Search for email in Gmail with search operators

  1. Including smart search operators
  2. Search email in Gmail
  3. Search options in Gmail
  4. Gmail search operators
  5. How to combine operators and search terms
  6. Historical Search Operators in Gmail
  7. Saved searches

Including smart search operators

If you’re good at collecting emails, the button Archive in Gmail is very useful. Fortunately, most of these archived emails will never be viewed or recovered. But we have to come back to others later. With easy search and smart operators, Gmail helps you find emails accurately and quickly.

A large search field that goes over the top edge of Gmail usually works. However, sometimes the number of emails returned is too high. Maybe you can add another term or sender name? It is possible, but do it wisely. By using some smart search operators, you can narrow your search significantly and accurately. For example, you can only search in the string Subject or combine it with a date range, specific sender and exclude all messages with attachments.

Search email in Gmail

To find messages in Gmail:

  • Enter your search terms in the Gmail search field.

    • You can quickly jump to an email search by clicking

  • Click Enter or press the magnifying glass button.

Search options in Gmail

Follow these steps to specify some search criteria to narrow your Gmail search results:

  • Click down arrow Show search options in the Gmail search box.

  • Find email addresses and sender names using a field From

  • Search by direct (To: field) names and addresses of recipients using the field Unpleasant

  • Find an email subject using a field Subject

  • Find the body of emails using a field has words

    • Search for a phrase with quotation marks.

    • Use “OR” to search for emails containing the one word (or phrase).

      • “sheepdog pasta” (excluding outer quotes) will find all emails containing the phrase “sheepdog pasta” for example;

      • “Shepherd’s Macaroni” (again, without quotes) will find all emails containing both words, but not necessarily in that form;

      • Finally, ‘shepherd OR macaroni’ (without quotes) will find all emails containing either ‘shepherd’ or ‘macaroni’ (or both).

  • Find email messages that do not contain certain words in their text using the field Not

  • know for sure Has an attachment checked to find only emails that contain attachments.

  • Find the send date of emails using fields date in

  • Press the button Search email below the search fields.

    • You can now refine your search in the main search box using the operators below.

    • Of course, there are multiple search options to find, for example, emails from a specific sender that contain attachments and were sent in the past year.

Gmail search operators

in field Search email you can use the following operators:

  • topic: † Find the line Subject

    • Example: “subject: bahamas” finds all posts containing “bahamas” in Subject
  • from: † Find the sender’s name and email address in Gmail. Partial addresses are fine.

    • Examples: “from: heinz” finds all messages from “[email protected]”, but also all messages from “[email protected]”; “from:me” finds all messages sent by you (with any address configured for use in Gmail).
  • nasty: – search in line To who names and addresses.

  • To copy † Find recipients in a field To copy

  • Hidden copy † Find addresses and names in Gmail in the field Hidden copy † Please note that this only works with emails sent to recipients hidden copy from gmail.

    • Example: “bcc:heinz” will find all the messages you have sent, for example “[email protected]” in the field bcc
  • label † Search Gmail for messages that have a label assigned to them. (Replace spaces in label names with hyphens.)

    • Example: “label: toooodoo-doll” will find all posts with the tag “tooodoo-doll”.
  • has: user labels – searches Gmail for email messages that have labels other than the default labels (ie do not contain labels such as inbox, trash, and spam, but do contain smart labels).
  • has: nose labels – searches for messages not tagged with labels other than the ones Gmail uses by default.
  • is: with star † Search Gmail for messages marked with an asterisk.
  • Other stars:

    • has: yellow star † Search Gmail for messages with a yellow star.
    • has: red star † Search Gmail for messages with a red star.
    • has: orange star – Searches Gmail for messages with an orange star.
    • has: green star † Search Gmail for messages with a green star.
    • has: blue star † Search Gmail for messages with a blue star.
    • has: purple star † Search Gmail for messages with a purple star.
    • has: yellow bang † Search Gmail for messages with a yellow exclamation mark.
    • has: red-bang – Searches Gmail for messages with a red exclamation mark.
    • has: purple question † Search Gmail for messages with a purple question mark.
    • has: orange-guillemet † Search Gmail for messages with two orange forward arrows.
    • has: blue info † Find Gmail messages with blue l
  • is: unread – Search Gmail for new and unread messages.
  • is read – Search Gmail for already opened messages.
  • is important † Search Gmail for messages marked as important in the Priority folder.
  • Has attachment † Search Gmail for messages with file attachments.
  • file name: – search in file names of attachments. You can also search for filename extensions to limit your search to specific file types.

