I tried to search for such a question on this website but did not find anything really concerning to my real question.

So, I have got Gmail and I have a lot of e-mails. There are like 4000 or thereabouts. (I have never deleted e-mails from the 'All Mail' default label.) Now I would like to search for a specific e-mail and I tried to search for it by turning on the search toolbar (CTRL + F).

But I do not really remember where this one e-mail is located - there are plenty of pages and I really do not know which one it is in, hence I ought to flip through every page every time and see if something has been found (it is marked in yellow).

But one gets really knackered, you know. How many pages are there for more than 4000 e-mails? You do not want to know, neither do I.

So, is there any way to sort messages? Had I better use Python?! I will post below an image of my Gmail account so it will be helpful.


  • of course, I edited the page for privacy.
    – Francis
    Jul 3, 2015 at 22:06
  • do you use labels? Jul 4, 2015 at 10:23
  • Using Python to interact with Gmail is beyond the scope of this site.
    – ale
    Jul 4, 2015 at 18:46
  • Ctrl+F is the browser "find" command, no? Gmail has its own search.
    – ale
    Jul 4, 2015 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


No, you cannot change the sort of messages. They're always shown in date descending order.

Gmail is built on the premise that you don't need to delete anything and that the search powered by Google should help you find any message you could possibly want.

But you need to know what you're looking for. You can do a simple search on some text you know is in the message. If you know who it's from you can use from:[email protected] in your search string. Did you happen to "star" the message so you could find it later? is:starred. Did Gmail mark it as "important"? is:important. Does it have an attachment? has:attachment. No? Then use negation: -has:attachment. Have you read it already? is:read. Do you remember about when you received it? Use the before: and after: search parameters.

There are a ton of search operators you can use to narrow your search. Have a look of the Gmail Advanced Search Operators support page for more. Use the operators in combination to find what you need:

This search will find all conversations containing "unique" and "text" that have been read, were received in May, and haven't been starred.

unique text is:read -is:starred after:2015/04/30 before:2015/06/01

For the future, use labels to organize your email so you can find it faster.

Gmail search box

  • Okay, got it. Your suggestion is perfect ....but how can I do this specific search typing in the string is:read -is:starred after:2015/04/30 before:2015/06/01 I mean, CTRL+F is the web find command and I cannot put it into this box. Where do I have to put the specific string?! Is there any other search field? I do not see anything where to type in, in Gmail. Might you help me out please?
    – Francis
    Jul 4, 2015 at 20:14
  • Really? You don't see the big search box at the top of the page? And the search operators go with the rest of your search string. I'll update my answer.
    – ale
    Jul 4, 2015 at 20:39
  • Thank you so much. Problem solved. Just out of curiosity - how do you put the image of a part of Gmail [to name it]? I always take the photo of the screen and then crop the image but it is not 'perfect' as yours is. Is there a specific way to do that? Could you send me a PM on how to do that, or just write it out right here? Thanks
    – Francis
    Jul 4, 2015 at 21:39
  • I just take a screen shot and edit with Paint dot net.
    – ale
    Jul 7, 2015 at 15:29

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.