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:


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.