Be a Gmail Power User : Use Advance Search Operators in Gmail Search

What do you do when you want to search something? We google it.
Why google? Because of its amazing search techniques to deliver accurate results.
Google provides the same searchability in Gmail too. Within Gmail searchbox, you can enter a word or multiple words that appears anywhere in your mails.

For more specific search, you can use gmail’s search options nest to to search box. You get most of the options like ‘From’, ‘To’, ‘Subject’ but what if you want to search mails with only attachments or a mail with specific labels. Gmail Advance search operators come handy at this time. These operators are query words or symbols that perform special actions in Gmail search and allow you to find what you’re looking for quickly and accurately. They can also be used to set up filters so you can organize your inbox automatically.

Previously Rahul posted 6 most used operators for Google search. Here is the comprehensive list of search operators for Gmail. Complete list is here.

Operator Definition Example(s)
from: Used to specify the sender Example – from:akshay
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:akshay OR from:david
Meaning – Messages from Amy or from David

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:akshay 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”
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:[email protected]
Meaning – Messages with the words [email protected] in the headers, sent to or from this list
filename: Search for an attachment by name or type Example – filename:homework.txt
Meaning – Messages with an attachment named “physicshomework.txt”

Example – label:work filename:pdf
Meaning – Messages labeled “work” that also have a PDF file as an attachment

” “
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:akshay(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 Trash are excluded from searches by default
Example – in:anywhere movie
Meaning – Messages in All Mail, Spam, and Trash that contain the word “movie”
Search for messages in Inbox, Trash, or Spam Example – in:trash from:akshay
Meaning – Messages from Amy that are in Trash
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
Used to specify recipients in the cc: 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
Search for messages sent during a certain period of time*
*Dates must be in yyyy/mm/dd format.
Example – after:2008/07/16 before:2008/08/18
Meaning – Messages sent between July 16, 2008 and August 18, 2008.*
*More precisely: Messages sent after 12:00 AM (or 00:00) July 16, 2008 and before Augut 18, 2008.
is:chat Search for chat messages Example – is:chat money
Meaning – Any chat message including the word “money”.

Important: Gmail doesn’t search in Spam or Trash unless you tell it to.

Related: 6 Most Frequently Used Google Search Operators For Better Searching

[Editor Note: This is a guest post by Abhishek Mandloi, a technology enthusiast who writes at about google tricks. If you like to guest author here or join us as co-author please check this.]


BlogsDNA August 25, 2008

wow this is pretty handy searches, some of this i do know but Many are new to me, Thanks for sharing Abhishek.

Chirag August 31, 2010

Hey Devils, you guys might like this browser addon [] to search your Gmail.