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May 6, 08 - 11:02 am

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One of my favorite features of Gmail is how easy it is to search through your e-mails to find what you want/need.

Sometimes, though, you need to be really specific. Google has some search tips that let you quickly narrow your search down to just a handful of results.

I don’t delete e-mails. I also don’t download them to my PC. I let all 12,000 conversations in my Gmail account just sit there, taking up some 1.2 GB on Google’s servers.

Why? So they are always stored in one, searchable location: the cloud. This way, I have access to every single e-mail from just about any device I might have.

This would be a pretty useless endeavor if I couldn’t search through them quickly. For the most part, I can.

If I need to find an e-mail from a particular person, I just type that person’s name, and every e-mail that person has sent me shows up. Even if that includes dozens or even hundreds of e-mails, chances are I can find the exact one I need pretty fast.

According to The Official Gmail Blog, the real power of Gmail lies in search operators. Search operators help modify a query and narrow down the results.

“Search operators work pretty much the same way within Gmail as they do for Google. So, if I want the e-mail Lisa sent me with her flight information so I know when to pick her up at the airport, I type from:lisa SFO.

You can limit the scope of your search to a particular subject (subject:) or label (label:) as well.

If remembering operators isn’t really your thing, that’s OK. There’s a ‘Show search options’ link to the right of the search bar at the top of your in-box.”

That lets you set parameters of a more advanced search.

I tried these out, and they really do help a lot. Remember, search operators = cool tool for searching Gmail.

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