Familiar? I’d switch to Gmail, but I’d miss Outlook features.

Gmail has more Outlook-like features than you may realize.

Those on GMAIL, especially those missing features of Outlook, you can search in ways you probably didn’t realize – including date ranges, sizes, header only content and more.

There is an option in the “search” field at the top of your Gmail inbox to make it work harder to find what you need. These utilize advanced search operators. These 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. They may take some testing and practice, but you may want to bookmark this post for later use when you forget what they are. After you do them a few times, they will make more sense and you’ll remember your favorites.

You can also refine your search by clicking the arrow in the search box.

refine filters in gmail
Operator
Definition
Examples
from:
Used to specify the sender
Example: from:amy Meaning: Messages from Amy
to:
Used to specify a recipient
Example: to:david Meaning: All messages that were sent to Yvonne (by you or someone else)
subject:
Search for words in the subject line
Example: subject:dinner Meaning: Messages that have the word “geek” in the subject
OR
Search for messages matching term A or term B* *OR must be in all caps
Example: from:yvonne OR from:sheryl Meaning: Messages from Yvonne or from Sheryl
(hyphen)
Used to exclude messages from your search
Example: responsive -theme Meaning: Messages that contain the word “responsive” but do not contain the word “theme”
label:
Search for messages by label
Example: from:lyle label:brambier Meaning: Messages from Lyle that have the label “brambier”
Example: from:genevieve label:new-business Meaning: Messages from Genevieve that have the label “New Business”
has:attachment
Search for messages with an attachment
Example: from:dale has:attachment Meaning: Messages from Dale that have an attachment
list:
Search for messages on mailing lists
Example: list:dale@terbush.com Meaning: Messages with the words dale@terbush.com in the headers, sent to or from this list
filename:
Search for an attachment by name or type
Example:filename:access.txt Meaning: Messages with an attachment named “access.txt”Example: label:lwv filename:pdf
Meaning: Messages labeled “lwv” that also have a PDF file as an attachment
” ” (quotes)
Used to search for an exact phrase* *Capitalization isn’t taken into consideration
Example: “artlit meeting” Meaning: Messages containing the phrase “artlit meeting” or “ArtLit Meeting”
Example: subject:”Free Broker School” Meaning: Messages containing the phrase “free broker school” in the subject
( )
Used to group words Used to specify terms that shouldn’t be excluded
Example: from:amy (dinner OR movie) Meaning: Messages from Amy that contain either 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”
in:anywhere
Search for messages anywhere in Gmail* *Messages in Spam and Trash are excluded from searches by default
Example: in:anywhere binky Meaning: Messages in All Mail, Spam, and Trash that contain the word “binky”
in:inbox in:trash in:spam
Search for messages in Inbox, Trash, or Spam
Example: in:trash from:yvonne Meaning: Messages from Yvonne that are in Trash
is:important label:important
Search within messages that Priority Inbox considers important.
Example: is:important from:james Meaning: Messages from James that were marked as important by Priority Inbox
is:starred is:unread is:read
Search for messages that are starred, unread, or read
Example: is:read is:starred from:Damon Meaning: Messages from Damon that have been read and are marked with a star
has:yellow-star has:red-star has:orange-star has:green-star has:blue-star has:purple-star has:red-bang has:orange-guillemet has:yellow-bang has:green-check has:blue-info has:purple-question
Search for messages with a particular star
Example: has:purple-star from:Erika Meaning: Messages from Erika that are marked with a purple star
cc: bcc:
Used to specify recipients in the cc: or bcc: fields* *Search on bcc: cannot retrieve messages on which you were blind carbon copied
Example: cc:anthony Meaning: Messages that were cc-ed to Anthony
after: before: older: newer:
Search for messages sent or received during a certain period of time (using the date format yyyy/mm/dd)
Example: after:2013/04/16 before:2014/04/18 Meaning: Messages sent between April 16, 2013 and April 18, 2014.* *More precisely: Messages sent after 12:00 AM (or 00:00) April 16, 2013 and before April 18, 2014.
older_than newer_than
Similar to older and newer, but allows relative dates using d,m, and y for day,month, and year
Example: newer_than:2d Meaning: Finds messages sent within the last two days.
is:chat
Search for chat messages
Example: is:chat monkey Meaning: Any chat message including the word “monkey.”
deliveredto:
Search for messages within a particular email address in the Delivered-To line of the message header
Example:deliveredto:username@gmail.com Meaning: Any message with username@gmail.com 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).
circle:
Search for messages that were sent from someone who you added to a particular Google+ circle
Example: circle:friends Meaning: Any message that was sent by a person in your “Friends” circle.
Examples: 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 include quotes, add a back slash immediately before the quotes.
has:circle
Search for all messages that were sent from someone who you added to your Google+ circles
Example: has:circle Meaning: Any message that was sent by a person in any of your circles.
category:
Search for messages within a category
Example: category:updates Meaning: All messages in the Updates category.
Example: category:social Mindy Meaning: Messages in the Social category that include “Mindy.”
size:
Search for messages larger than the specified size in bytes
Example: size:1000000 Meaning: All messages larger than 1MB (1,000,000 bytes) in size.
larger: smaller:
Similar to size: but allows abbreviations for numbers
Example: larger:10M Meaning: All messages of at least 10M bytes (10,000,000 bytes) in size.
+ (plus sign)
Match the search term exactly
Example: +unicorn Meaning: Finds messages containing “unicorn” but not “unicorns” or “unicorn”
rfc822msgid:
Find a message by the message-id header
Example:rfc822msgid:200503292@example.com Meaning: Locates the exact message with the specified SMTP message-id. Learn more about headers.
has:userlabels has:nouserlabels
Search for messages that have and have not had labels that you created applied to them. NOTE: Gmail applies labels to individual messages, not to conversation threads.
Example: has:nouserlabels Meaning: Finds all messages without any of your own labels (excludes automatic labels like inbox, spam, and trash). Since Gmail applies labels to individual messages, you might see results that appear to have labels; in this case, another message in the same conversation thread has had a label applied to it.

Boolean operators

You can use boolean operators such as ‘OR’ when searching in Gmail.

For example, to look for messages from username@gmail.com and messages that contain the subject line ‘Meeting reminder’, you can enter ‘username@gmail.com OR meeting reminder’ in your Gmail search box.

Using these along with Gmail’s advanced operators can be a great way of making your search criteria more powerful.

The ‘or’ function in Gmail is represented by ‘OR,’ and the ‘not’ function is represented by a minus (-). You also can use quotes (” “) to specify an exact phrase.