Because of the large storage space at Gmail you can keep emails forever… no need to delete any message. This means you can potentially store tens of thousands of emails. And herein lies a problem – How do you search for an email lying in your Gmail account when you have hundreds… even thousands? It’s like trying to locate a needle in a haystack.
This is where Google’s search algorithms come into play! The company, as we all know, has been leading the web search field for some years now. Gmail search takes advantage of in-house search technology of Google.
The search field on your Gmail account is located at the top on the right of the logo – refer image below. It allows you to perform searches on both email messages in your Gmail account and the web.
To hunt for a message, type in your query in the search field and hit the Search Mail button. However, you can perform specific searches through the different search options. Click on the “Show search options” link which opens up these options – refer image below.
With these options you can search:
You can use one or more fields to enter your search queries. For instance, if I want to list all emails from my friend Jonathan that have an attachment, I would type in Jon’s email address (or name) in the From: field and check the Has attachment checkbox.
The syntax for searching Gmail is derived from the options described above and extends the functionality even more. Here are some commands you can use:
Example – from:jonathan would search the headers of emails hunting for the supplied keyword ‘jonathan’.
Example – to:firstname.lastname@example.org would search messages sent to that account.
Example – cc:email@example.com searches messages that carry a carbon copy to specified recipient.
Example – bcc:firstname.lastname@example.org searches messages that carry a blind carbon copy to specified recipient.
Example – subject:video searches email subjects for the specified keyword ‘video’.
Example – filename:doc hunts for emails that have doc file attachments. You can either enter a file extension or query a file name.
There are others like has:attachment, in: (examples: in:spam, in:trash, in:anywhere and for specifying date ranges before: and after:. Important note: the date needs to be in YYYY/MM/DD format.
Unless you want to prove your “geekness” to everyone, you really don’t need to memorize these commands and Gmail search syntax. You can search Gmail pretty well using the search option fields.
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