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I´m trying to find the string 0 in Gmail.

When I try searching for 0, Gmail shows me emails with strings like 0.049 but I am not interested in them. I am interested in emails that contein a zero isolated or in other words... I am trying to find the string " 0 ". How can I do this?

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migrated from superuser.com Dec 31 '10 at 14:32

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3 Answers 3

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Unfortunately, you cannot do this in Gmail because it doesn't support stem searching nor symbol searching.

Gmail separates words on most symbols, meaning that your 0.049 is being split up into the words 0 and 049. When you search for 0, it finds a match in the first word.

The reason that " 0 " wouldn't work is that Gmail ignores whitespace, which means that it is the exact same thing as searching for 0.

If Gmail did support stem searching and symbol searching, you could use something like -0.* to negate those terms you don't want to find. However, even then this wouldn't be accurate since an email containing the following 0 test 0.049, would incorrectly not be matched due to the negation in the search query.

Here are several solutions I can think of:

  • If there is a common word followed by the 0, you can search for both of them (e.g. "0 test").
  • If there is a small amount of numbers that you don't want to match, you could exclude them using a search such as 0 -049 -050 -051, however, keep in mind that this will still have the same problem that an email with the text 0 test 0.049 won't be matched.
  • Similar to the above solution, you could negate a search term, so you could use 0 -"0 049" "0 050" "0 051", this still has the same limitation as the above one. The only additional advantage it has is that it will still match an email with 0 test 049, which may reduce the amount of incorrectly unmatched emails.
  • If possible, change the email to convert the numbers to a single word with a character such as _ separating the numbers. So instead of 0.049, your email would contain 0_049, which should be treated as a single word. This way the search 0 will match correctly. Obviously doing something like this can be very easy (e.g. if you are generating the emails yourself) or very difficult (e.g. if you have no control over how the emails are sent).
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Actually there is one thing you can do, albeit it's quite cumbersome: Import the set of email messages that you want to search in Mozilla Thunderbird. Install the ImportExportTools add-on and use it to export the messages locally to a searchable text format. Now use a tool such as Notepad++ to search for 0 and check "Whole words".

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If you click on "search options" after typing 0 in the search box, then you can use: Has the words 0 and : doesn't have 0.0 Or any other combination that you don't want to see. Plus you can limit search to one area, look for mail with/without attachments etc.

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