A few Simple and Powerful Gmail Inbox Search Queries

Gmail recently opened up the ability to write and run search queries with inbox search. This post will help you learn a few simple queries to search your inbox with razor like precision, effortlessly sort tons of unread email or pull up past email conversations in an instant.

I recommend trying these queries out for your self to understand how they work, click here to open your inbox in a new window.

#1. Your coworker sent you a presentation in the recent work-week and since then it has been buried beneath fresh email. Simply search for emails from john@doe.net with an attachment as follows:

from:john@doe.net has:attachment

This will pull up only those emails from John with an attachment to help you narrow down your view.

#2. You’ve been getting daily website reports and you’ve put off reviewing some of them for until later. You recall that the subject line had your website sukshma.net in it. We create this search query with the qualifier for the subject line ‘subject:’ and a label for unread email as follows,

subject:sukshma.net label:unread

This will pull up all unread emails with sukshma.net in the subject line allowing you to finish your review and save the day.

#3. You’d like to mark all conversations from any one of several associates you are working with as important, or perhaps file them under a custom gmail label.

from:{partner1@void.net partner2@void.net}

The curly braces here help group the addresses together and tells gmail that either address is a good match. Learn more about how this technique works here. You could also use the more explicit way of writing the same query if you find this easier –

from:partner1@void.net OR partner2@void.net.

#4. You want to see all emails addressed directly to you that also mentions your customer mycustomer. Do it as follows,

to:jane@void.net mycustomer

You can use the same idea with the qualifiers ‘cc’, or ‘bcc’.

This version will also work and is easier,

to:me mycustomer

#5. If you’ve not used labels extensively, your email folders – such as inbox, sent mail, unread, favorites, important are all essentially a label. To view all your drafts, type the query out as follows:

label:drafts

While this one might save you just a click, it’s valuable if you’ve been auto-filtering or categorizing your incoming emails under custom labels such as “discounts” or “event invitations”.

#6. No list would be complete without learning how to negate conditions. Let’s say I’d like to see all unread email and not include automated mailing list clutter. If I’ve setup a gmail filter to auto-tag mailing list notifications to the label “mailing list”, then by adding the ‘-‘ sign I can exclude all emails that have been tagged ‘mailing-list’ as follows,

label:unread -label:mailing-list

What you’ll get is all your unread email without the clutter.

This is it for now, do leave me a comment if you are looking for help with gmail queries and I’ll get back as soon as I can. Try your hand at more queries here. For an exhaustive list of search filters, try this link on about.com.

Eagerly Awaiting the Monsoons

Kundan Park continues to get through the summer on water drawn from borewell contaminated with e-coli. I’m not sure how many food poisoning cases were a direct result of this.

Thanks to the shakeup from to the reduced water supply I learned a couple of things. We’re getting less water than we ought to get for a building of our size. As the flats above the 2nd floor in Kundan park are still ‘illegal’ – the PMC has not granted additional water to our building. That additional water could have obviated the need for residents to rely on digging an additional borewell and installing a submerged pump.

The groundwater drawn was clean initially. After a couple of days it turned yellow and stank to high heaven. Lab test results confirmed that the water had higher than normal levels of e-coli.

Of course, we’ve been extremely careful with the water we’re using for our toddler. The residents here are also considering a central UV filtration unit. All this can be frustrating at times and I’m wondering what will fix this.

Monsoons are predicted to arrive in Maharashtra around June 7th while investigative reporters are wondering if the whole idea of water cuts was botched in the first place.

How is your water supply working out?

A Brave Face on Satyamev Jayate

Immense respect for Aamir Khan for taking on core social issues that plague India. I agree with Mausim Ummedi of Burhanpur – by removing societal pressure of having a big Indian wedding off the minds of families across social stratas, things will get incredibly easier for newlyweds to enter into wedlock. Our thinking needs to change to allow them to start their lives without the overarching feeling that they must have a lavish wedding first. This could in turn reduce dowry related abuse and definitely eliminate unnecessary debt – debt that is absolutely inessential in middle-class lives.

It isn’t enough to simply talk about dowry related abuse. Aamir also highlighted ‘fearless’ Nadia’s (Rani Tripathi) sting to expose the parents of a boy who were pressurizing Rani’s father into giving dowry in the form of cash and a car. Rani convinced her brother and father to video tape and display the boys parents’ demands. To me, she demonstrated our inherent but rare human potential to rise up and butt heads with whatever the challenge might be.

Perhaps in the not too distant future, parents in India will realize that weddings are an opportunity to bring together two lives and impart a running start to their kids. Not just to invite everyone and anyone who’s weddings they have attended in the past. A lavish wedding that aligns with their society’s, or community’s requirements should be the last things on their minds.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqlzA8MwZBg]

Keep Calm and Carry On

I’ve achieved significant personal milestones this week. I am now free of hard debts that I accumulated over time with family. I love you guys for helping me out when I needed you – and I realized I wouldn’t amount to much if I didn’t make that extra effort to pay you back.

My son is now a year old. Between all the nappy changes, hard work on his walking, crawling and the midnight walks around our house as he drifted back to sleep – I have no idea how time has gone by so quickly.

As a Dad busy slicing time between work and home – reminding myself about my aspirations to be a good father first has been difficult and worked out well so far.

I stumbled upon this honest post by Alexis Ohanian, Cofounder of Reddit on his personal story at the time he was building Reddit in YCombinator, Boston. In the middle of incredibly rough weather, Alexis found strength in what he was creating to see things through. This is one post I will want to keep coming back to.