I am currently switching over to using "tagged" Gmail addresses - for example, using [email protected] for my Amazon email, [email protected] for my Newegg account, etc. However, because I am sure I won't remember to change all of my existing email subscriptions, I want automatically to label all emails with a "uncategorized" label for further sorting. When I create a filter for just [email protected], all of my emails show up, and since + is a reserved symbol I can't just search for that. Regex also does not seem to work.

I am trying to create filters for emails without tags (ex: [email protected]). Simply searching for [email protected] does not work as it returns all emails received.

Has anyone else had/fixed this problem?

3 Answers 3


What you want to do is search for email without labels (tags as you call them).

For this you need to search for "-label(yourlabel1 OR yourlabel2 ... OR yourlabelX OR sent)", where yourlabelX are the names of your current labels.

I created a search and saved it to my Gmail using the Quicklinks Labs item.

  • This is a pretty hacky solution, but if I order the filters so the emails without labels are tagged "uncategorized" last, it will work. Thanks! Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 18:01

As others have noted you cannot search for the lack of the tag. The reason why seems to be that the plus sign is generally treated as an "and" in the search. Unless you wrap the address in a quoted string (like what JMin has suggested) but then you need to supply the full email address.

A hackish work around involves the solutions suggested by both JMin and intlect. Create a filter that looks for any of the tagged addresses and apply a label to it. I'd suggest something like Z so it is filtered to the end of the label list and is short, but it's really up to you. Once the filter is in place, you can now do a search of -label:Z. You can add individual labels for each tag, but your search for uncategorized emails would have to keep changing, plus you need to keep adding new filters rather than updating the one. If you make use of Quick Links, you can save the search for easy reference.


I'm not sure about what you're trying to accomplish here.

  • 1
    I am trying to filter all emails excluding [email protected]. Putting "[email protected]", in quotes, does not work -- it still includes the emails I received from the [email protected] addresses. Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 17:55
  • you will want to leave a comment on the question (via the 'add comment' button) if there is something you are not sure about. Next time when you are not sure what the OP is trying to accomplish leave a comment for clarification.
    – phwd
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 18:29
  • @Dorrene: You're right. I'll work on my answer. @phwd: thanks. Will do so next time.
    – mvime
    Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 23:44

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