Since I switched my email to Google Apps I actually use the web interface almost exclusively. And I often find myself searching for emails. Fortunately Gmail has powerful search criteria, so finding the message I’m looking for is generally quite quick.
The Official Gmail Blog provides a few tips in a recent post:
But the real power of Gmail search lies in search operators — words that help modify your queries. Search operators work pretty much the same way within Gmail as they do for Google. So, if I want the email Lisa sent me with her flight information so I know when to pick her up at the airport, I type from:lisa SFO. Likewise:
- A link from my co-worker Michael: from:michael http
- A photo from my mom: from:mom has:attachment
- That last chat I had with one of the Gmail product managers: keith is:chat
- All messages from ebay that aren’t outbid notices: ebay -outbid (the hyphen tells Gmail to return all of the messages that don’t contain the word that follows it)
- The messages in my inbox sent directly to me that I haven’t read yet: to:me is:unread in:inbox
You can limit the scope of your search to a particular subject (subject:) or label (label:) as well.
[Via Official Gmail Blog: How to find any email with Gmail search.]
I have some searches, for unread mailing list messages that I’ve tied to a TextExpander shortcut, for example, typing
ztnew gets me label:unread -label:pending tidbits and
zwnew gets me label:unread -label:pending wisewomen.
Gmail’s a stunning success for me — storage space, IMAP, spam filters, threaded conversations are all winners.