfc822msgid: Find a message by the message-id header Example:rfc822msgid:20050329231145.62086.mail@mail.emailprovider.comMeaning: Locates the exact message with the specified SMTP1message-id. Learn more about headers.
has:userlabels has:nouserlabels Search for messages that have and have not had labels that you created applied to them. NOTE: Gmail applies labels to individual messages, not to conversation threads. Example: has:nouserlabels Meaning: Finds all messages without any of your own labels (excludes automatic labels like inbox, spam, and trash). Since Gmail applies labels to individual messages, you might see results that appear to have labels; in this case, another message in the same conversation thread has had a label applied to it.


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