How to Use Gmail’s Advanced Search Features

Wouldn’t it be great if you could banish all those annoying newsletters and marketing emails from your inbox forever? Deleting these emails takes a lot of your time but if you start using advanced search operators, you could find the email you’re looking for right away.

Inbox is the source of your information. However, not all of them are equally important for your business. Luckily, Gmail has a few features that might help you manage your inbox successfully and find what you need without a problem.

So, what are the advanced search features that every Gmail user should know about? We bring you an overview of those you simply can’t afford to ignore anymore.

Gmail’s Advanced Search Features

Gmail has a truly robust search utility, but most of us never even tried to use it when it comes to our emails. Whatever the reason for not using it might be, it’s time to reconsider it and learn more about these great features in your Gmail account.

You know how great search engine Google is, so it’s only natural to expect that the Gmail search features will be the same. Losing an email won’t be a nightmare anymore once you learn how to utilize Gmail’s search.

Once you learn how to maximize the benefits of these features, you’ll notice how much time you will save with it, not to mention you will know every corner of your Gmail account.

How to Use Gmail Search Features

You’re using your Gmail account on a daily basis, but you probably are not even aware of how powerful Gmail search features actually are. Did you know that you can filter your emails by those that have and don’t have an attachment? Whatever you remember about that certain email you’re looking for at the moment, Gmail already has a search feature for that.

You will see many search parameters there. Any information you remember about that email can be added to one of the suggested parameters:

  • From (who sent the email)
  • To (who received the email)
  • Subject (name of the email subject)
  • Has the words (any words you remember from the email content)
  • Doesn’t have (what this email doesn’t contain)
  • Has an attachment (tick the box if the subject had attached documents)
  • Don’t include chats (tick the box to exclude chat conversations)
  • Size (choose the size of the email measured in MB, KB or bytes)
  • Date within (choose the time range from one day to one year)
  • Search (choose the folder which you want to include)

Once you’ve added the information above, click on the blue search button. Below, you will see the email you were looking for. If you don’t see it, it could mean you’ve chosen the wrong folders in the “Search” field. In that case, Gmail will provide you with the information where that email is placed within your account e.g. “Trash” or “Promotion.”

Just press on the “View messages” right next to that information, and you will find the email you are seeking. When you find the email, you can place it back to your inbox or any other folder you want.

Gmail Search Operators

All these Gmail advanced search features are very helpful with your daily email communication, but there are other features you can enjoy with your Gmail account. One of them is Gmail search operators, which serve as shortcuts to advanced Gmail search box. If you want to skip going through all these fields, you can simply use Gmail search operators and type them directly in your search bar.

List of Useful Gmail Search Operators

Here are the shortcuts to above-mentioned parameters you can type in the search bar:

  • -(term) – excluding email messages with that specified e.g. –report
  • (term or phrase) – searching for a specific word or phrase e.g. monthly analysis
  • +(word) – searching for email messages with the exact word e.g. +billing
  • After:(date) – searching for email messages sent on or after the specified date e.g. After: 2019/30/3
  • Before:(date) – searching for email messages sent before the specified date e.g. Before: 2019/30/3
  • Bcc:(name) – searching for email messages you sent that blind copied the specific name e.g. Bcc:Jessica
  • CC:(name) – searching for email messages you sent that carbon copied the specific name e.g. CC:Marc
  • Category:(category name) – searching for email messages in selected category e.g. Category:Promotions
  • Filename:(name of file) or (type of file) – searching for a particular file or type of file attachment e.g. Filename:pdf
  • In:(folder) or (label) – searching for email messages in that folder or label e.g. In:Drafts
  • Subject:(word) or (phrase) – searching for email messages with that word or phrase e.g. Subject:Monthly Report
  • In:anywhere – searching for email messages in all of the folders in your Gmail account

These are just a few of many Gmail search operators which will save you time when you need to find that one email right away. Whether you choose to search through the parameters or operators, the results of your Gmail advanced search will always be the same.

The Downside of Gmail Search Operators

There’s no doubt that Gmail search operators will save you time, but there’s just one little thing you need to consider before using them. Do you have a Gmail account? If so, you can freely enjoy all these search operators and make the most of them.

But, if you have an IMAP account which is configured in the Gmail app, don’t expect the same level of accuracy as with Gmail accounts. The search operators feature will function, but the results will not be very accurate.

When you learn how to utilize Google search, it will be very easy for you to stay organized. For instance, if you’re currently working on a long-term project and want to read all the emails you received and sent about it, you can filter only those emails and get all the information you need.

If you’re uncertain if you received an application from a certain job candidate, you can insert his or her name or an email address in the search box and check if it ended in a “Spam” or “Trash” folder.

Maybe you bought a new laptop and noticed you don’t have the analysis you need to continue working on for that long-term project. You can simply use Gmail filters and list your emails with attachments or even add the name of it, if you remember.

As the number of mobile users is constantly growing, we’re developing a habit of opening our business and personal emails on our smartphones. Being able to communicate with your colleagues and clients while you’re away from your office is beneficial in so many ways. But, what happens with Gmail search on your mobile phone?

Well, that’s where Gmail search operators save your life! You have to insert them into the search bar and your Gmail account will list result below the search bar. It’s important to know that, unfortunately, you can’t enjoy the advanced search box as you can on your desktop Gmail. There are no search parameters for you to choose from, and your only option is using the operators to find what you need.

Final Thoughts

We mostly love Gmail because of its generous storage space, but now that you know its outstanding potential when it comes to Gmail advanced search features, it’s time to put these features into work!

Your days can be much more productive if you don’t have to spend 10 or 20 minutes hopelessly looking for an important email. Not to mention that you will probably give up eventually even though that same email has been sitting in any of your folders.

With these features, Gmail allows you to truly be efficient not just when typing your emails, but also when catching up with a certain project or double-checking if you received an email you’re waiting for.

Don’t ignore this enormous potential and make the most of the advanced search, whether it’s through the options that are listed when you click on the triangle in your search bar or through search operators listed in our article.

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