Search Gmail like a pro

Search Gmail Like a Pro

Email has become one of the main ways we communicate both for work and personal conversations. It’s estimated that a person sends and receives an average of 126 emails per day, and that’s just for work.

We all know that it doesn’t take long for an inbox to get unwieldy and fill up with older messages that are no longer needed or spam that can be deleted. But in between those unnecessary messages are emails that you need to keep. Trying to balance the two can be a challenge.

Some users even get so many emails, they begin having computer issues and have to call in a technician because their email program is no longer working properly due to being overloaded.

If you’re one of the many Gmail users out there, we have some great tips to help you search Gmail like a pro to find what you need and declutter your inbox.

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At the top of your Gmail home page, you’ll find this “Search mail” function to use for these tips.

Get Rid of Emails Taking Up Valuable Storage Space

If you’re a free Gmail user, then you get 15GB of free storage space that is shared across all the apps in your Google account. This includes any files you’ve stored in Google Drive as well as your Gmail storage.

To keep your storage optimized and help free up space, you can use this search tip to locate the emails taking up the most space due to large file attachments.

In the Gmail search box type: Larger:10M and then press your Enter key.

This will bring up all email messages in any of your boxes (including sent) that are over 10 megabytes in size and allow you to easily look through them to delete anything you no longer need.

This can often free up a significant amount of space, especially if you have older sent messages from years past with large file attachments. 

Make sure to empty your Trash folder after you’ve deleted the messages to completely remove them from your storage. 

Select All Tip

If you want to select all messages that come up in one of these searches, instead of selecting them one by one or page by page, do the following:

  1. After you’ve completed the search, click the top checkbox that will select all messages on the page.
  2. Look to the right, and click the area that says “Select all conversations that match this search.” 

If you want to get rid of all the emails that have come up during your search, this will allow you to select all of them quickly and then you can click the delete button.

This also works in your Trash folder. 

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Get Rid of Older Emails You No Longer Need

Over time, it’s surprising just how many messages can collect in your Gmail account. If you’ve had it for several years, then you could have years of old messages or sales notices from retailers that you no longer need.

Removing these can both free up space and improve your ability to find current emails faster because your system won’t have to search through years’ worth of irrelevant emails.

To locate older messages, you can use this search term in the Gmail search box: Before:YYYY/MM/DD and then press your Enter key.

Add the date that you want to search in the search statement, for example, “Before:2018/12/31”, which would bring up all your emails with a sent or received date prior to December 31, 2018.

You can then easily delete the ones you no longer need.

Use Search Combinations for Deeper Targeting

What if you want to look for messages that have attachments, that are larger than 11MB and older than 2 years? You can use Google’s mail search terms to do this.

For the above search, you would type the following into the Gmail search bar: has:attachment larger:11M older_than:2y

Press enter and you’ll see a listing of messages that meet all those criteria.

You’ll often be surprised by just how many older messages have been building up in your Gmail account over time. 

Unlock More Search Options

Don’t worry if you can’t immediately remember these search operators, because Google has made it easy for you to access these searches and others using a search panel.

Just click the small icon at the far right of the Gmail search to open a panel of search operators.

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You can use this to get very specific in your email searches to locate messages you no longer need.

For example, if you have older messages from a job you moved on from years ago, you can use “Has the words” and type the name of that company to quickly locate all related messages and delete them.

See the complete list of search operators you can use with Gmail here.

Need help getting around your email or other software?

Computer Techs provides expert IT training to Reno area residents on a wide variety of computer and software topics. Contact us today with any questions or computer needs.