Looking for an important file or message among endless emails in your inbox is no fun, especially if you need it right before a meeting starts. You’ve tried using the basic search box at the top of Gmail and found that it didn’t help either. Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up 6 search operators that will help you sort through your inbox to get what you need in a jiffy.
1. Where did I put that file?
Looking for a file your colleagues sent you ages ago? Don’t remember the file’s specific name but do you recall some keywords? That’s a good start. Simply type a keyword after the filename: to search for a particular file. For example, you can type filename: minutes to search for a file named meeting minutes. Don’t even remember a part of the name but know what type of file it is? Then you can also use the same search operator to search for a file type. For example, type filename: doc to search for document files.
2. CC or BCC
There are times when you want to narrow down the recipients: whether they are direct, carbon copy (cc), or blind carbon copy (bcc) receivers. The basic “To” search boxes are proven to be useless in this case. To be more specific, you can type cc: or bcc: followed by the recipients’ names or email addresses. For example, instead of typing “anna” in the “To” search box, you can type cc: anna to look for an email sent to Anna as a carbon copy (cc) only. Note that you won’t be able to find messages that you received on bcc.
3. Search by time period
You don’t have to remember the exact dates to be able to search for a specific email. With the search operators before: or after:, you can just type the period when the email is sent or received. Don’t forget to use the date format yyyy/mm/dd, otherwise, Gmail wouldn’t get it. By typing after 2016/07/01before: 2016/07/15, Gmail will look for emails sent or received between July 1, 2016and July 15, 2016.
4. Search for read, unread, or starred messages
You can search for messages that are read, unread, or starred by using is: read, is: unread, is: starred. By typing is: read is: starred from Anna you are searching for messages from Anna that have been read and marked with a star. If you have more than one type of star (or if you don’t, we suggest you learn how to manage your emails with Gmail’s stars option), you can type has a green star to search for messages marked with that color.
5. Don’t ignore Spam or Trash
Whether using the simple search box or search operators suggested above, both ignore emails that are in Spam or Trash box. And from time to time, important emails can mistakably be thrown into the Trash box for some unknown reasons. Use in: anywhere to look everywhere in your inbox, including those two places, to make sure that no important email has slipped through.