In Gmail we can filter our search term to a single contact (John Smith) by using the filter search-term from: [email protected].

Is there anyway to change the search filter to all my contacts instead of only a single contact?

6 Answers 6


The closest thing I can find among the advanced Gmail search operators is the has:circle operator.

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

Example: has:circle

Meaning: Any message that was sent by a person in any of your circles.

So, if all of your contacts are in a Google+ Circle this'll work for you. Unfortunately there's no is:contact operator.

  • Ugh. G+ and G-Mail are not the same thing. Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 16:12
  • @Michael: Yes, I know that. But G+ Circles are now displayed in your contacts. Blame Google.
    – ale
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 16:15
  • Oh, yeah -- no blame to you. While I like G+, I'm still annoyed at how Google tries to force it on us, especially when it is inappropriate. Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 20:26
  • Well, they're not really forcing it on us anymore. They've decoupled quite a bit.
    – ale
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 20:27

Basically, you can't. There is no such wildcard filter or search operator for gmail. The list of valid gmail search operators can be found here: http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=7190.

One guy on Webapps has asked the opposite (mail from contacts NOT in address book). He couldn't do that either.

I haven't found anything to solve your problem:

  • 3rd party search apps (not allowed)
  • Desktop mail clients (like Outlook) with addins EDIT: Thunderbird can actually do it (You don't even need an add-in)
  • in Gmail Labs.

If it can be done, you'll probaly have to build it yourself (Outlook macro or a Greasemonkey script).


You can make a filter in this format:

from:({"Katherine Jones" <[email protected]>, "Stan Jones" <[email protected]>, etc…})

I dump all the addresses into Word and edit there to make a format like this. The limitation is that it can take only so many addresses per filter, so I have a filter for names A-D, another filter for E-K, etc. I don't know how many characters it will take, but put them all in and an error will show you the limitation. Then chop your addresses into blocks to fit that limitation. I get about 25 addresses/filter.

  • 1
    Upvoted as adding the curly brackets does the trick. You can add your desired contacts into a group, then filter from this group, and add the brackets around to apply the filter for any email in the set.
    – MCMZL
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 7:40

You can group all your contacts in a contact group and filter by contact group in Gmail. This requires knowledge of python, however. Below is the Python code used:

original = '[insert email addresses copied from the contact group]'
replaceComma = original.replace(",", " OR")
result = re.sub(r'".*?"', '', replaceComma)
print result
  • Your link now leads to a page laden with adult entertainment advertisements.
    – jonsca
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 0:24

I believe that


will exclude all email from accounts not in your circle

  • FWIW, this search works in the searchbox for searching mail but not in the from: field for filtering rules. Am trying this now, ending up just manually adding people I want to whitelist.
    – Krista K
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 18:55

If you really, really need this feature you could download your e-mails with Thunderbird.

Thunderbird can filter by address book and you can have multiple address books.

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