Searching your Gmail account

Searching your Gmail account


Search by date

In the Gmail search bar you can type the date in a YYYY/MM/DD format to filter out emails before a certain date. If you type before:2015/04/17 while in your inbox, you'll see a list of all of the emails you received prior to April 17, 2015. To search for sent email, type the same thing in the search bar once you’ve clicked on ‘Sent Mail’ on the left side.

You can also search by how old emails are. If you type older_than:1y, you'll receive emails older than 1 year. You can use m for months or d for days, as well.

If you want to delete them all, click the Check all box, then click "Select all conversations that match this search," followed by the Delete button.

You cannot sort your emails by date however you can easily go to your oldest email by hovering your cursor over the email count information e.g. 1-49 of 903 which can be found on the right hand of the screen just above the top email in the current view list. Once you hover you can click on ‘Oldest’. You can then use the < and > icons to move around your oldest emails.

Labels and Categories

If you want to get more specific than a date or time, you can refine your search by looking through the categories the emails are kept in or the labels you assigned them to.

If you have a label called "XYZ," you can search for label:XYZ to find those emails. If you want emails that Gmail has classified as being in your social or promotions folders, try category:social or category:updates.


If you type older_than:1y label:XYZ, you'll see all emails older than 1 year with the label you assigned. For those who have organised inboxes, this is an efficient way to search through and then delete old emails you never use anymore.

Gmail ‘Search Operators’

You can use words or symbols called search operators to filter your Gmail search results. You can also combine operators to filter your results even more.

Visit for a list of available search operators.

A printable copy of the dcument is available: Searching your Gmail doc