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Gmail Search master, no force necessary

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While email is an incredibly helpful tool, there are some minor annoyances that keep popping up.

Chances are you receive dozens of emails a day, most of which just sit in your inbox. Sure, there’s the really organized user who has a million folders, but most of us don’t. This can be a bit of a pain when you try to find an email from several months ago. If you’re a Gmail user however, you have a powerful search bar that you can use to find emails with greater ease.

If you’re like most people, your Gmail inbox and basic folders will be full of thousands of emails. When you’re searching for a message, it can often feel like looking for two runaway droids on a sparsely populated desert planet – in other words, pretty darn difficult! Did you know what there are a number of advanced terms you can use in the search bar to make it easier to find the dro…err email you’re looking for? Here’s eight tips to help you go from Gmail Search Padawan to Master.

To/From/Or: If you’re looking for an email, and you know who you sent it to or received it from, you can enter:

    • to:name – This will search your email for messages you have sent to users by the name you type in e.g., to:Owen. You can also use the full email address if you have more than one contact with the same name.
    • from:name – This will search for emails you have received from the name you insert.
  • AND – You can use an AND statement to look for more than one person at the same time. For example, you are looking for an email from Biggs that you forwarded to Luke. You would enter: from:Biggs AND to:Luke and Gmail will search for emails that meet the requirements. Note: AND must be in caps.

Subject: Say you are looking for an email where you know the subject line. You would entersubject:Subject Line e.g., subject:Death Star.

Label: Gmail doesn’t follow a traditional file system, instead you apply Labels to emails for easy sorting. Much like a normal file system, Labels can get a little out of hand, which may make it harder to sort through email. You can narrow down searches by entering: label:label name e.g.,label:Stormtrooper complaints.

Has:attachment If you are looking for an email that has an attachment, you can enter:has:attachment. To take it one step further, entering from:name has:attachment will return emails from that user with attachments e.g., from:Bothans has:attachment.

“words” The use of double quotes “text” in the Search bar will return results that are only exact matches to the term entered e.g., “The droids we are looking for” will return emails with that exact phrase.

() Rounded brackets have two uses in Gmail Search:

    1. To group words together. Putting words between the brackets with a space between them will tell Gmail to search for emails that contain those words, but not in any order. e.g., Subject:(Wookie Endor) will search for emails with the subject line that contains the words Wookie and Endor.
  1. Words that shouldn’t be excluded. If you put words in between the brackets separated with an OR statement, Gmail will search for emails that contain those words. e.g.,from:Han (Chewie OR falcon) will return emails from Han that contain the words Chewie or falcon.

in:inbox/spam/trash/anywhere You can set which files in which to search for emails by putting: in:file. For example: In:spam from:Jabba will search for emails from Jabba in the spam folder.

has:yellow-star;red-star;blue-star, etc. If you use different stars to indicate a level of importance, or anything else, you can search for emails that have been assigned different stars. You can use any of the star colors, bangs, checks. as long as there is a hyphen that takes the place of the space in the name e.g., has:orange-star will return all emails with an orange star.

You can find out more about using stars in Gmail here.

+ The way Google has engineered Search (Google Search and Gmail Search) is that it will usually show results with similar words. For example: searching for Ship will return results for Ship, Ships, etc. If you want Gmail to search for exact words, use a + before the word e.g.,+blast.

These terms can teach you how to become a Gmail master, and help you find what you need. If you would like to learn more about Gmail and how your organization can benefit from it, please contact us.

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