I use subadressing in Gmail to tag incoming message, something like [email protected].

Now I want to filter all messages that contains ABC in the body but if I make a naive search for that string all messages that are addressed to [email protected] are also found. I want to exclude all messages that ONLY contains ABC in to/cc/bcc and ONLY find those messages that contains that string in their body.

If I do -to:abc AND abc messages to:abc are excluded even if they also contains abc in the body.

I can't wrap my head around the booleans here. Does this make sense:

if (to:abc AND not body:abc) exclude if (to:abc AND body:abc) include if (not to:abc) AND (body:abc) include

Is that possible to construct in Gmail?

1 Answer 1


No, you cannot do this in Gmail

Gmail searches do not provide BODY as a search parameter.

Gmail searches do not provide unless as a search parameter.

To solve your problem you need to rethink your search approach and/or your plus labelling approach.

Example: Instead of seeding your plus address with potential search terms, use either nonsensical terms (name+zy06@gmail.com) or alternatively add a delimiter(s) ([email protected]; [email protected]). Neither labc, labcl, nor zy06 will be found by search term +abc.

See: Search operators you can use with Gmail

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