I want to know how email search differs between (free) gmails search and Outlook/Thunderbird IMAP search.

Explanation: Our (small) company uses free gmail for managing our emails from our various websites (ie, we setup gmail to send email via our hosted SMTP server, and POP from our hosted pop server). We have had some technical problems with gmail recently (lots of error messages being returned) so we are thinking of not using gmail anymore, and just using a desktop client like Outlook or Thunderbird.

But one of the features that my colleagues REALLY like is the search capabilities that gmail has. It is just so good. I have experience with searching emails with Outlook/Exchange setup, but I don't have any experience with Outlook/IMAP or Thunderbird/IMAP setup. So I was hoping someone could give any insights into how good/bad the searching capabilities are. For example, will I be able to easily search the body of emails with an Client/IMAP setup?

1 Answer 1


In Gmail you can use a search operator which if you get more than one different email address forward to you in the search bar you can typpe to:[email protected] and then you can get all that mail from that address, you can also do that for mail from a address.

With a IMAP client you can index the files better which means more faster searches.

  • Hm, sounds like you're saying searching emails via IMAP is faster than doing the same via Gmail. My experience is that I always find the email I'm looking for in my Gmail account while various IMAP clients often don't find an email I know is there. So are they all implementing IMAP the wrong way?
    – Christoph
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 21:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.