There are many features of Gmail that make it my favourite. One is its powerful search. But there are searches I want to use frequently, such as:
all unread emails not labelled 'today'.
Repeatedly typing those search terms into the web interface could be a nuisance:
label:unread -label:today. That’s why the Quick Links item in Google Labs is one of my all-time favourites. One click and I can call up that particular set of emails.
Here’s how to streamline your email searches in Gmail’s web interface.
Enable Quick Links
Google Labs offers many experimental features. One called Quick Links makes it possible to save searches.
Note: if you use Google Apps for domains your email administrator may have disabled the Labs feature. Contact your institution’s Helpdesk to discuss your options.
- In Gmail’s web interface click on the green ‘beaker’ icon (next to the Settings link) at the top of the window. Google Labs opens.
- Scroll down until you find
Quick Linksand click the
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the
Save Changesbutton. Quick Links is now enabled. When you return to the main listing of emails you should see a box labelled ‘Quick Links’ in the left sidebar.
How to save a search to Quick Links
- Use the email search box beside the Gmail logo near the top of the window. Enter search terms and click the
Search Mailbutton to carry out the search. In my screenshot I used the following search terms:
label:b-sundry-lists label:unread. That search finds all unread items labelled with
b-sundry-lists, a label selectively applied by a couple of filters as my emails arrive.
- Click the
Add Quick Linkitem at the bottom of the Quick Links box in the sidebar. A window appears.
- If you wish, replace the default text with something meaningful to you. I used a shorter version of my search:
- Click the
OKbutton. The search is saved and appears in a list inside the ‘Quick Links’ box in the sidebar.
How to use a saved search
I almost never look at my Inbox. Instead I use a saved search for all unread emails that don’t have a particular label (
today label lets me save items for action, and messages with that label may be read or unread. I don’t want to see them when I’m scanning freshly arrived messages.
Ages ago I saved a search I called
unread –today. When I click that search in the Quick Links box all the emails I do actually want to see are displayed.
My screenshot shows part of a listing of all unread emails with the label
Move the Quick Links box
I use several of these saved searches all the time, and prefer the Quick Links box to be near the top of the window.
To move the Quick Links box drag it by the title bar to the position where you want it.
Note that you can also drag other sidebar boxes around if you like. Unfortunately they don’t stay put if you close the Gmail window (or quit Mailplane, the excellent application I use on my Mac for Gmail).
How do you use Gmail’s saved searches? Any handy tips? Tell us in the Comments.