Tuesday Take-Away: Advanced Searching in Gmail

As more people migrate to Google Apps and begin using the Gmail interface, they are often impressed with the scope and speed of the Gmail search bar.    Not surprising, since Google is sort of known for search.

But, did you know that just like on, you can use advanced search operators in your Gmail search bar?  These operators let you focus your search with greater precision, without sacrificing speed.

Some of the advanced search operators we find most useful are:

Operator Definition Example(s)
from: Used to specify the sender Example: from:amy
Meaning: Messages from Amy
to: Used to specify a recipient Example: to:david
Meaning: All messages that were sent to David (by you or someone else)
label: Search for messages by label*
*There isn’t a search operator for unlabeled messages
Example: from:amy label:friends
Meaning: Messages from Amy that have the label “friends” 

Example: from:david label:my-family
Meaning: Messages from David that have the label “My Family”

has:attachment Search for messages with an attachment Example: from:david has:attachment
Meaning: Messages from David that have an attachment
Search for messages that are starred, unread or read Example: is:read is:starred from:David
Meaning: Messages from David that have been read and are marked with a star
Search for messages sent during a certain period of time*
*Dates must be in yyyy/mm/dd format.
Example: after:2004/04/16 before:2004/04/18
Meaning: Messages sent between April 16, 2004 and April 18, 2004.*
*More precisely: Messages sent after 12:00 AM (or 00:00) April 16, 2004 and before April 18, 2004.


You can review a full list of advanced search operators here.  You can also use these operators to create filters and manage email as message arrive.

Google Docs: Better Sharing, Export, and Search

It is now easier to find, export, and share documents from Google Docs.  Here is how.

Export All as a zip file:

Select one or more files and then click on “Export” from the “More Actions” menu. Next, pick the format (e.g. PDF etc) you want for your exported files. Here you now also have the option to “Export all your files” up to 2GB into a single zip file. It can sometimes take a few minutes to download so you also have an “email when ready” option to notify you when the zip file is ready. If your files are larger than 2GB then Docs will present a list of those that weren’t exported and you can export them to a zip file as normal.

Email as an attachment:

In the Docs list, select an item, click “Share” and select “Email as attachment…”. Then pick which format you want to use to send the item, compose your email, and click send.

Improved search:

Search for a document from the Docs list as normal. In the displayed results, click on the new button “Relevance” which lets you decide whether you’d like to sort your Docs list by “Relevance,” “Starred” or “Last Modified”.