Modified 05 April 2017 by Ian Weatherhogg

Use shortcuts for Gmail System Labels to perform power searches quickly and with minimum typing.

Given Google’s heritage in search and overall mission (“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”) it’s no surprise that Gmail comes with some very powerful search features.

We’ve posted a previous tip on searching within Gmail - Gmail advanced search tips and we’re following up with some more options for power searching with Gmail System Labels.

  • These search methods effectively use shortcuts for system label names
  • They require the syntax: l:^ (that’s a lower-case letter L; a Colon; a Caret or Hat symbol)

In the example in the image we show l:^t which is a search for starred messages.

Of course you can combine these search strings with other search criteria too.

Here’s a selection of useful examples:

Search String

Search Target

Equivalent to

^i

Inbox

in:inbox

^a

Archived

label:archived

^b

Chats

is:chat

^r

Drafts

is:draft

^t

Starred messages

is:starred

^u

Unread messages

is:unread

^k

Bin/trash

in:trash

^s

Spam

is:spam

^io_im

Important

is:important

Hat/Tip to the original research by Mihai Parparita.

Give them a try in your Gmail and post your favourite search term in the comments below.