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How to search your mail
To find a message, type one or more keywords into the "Search mail" box in the mail toolbar and hit enter. By default, all folders except Spam and Trash will be searched. If you are currently in the Spam or Trash folder, then just that folder will be searched instead.
We also provide convenience filters in the folder view: "All mail", "Unread", "Personal", "Notifications", "Mailing lists".
- All mail: shows you all the mail in the current folder (clears any existing filters).
- Unread: shows you any unread messages in the current folder.
- Personal: shows mail that aren't notifications from common sites, or from mailing lists.
- Notifications: shows mail to you from popular social media sites notifying you of activity.
- Mailing lists: shows mail to you from mailing lists. Handy if you are looking to cut back on unwanted spam mail: use this to work out which companies you want to unsubscribe from.
If you're having trouble finding what you're looking for, you can create a more precise search using our advanced search builder:
- Focus the search bar at the top of the page.
- Select the "Advanced search…" option from the menu that appears.
This allows you to look for the keywords in specific places (for example the
Subject fields), set the date range you want to search and specify whether the email must be unread or pinned, or have a particular type of attachment.
After performing a search, the search term appears in the sidebar on the left of the screen. Click the "Save" button next to the search term to save it for quick reuse.
You can build detailed searches directly in the mail search box, by combining options.
Searching particular folders
By default, all folders will be searched except Spam and Trash. You can include these folders as well by adding
in:* to your search. You can also use the
in keyword to restrict your search to specific folders, e.g.
in:Inbox OR in:Drafts. To specify a subfolder when using the
in keyword, use a
. to separate the subfolder's name from the parent folder, e.g.
Searching for a phrase
substr:(<other search terms>)
Phrases are matched using stemming: all different forms of the same word match to take into account plurals (fox, foxes) and tenses (fish, fishing, fished). This means, for example, a search for "bus" will match "buses" but not "business".
If you want to disable stemming and instead search for a particular string within other words, use substr searches. For example,
substr:(from:ber) will match an email from "Robert", because "ber" is contained in "Robert". Please note that searching for substrings will be significantly slower than regular searches. As a result, we strongly recommend not attempting a substr search of body text: this search can result in a server error as the search takes so long, it times out.
If you want to search for a phrase with spaces in it, use quotes for the phrase part (either
"). For example:
from:"Joe Bloggs" or
subject:'string with "double" quotes', but not
from:Joe Bloggs or
subject:"must end with same'. If you want to search for quotes or a backslash
\, put a backslash before the character: use
When searching for a phrase in a specific header, you must wrap the term in a quote. e.g.
header:"X-spam-hits: WEIRD_PORT". This is because there needs to be a space between the header name and the phrase.
Searching by date
A date can be either absolute (e.g.
date:"30 sep 2010") or relative (e.g.
date:"2 weeks ago"). Most forms of writing a date are accepted. It also supports integers with units,
m (month) or
date:2w is the same as
date:"2 weeks ago".
Searching by message size
A size is specified in bytes, with an optional suffix
Searching by message state
The following states can be specified with the
For backwards compatibility, we also support writing a term in UPPERCASE without the
in keyword prefix. For example, the searches
UNSEEN HASATT or
is:unread has:attachment are the same, and will both show all unread messages with attachments.
The filetype keyword finds emails with attachments of the given type. It does this by looking at the MIME type of the attachments. Some systems may generate emails with attachments with the wrong or "missing" MIME types, in which case the search may fail to find the expected emails.
Operators to join search terms must be uppercase.
AND— doesn't do anything, since this is the default.
from:rob OR from:richard.
NOT— applies to the term it comes before. For example,
since:"1 week ago" from:rob NOT subject:"new web interface"would find any messages from Rob in the last week that are not about the "new web interface".
()— grouping, e.g.
(from:rob subject:"new web interface") OR subject:urgent. This finds any mail from Rob with "new web interface" in the subject line, as well as mail from anyone with the subject "urgent".
Advanced: Searching for a specific ID, and raw IMAP search
imap:<raw imap search>
If you know the message id you are searching for, you can use the
msgid keyword to find it directly.
A value in
imap:"…" is passed directly to the IMAP server. See the IMAP specification for full details.
The IMAP search syntax is arcane and difficult to use, and pretty much everything can be done using the much easier standard syntax described above.