I'd like to clean up my Gmail inbox and want to search for messages from people who are not in my contacts.

Ideally it would be something like:


but is:contact isn't an actual advanced search operator/value.


It's not the most efficient way, but you get results.

Export your Gmail contacts into a .csv
Extract the names from the .csv (with Google Docs)
Create a massive filter with all the names
from: -(name1 OR name2 OR name3)

This last step will probably be best done with a string/file manipulation macro/script. If you'd like to try it, I can write one in AutoHotKey.

  • Do filters have a real or practical limit? I've got hundreds of contacts.
    – ale
    May 14 '12 at 17:56
  • I've found vague answers indicating ~1500 characters. You may have to perform multiple filters. For example, filter out your closest friends and put the mail into a different folder, then take out mailing lists, etc.
    – Ampersand
    May 14 '12 at 18:31

I've been searching for the same thing recently, and it looks like not much has changed.

The closest thing Google makes available is the has:circle advanced search operator.

According to Google, has:circle will:

Search for all messages that were sent from someone who you added to your Google+ circles

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