5 Ways to Search Gmail: New Attachment Filter and More

Many of us cringe at the thought of cleaning up our e-mail inboxes, making it difficult to go back and find the items and attachments we need.  Coming to our aid is a long overdue feature from Google, adding a new search filter for attachments in your Gmail account.  Now you can nail down those documents, photos and PDFs once buried in extended threads, matching search features that have been available from rivals such as Yahoo Mail for years now.

By typing “has:attachment” followed by your keyword/s in Gmail’s search box, Google’s algorithm will be prompted to pull up anything that matches your query.  And the search can be narrowed or limited to specific file types by using the “has:attachment filename:extension” format.  But for now, the attachment search is restricted to files that Google already indexed, so attachments in your old e-mails are not likely to come up.

As the cloud becomes more popular for consumers, search will become all the more important for retrieving information.  For Gmail in particular, there’s several ways to search your archives that you may not even be aware of.  So here are some tips to help you find that secret special recipe for chocolate cake your mom sent you, or the exclusive invite to a launch party that you won’t want to miss.

To start your search, click on the search bar to begin typing your query then hit the enter key on your keyboard, or click on the magnifying glass to start your search.

If you know what you are looking for…

Just type your keyword in the search box, or use quotation marks (“ “) to search for an exact phrase, much like when you are searching for something on Google.  So if you’re looking for the message sent to you by your friend regarding the greatest movie he ever saw, just type in “greatest movie” in the search box.

Refined search

But if you want a more refined search, you need to use Operators, which are query words or symbols that perform special actions in Gmail search.  Examples of Operators are from:, to: and subject:, which help you look for messages from a specific sender, receiver or subject.  So if you’re looking for an e-mail from me, for example, just type from:mellisa in the search box and all the messages I sent to you will be pulled up.

The power of OR

If you’re not really sure who sent you that important message, but your brain tells you it’s either from me, or let’s say Kristen, you can type in from:mellisa OR from:kristen.  So messages from Kristen and myself will be displayed.

You can also use OR to narrow down your search to specific topics.  For example, you clearly remember me sending you a message about our upcoming girls night out, but you can’t remember if it was about going our for dinner or hitting the clubs, you can type in from:mellisa (dinner OR club) to track down that email.

Leaving things out

Then there’s the exclusion search.  If you want to find messages that contains a specific topic without other topics, use a hyphen.  For example, you want to look for all the messages that contain the topic “movie” but you don’t want to see those that contain dinner.  Just type in movie -dinner, then all the messages that contains the word movie, without the word dinner would be presented to you.

Those are just some tips on how to easily search in your jungle of a Gmail account so have fun in hunting down those precious e-mails! :)  If you want more tips on how to make Gmail search easy, click here.