Gmail advanced search parameters

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 15, 2012
Email, Gmail

Google's email service Gmail, or Google Mail, supports a variety of advanced search parameters which have not been documented that well until now. Recently it became known for instance that emails can be filtered by size using the size: parameter in the search form on the Gmail website.

Google today announced that all Gmail advanced search parameters are now available on a Searching Gmail support page. This includes the size parameter, but also additional parameters such as "older than" to find emails that are older than the specified age or "larger" which does the same as the size parameter.

Here is a short list of the most important advanced search parameters that you can use to search your emails on the Gmail website:

  • from: - find emails from a specific sender
  • to: - find emails sent to a specific recipient
  • subject: - search for words in subject lines
  • label: - search for messages by label
  • has:attachment - display only messages with attachments
  • filename: - search for attachments by name or filetype
  • in:anywhere - search anywhere included spam and trash folders which are by default excluded from the search results.
  • is:starred, is:unread, is:read - search for messages that are starred, unread or read
  • cc:, bcc: - search for recipients listed in cc or bcc fields
  • after:, before:, older:, newer: - search for messages in a specific period of time using the format yyyy/mm/dd
  • is:chat - search for chat messages
  • size: search for messages larger than a specified size
  • larger:, smaller: - like size, but may use size abbreviations, e.g. 1MB for 1 million bytes.
  • rfc822msgid: - find messages by message header id

The search parameters are most effective when used in combination with search terms. You can for instance search for emails that are larger than a specified size sent by a particular contact of yours, or only last year's emails that you received from a company. Parameters can also be combined, for instance to find all images larger than 10 Megabyte that have been sent before 2009: size:10m older_than:3y.

The support page lists additional search parameters and examples for each parameter which demonstrate how a particular parameter can be used in searches on the Gmail site.


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  1. Ovidiu said on November 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Can you help me figure out a search? I’d like to search for all emails newer:2011/01/01 older:2012/01/01 inside the label:Finance but that search doesn’t pick up anything that is inside a nested label, say: label:/Finance/Insurance

    any idea how to do that?

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