Advanced Searching in Gmail

Advanced search operators are query words or symbols that perform special actions in Gmail search. These operators 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. Some of the most useful operators are listed below.

Specify the Sender

Operator: from:

Example: from:amy

Meaning: all messages from Amy

Specify a recipient

Operator: to:

Example: to:david

Meaning: messages that were sent to David (by your or someone else)

Search for words in the subject line

Operator: subject:

Example: subject:dinner

Meaning: messages that have the word "dinner" in the subject

Search for messages matching term A or term B

Operator: OR

OR must be in ALL CAPS

Example: from:amy OR from:david

Meaning: messages from Amy or from David

Exclude messages from your search

Operator: - (hyphen)

Example: dinner -movie

Meaning: Messages that contain the word "dinner" but do not contain the word "movie"

Search for messages by label

Operator: label:

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"

(There is not a search operator for unlabeled messages)

Search for messages with an attachment

Operator: has:attachment

Example: from:david has:attachment

Meaning: Messages from David that have an attachment

Search for messages on mailing lists

Operator: list:


Meaning: Messages with the words in the headers, sent to or from this list

Search for an attachment by name or type

Operator: filename:

Example: filename:physicshomework.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

Search for an exact phrase

Operator: " " (quotes)

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

(Capitalization isn't taken into consideration

To group words or specify terms that shouldn't be excluded

Operator: ( )

Example: from:amy (dinner OR movie)

Meaning: Messages from Amy that contain 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"

Search for messages anywhere in Gmail

Operator: in:anywhere

Example: in:anywhere movie

Meaning: Messages in All Mail, Spam, and Trash that contain the word "movie"

(Messages in Spam and Trash are excluded from searches by default - you must add this operator to search there)

Search for messages in Inbox, Trash, or Spam

Operator: in:inbox in:trash in:spam

Example: in:trash from:amy

Meaning: Messages from Amy that are in Trash

Search within messages that Priority Inbox considers important

Operator: is:important label:important

Example is:important from:janet

Meaning: Messages from Janet that were marked as important by Priority Inbox

Search for messages that are starred, unread, or read

Operator: is:starred is:unread is:read

Example: is:read is:starred from:David

Meaning: Messages from David that have been read and are marked with a star

Search for messages with a particular star

Operator: has:yellow-star has:red-star has:orange-star, etc

Example: has:purple-star from:david

Meaning: Messages from David that are marked with a purple star

Specify recipients in the cc: or bcc: fields

Operator: cc: bcc:

Example: cc:david

Meaning: Messages that were cc-ed to David

(Search on bcc: cannot retrieve messages on which you were blind carbon copied)

Search for messages during a certain period of time (use date format: yyyy/mm/dd)

Operator: after: before:

Example: after:2004/04/16 before:2004/04/18

Meaning: Messages sent between April 16, 2004 and April 18. 2004

Search for chat messages

Operator: is:chat

Example: is:chat monkey

Meaning: any chat message including the work "monkey"

Search for messages within a particular email address in the Delivered-To line of the message header

Operator: deliveredto:


Meaning: Any message with 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)

Search for messages that were sent from someone who you added to a particular Google+ circle

Operator: circle:

Example: circle:friends

Meaning: Any message that was sent by a person in your "Friends" circle

Example: 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 includes quotes, add a back slash immediately before the quotes.

Search for all messages that were sent from someone who you added to your Google+ circles

Operator: has:circle

Example: has:circle

Meaning: Any messages that was sent by a person in any of your circles

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