12 Useful Gmail Search Tips to Improve Your Productivity

Like many of you, I’ve been happily using Gmail for years. While there are many things to like about it, one feature in particular has always impressed: search. It’s no surprise that Google would add powerful search features to their email system, but there are many great features that go largely unnoticed.

12 Useful Gmail Search Tips

Let’s take a look 12 useful gmail search tips so you can get the most out of this awesome email service.

Search for Important Emails

Gmail has long been really great at understanding patterns where you consistently open up and read/respond to emails from certain senders. As those patterns build, Gmail will tag these emails as “important” with a yellow arrow above the sender’s name. Inside Gmail, it says: “Important according to Google Magic.”

Use Gmail Search Tips Important

To find these emails: inside the search box, type: “search query is:important.” If they are unread, you can also do: “search query is:important is:unread.” Make sure both of those queries are typed together to find both important and unread emails.

Search Attachments

Use Gmail Search Tips Has Attachment

This one feels pretty self-explanatory, as it will find all of your emails that contain attachments. This could be anything from a picture to a document to a book. To activate this search, type “has:attachment.” If you are looking for attachments from any one person, you can do “from:name has:attachment.” You can even add the filename or its extension (.pdf, .doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.) to get results that are more exact.

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Search Large Files

Use Gmail Search Tips Large File

This is another one that is pretty self-explanatory, but, in this instance, you are looking for any emails that include large files. To start your search, just type “size:xx” where the “xx” represents whatever number you are trying to find for a file size. This is especially useful if you want to locate large files that can be deleted so you can free up space in your inbox.

Search Emails from Specific Person

Use Gmail Search Tips Find Name

You know those times when you cannot find the emails from your boss, teacher or furniture store from a week prior? Gmail makes them easy to find. Just type “from:persons name” and wait for the results to appear on the screen.

Search Exact Words and Phrases

Use Gmail Search Tips Find Name

Searching for phrases is another incredibly easy thing to do inside Gmail. All you have to do is include quotation marks around the intended word or phrase. For example: if you want to search for “dinner with Mom,” type in that phrase, then search and find your result. Note that you can also use this method with other search functions on this list to find an even more exact result if your word search or phrase is more common.

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Search by Subject Line

Searching emails by subject line is incredibly easy. Type “subject:” followed by whatever word, phrase or name you would like to find. Any subject line that contains that word or phrase will appear in your search result. To help make it a little easier, Gmail magic will provide what it believes are the most relevant results.

Search Labeled or Unlabeled Emails

Use Gmail Search Tips User Labels

Labels are one of the most useful aspects of Gmail and very much what folders are to Outlook. Using them can help keep you super organized, which makes this search all the more useful. To search any email that has a label, search “has:userlabels,” and you will find every email that has a label.

For example if you search “label:onlyinfotech,” and every email from my communication with the onlyinfotech team will show up in the results.

Search Emails from a Certain Time Period

Use Gmail Search Tips Date Search

All too often you know around a general time frame of when an email was sent or received, but not the exact day. Fear not, as Gmail easily allows searches by a specific time period. You can use one of four searches including “after,” “before,” “older” and “newer.” In other words, you can set up a search that looks like “after:1/31/2020 before:3/1/2020,” resulting in emails from February.

Unsubscribe to Newsletters

Use Gmail Search Tips Unsub

One of the most important ways you can use Gmail search is to stop all of those pesky newsletters that arrive every day. Type “label:^unsub” and you will find any email that has an unsubscribe option. From here, you can go through every newsletter and begin unsubscribing at your leisure.

Search All Photos

Use Gmail Search Tips Search Image

Similar to searching attachments, there is a more specific search query to find any email that includes an image. Enter “filename:jpg” and start your search. You can also replace jpg with png, gif or jpeg to get a different set of results if necessary.

Search in Folders

Should you want to do a quick search of your inbox, sent emails or trash, you can easily do that. Type “in:foldername” and perform your search. If you want to look in your sent folder, your search would look like “in:sent onlyinfotech.”

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Search Drive Attachment

If your business uses G Suite and frequently sends files from Google Drive, you should know there are several search operators for specific Drive attachments. “has: drive” will show you any emails with any Drive-related attachment, while “has: document” is specific to documents, “has: spreadsheet” is for spreadsheets, and “has: presentation” is for slideshow presentations.

Wrapping Up

Using the same Gmail search function, you can also sort your Gmail Inbox by sender or subject. And don’t forget to check out these Gmail features to improve your email experience.

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