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How do I narrow down search results? What are Search Operators?

posted Jul 25, 2013, 10:16 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Aug 26, 2013, 4:15 PM ]

The best way to narrow down your search results is with search operators. Search operators are special words with specific formatting that you can add to your search to significantly filter out results. Here are some search operators that can help you narrow down your Gmail search results:

To: From: and CC:

gmail advanced search to from cc resized 600
This is the most common of Gmail search types. In the search bar type "to:" and then start typing a name or address for auto-complete to kick-in. Select the name, press the space bar and type in a keyword or two. It works for to:, From: and cc:.

- minus

gmail advanced search minus sign
Use the minus (or dash) key to designate words you want eliminated from results. 

before: after: 

gmail advanced search before after
Use to set a date range. Note that the format when searching Gmail is YYYY/MM/DD.


gmail advanced search has attachment
Includes messages that only have attachments or whatever you specify. Can be combined with the above to show all attachments to or from a person. Start by typing "has" and check the dropwdown for additional options.

filename: PDF 

gmail advanced search part of filename
If you are looking for a specific file or file type you can include the filename: tag. Our example returns all PDF files. 


gmail advanced search with labels
This will search within labels in Gmail (also referred to as folders) Tags like in:Spam, in:trash or in:anywhere will include these labels which are not set by default.

is:unread is:read is:starred is:chat

gmail advanced search is starred read more
You can search the status of a message with the "is:" operator. This is helpful to search Google Chat messages as well by using the "is:" chat operator. Find all unread messages in Gmail quickly with just the "is:unread" search operator.

A full list of search operators as well as keyboard shortcuts can be found here.