Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Search Mail in Gmail

The School District of Janesville provides Gmail and Google Apps for all staff and students – the same Gmail and Google Apps that parents, community members, and the general public has access too – but with an educational focus.  Working within Gmail and Google Apps, finding e-mails and files is a breeze if you know the basics of file management, and realize that it is specifically designed for searching rather than sorting.  Here are a few tips and tricks to use your Gmail account effectively.   
Search, Don't Sort.  What?
Unlike some other mail programs, Gmail and Google Apps are designed to keep everything and then to Search for what you are looking for.  Many of us have 100’s if not 1,000’s of emails, so searching can produce too many results.  The key is to do it smartly, using clever search operators; your search is narrowed significantly and can become precise.
Who?The most important search term most likely has something to do with who you sent an e-mail to, or who sent the message to you. By typing a word that you’re looking for and then amending the search with from: or to: you can narrow your search to specific people. For example, searching for e-mails about robots from John you could type:
robots from:John
Where?One of my favorite advanced search features is the ability to snoop through different folders within your in-box. You can search just your in-box, trash or even your spam folder, if you’re so inclined. The way you do this is to type your search term and then add the words in: followed by the folder you hope to search.
Racecar in:spam
What?Another useful way to cull your in-box is being able to search for e-mails specifically with attachments. To do this, you can simply type a sender’s name and add has:attachment to the end of the search.
from:nick has:attachment
If you know the name of the attachment, you can search for that too:
filename:robots.txt
When?Time is always of the essence with e-mails, and searching for them with dates can be useful. To do this in Gmail, add the words after: or before: followed by the date you want to search:
David’s Birthday after:2010/05/01
Gmail Search Operators
In the Search Mail field, you can use the following operators:
  • subject: - Search the Subject line.
    Example: "subject:bahamas" finds all messages with "bahamas" in the Subject.
  • from: - Search Gmail for sender name and email address. Partial addresses are okay.
    Examples: "from:heinz" finds all messages from "heinz@example.com", but also all messages from "your.heinz@example.com"; "from:me" finds all messages sent by yourself (using anyaddress set up for use in Gmail).
  • to: - Search the To line for names and addresses.
    Example: "to:quertyuiop@gmail.com" finds all messages sent directly (not via Cc: or Bcc:) toquertyuiop@gmail.com.
  • cc: - Search recipients in the Cc field.
    Example: "cc:quertyuiop@gmail.com" finds all messages that were sent toquertyuiop@gmail.com as a carbon copy.
  • bcc: - Search Gmail for addresses and names in the Bcc field. Note this only works with emails you sent to Bcc recipients from Gmail.
    Example: "bcc:heinz" finds all messages that you sent with, for example, "hein@example.com" in the Bcc field.

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