I have a business conversation going on and I'm trying to find a particular message I'm sure was part of it. Let's say it includes the term "widget". But the problem is there were (for example) 3 messages with that term. Now by itself that would be fine, I'd search for that term and see three results and read them and find the one I want. But the problem is that one of those messages had a very long back-and-forth so there's a long re: history and that term is repeated each and every time. So when I search I get 590 matches instead of 3.

I want to search without including all the quoted replies. So that only the typed messages is included in the search.


2 Answers 2


You might be able to do something with the negation filter. Many (most?) email clients add something like "Re:" or "Fw:" to the subject when replying or forwarding a message.

So perhaps something like this would suit:

widget -subject:"re:"

This should return all messages with "widget" in the message but exclude messages with "re:" in the subject of the message.

It's not perfect, but at least in my tests it did reduce the number of search results I got back.


Short answer

At this time is not possible exclude content from the quoted replies when doing a search from the Gmail web UI.


Gmail doesn't include search features such wildcards or regular expressions.


Use the Gmail API, Google Apps Script or third party application that include search features like wildcards or regular expressions.


  • 1
    Your Explaination [sic] was shorter than your "Short answer" :) Any examples of "third party application"s that do this?
    – bcsteeve
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 21:29
  • Ups! Thanks for the remark. Regarding the third party app, sorry I don't know about one yet but I'm confident that should several. Maybe at superuser.com or sofware recommendations could help with that. In the meantime I added a reference. Maybe later I could extend my answer. Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 21:44

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