Gmail Power tools #1

Gmail Power Tools #1 – searching and retrieving your mails.

The simple “Search Mail” function right beside Gmail logo does lots more than is apparent. Here are the key operators with examples on how you can search for almost any type of email via the search text field.

“” (Quotes):

Format: "keyword"
Example: "meeting agenda"
(Return only emails with the exact quoted keyword(s).)


Format: subject:keyword
Example: subject:Google Alert
(Return emails with keyword(s) in titles.)


Format: from:<name>
Example: from:hongkiat
(Return emails received from a specific user, but not the email address.)

Format: from:<>
(Return emails received from a specific email address.)


Format: to:<name>
Example: to:hongkiat
(Return emails sent to a specific user, but not the email address.)

Format: to:<>
(Return emails sent to a specific email address.)


Format: in:<label name/inbox/trash/spam/anywhere>
Example: in:trash
(Return emails stored in a specific location. If you are looking for emails that you have no clue where it is, use in:anywhere.)


Format: is:<starred/unread/read/chat>
Example: is:unread
(Return emails with a specific status. E.g, Starred, unread, read emails or even Gtalk chat logs.)

Cc: & Bcc:

Format: cc:<name> or cc:<>
Example: cc:hongkiat or
(Return emails carbon copied to a user or specific email address.)

Format: bcc:<name> or cc:<>
Example: bcc:hongkiat or
(Return emails blind carbon copied to a user or specific email address.)

Before: & After:

Format: before:<yyyy/mm/dd>
Example: before:2010/07/01
(Return emails before a specific date.)

Format: after:<yyyy/mm/dd> before:<yyyy/mm/dd>
Example: after:2010/06/01 before:2010/07/01
(Return emails after in range of or after specific date.)


Format: label:<label name>
Example: label:Comments
(Return emails with a specific label.)


Format: filename:<filename.format>
Example: filename:presentation.pdf
(Return emails with the exact filename attached.)

Format: filename:<format>
Example: filename:pdf
(Return emails that have the same file type attached.)


Format: has:attachment
Example: from:hongkiat has:attachment
(A more general search for emails with attachments. Return emails with attachments, regardless of file type and format.)

Combining Operators

Here are some operators that allows you to yeild more specific and accurate results.


Format: operator:value -operator:value
Example: has:attachment -filename:zip
(Return emails with attachements, filtering away those with .zip attachments.)


Format: operator:value OR operator:value
Example: OR
(Return emails received from either user(s).)


Format: operator:value AND operator:value
Example: AND has:attachment
(Return only emails received from a specific email that has an attachment.)

10 (More) Advanced Search Examples:

The possibility of manipulating these operators are quite limitless. Here are some of the combination of search queries use frequently or find useful.

  1. Example: in:inbox label:facebook is:unread
    (Search for all unread emails labeled facebook inside inbox.)
  2. Example: in:anywhere from:peter
    (Search for all emails regardless where it’s stored (spam, inbox, trash) received from anyone with the name Peter.)
  3. Example: is:unread after:2010/06/01 before:2010/07/01
    (Search for all unread mails for the month of June. )
  4. Example: from: has:attachment
    (Return all emails with attachments sent by
  5. Example: in:inbox "meeting"
    (Search inbox for any emails with the keyword “meeting” in it.)
  6. Example: has:attachment filename:zip
    (Return only emails received from with .zip attachments.)
  7. Example: "facebook"
    (Return all emails with the keyword “facebook”, excluding those sent by
  8. Example: to:peter OR cc:peter
    (Return all emails sent to or carbon copied Peter.)
  9. Example: label:google OR
    (Return all emails received from or labeled “google”.)
  10. Example: "meeting" is:chat
    (Return all chat log files with keyword “meeting” in it.)

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