    • Example: “filename: .doc” will find all messages with nested text editors.
  • is: buzz † Search Gmail for Google Buzz messages.
  • is: chatting – search Gmail chat logs.
  • in: – search in a default “folder”. You can search in Checkers inbox chats Sent spam Basket And everywhere (for everything, including spam And Basket

    • Example: “in:drafts” finds all messages in your folder Checkers
  • circle † Search for email that people in this Google+ circle have sent to you. (Use quotes to indicate Google+ circles that have a space in the name; escape the quotes in the name with a backslash () immediately preceding each quotation mark.)

    • Example: ‘circle: “my ” sails “circle” includes all emails from people in your Google+ circle “my “sails”.
  • has: circle † Search Gmail for messages from everyone in your Google+ circles.
  • after: – Search for messages sent on or after the date. The date must be in the format YYYY/MM/DD.

    • Example: “after: 2005/05/05” finds all messages sent or received on or after (i.e. inclusive) May 5, 2005.
  • before † Search Gmail for messages sent before a date.

    • Example: “before: 2005/05/05” finds all messages sent or received on or before May 4, 2005.
  • Lake: (or big_than: ) – Searches for email messages larger than the specified size. (Specify the size in bytes without a suffix, or use “k” for kilobytes (as 1000 bytes) and “m” for megabytes (as 1,000,000 bytes.)

    • Example: “large_than: 200k” finds all messages larger than 200,000 bytes.
  • mate: – search for messages whose size is greater than the specified size in bytes.

    • Example: “size: 500000” finds email messages larger than 500,000 bytes, or half a megabyte.
  • fewer: (or little_than: ) – searches for messages smaller than the specified size. (Specify the size in bytes (no suffix) or use “k” for 1000 bytes and “m” for 1,000,000 bytes.)
  • To supply to: † Search Gmail for an email with a specific email address in the “Delivered:” title bar.

    • Example: “deliveryto: [email protected]” will find messages with “[email protected]” in the “Delivered-To:” header, because they were forwarded from that address, for example.
  • rfc822msgstr: – search for a message with a unique message ID. Gmail doesn’t search for messages that reference a message ID (such as replies). Example: “rfc822msgid: [email protected]” will find a message with “[email protected]” in the “Message ID:” header field.

How to combine operators and search terms

Operators and search terms can be combined with the following modifiers:

  • By default, Gmail concatenates terms with an (invisible) “AND”.

    • Examples: “shepherd macaroni” finds all messages containing both “shepherd” and “macaroni”; “before: 2005/05/05 And after: 2005/05/04” finds all messages sent or received on May 4, 2005.
  • – search by phrase. The case doesn’t matter.

    • Examples: “shepherd’s pasta” will find all posts containing the term “shepherd’s pasta”; subject: “shepherd’s pasta” finds all posts with “shepard’s pasta” in the field Subject
  • † Search by the entered term.

    • Example: “+shepherds” will find all emails containing “shepherds”, but not just “shepherds” or “shepherds”.
  • OR † Search Gmail for messages that contain at least one of the two terms or phrases.

    • Examples: “shepherd OR macaroni” finds messages containing either “shepherd” or “macaroni” or both; “from:heinz or label:toodoo-doll” finds messages that come from a sender that contains “” or that appear under the label “toodoo doll”.
  • † Search Gmail for messages that don’t contain a term or phrase.

    • Examples: “-macaroni” finds all messages that do not contain the word “macaroni”; “shepherd -macaroni” finds all messages that contain the word “shepherd”, but not “macaroni”; subject: “shepherd pasta” – from: heinz “finds all messages with “shepherd pasta” in the subject that were not sent from an email address or name containing “heinz”.
  • – group search terms or expressions.

    • Examples: “subject: (pasta shepherd)” finds messages containing both “shepherd” and “pasta” somewhere in the string Subject (but not necessarily as a sentence); “from: heinz (subject: (shepherd OR macaroni) OR label: toodoo-doll)” finds all messages from a sender with “” in their name that contain “shepherd” or “macaroni” (or both) in line Subject or appear under the label “toodoo doll”.

Historical Search Operators in Gmail

Gmail once supported the following search query, which unfortunately no longer works:

  • language: † Search Gmail for messages in a specific language. (Specify the language in English; “Chinese” worked, but “中文”, “Putonghua”, or “Mandarin” for example didn’t.)

    • Example: “lang: French” returned all emails containing at least un peu de Français.

Saved searches

You can also easily add a Gmail search for later replay.

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