Gmail: Multiple Inboxes keep you informed

With a constant flow of email from teachers, parents and students, there is more than one time this year when I’ve been caught off-guard and/or let important communication fall through the cracks.

I’ve found it easier to stay informed since implementing Gmail’s multiple inboxes lab [editor note: George Polzer notes that this only works when Priority Inbox is switched off!!!], which uses filters to keep pertinent information “above the fold” when I’m online:

Multiple inboxes can be switched on from Gmail’s settings> Labs > Multiple Inboxes. Once enabled, you can set up inboxes using any search parameter you choose (or a combination using Boolean operators):

Operator Definition Example(s)
from: Used to specify the sender Example: from:amyMeaning: Messages from Amy
to: Used to specify a recipient Example: to:davidMeaning: All messages that were sent to David (by you or someone else)
subject: Search for words in the subject line Example: subject:dinnerMeaning: Messages that have the word “dinner” in the subject
OR Search for messages matching term A or term B*
*OR must be in all caps
Example: from:amy OR from:davidMeaning: Messages from Amy or from David
– (hyphen) Used to exclude messages from your search Example: dinner -movieMeaning: Messages that contain the word “dinner” but do not contain the word “movie”
label: Search for messages by label**There isn’t a search operator for unlabeled messages Example: from:amy label:friendsMeaning: Messages from Amy that have the label “friends”

Example: from:david label:my-family
Meaning: Messages from David that have the label “My Family”

has:attachment Search for messages with an attachment Example: from:david has:attachment Meaning: Messages from David that have an attachment
list: Search for messages on mailing lists Example:
Meaning: Messages with the words in the headers, sent to or from this list
filename: Search for an attachment by name or type Example: filename:physicshomework.txt
Meaning: Messages with an attachment named “physicshomework.txt”Example: label:work filename:pdf
Meaning: Messages labeled “work” that also have a PDF file as an attachment
” ”
Used to search for an exact phrase**Capitalization isn’t taken into consideration Example: “i’m feeling lucky”
Meaning: Messages containing the phrase “i’m feeling lucky” or “I’m feeling lucky”Example: subject:”dinner and a movie”
Meaning: Messages containing the phrase “dinner and a movie” in the subject
( ) Used to group wordsUsed to specify terms that shouldn’t be excluded Example: from:amy (dinner OR movie)
Meaning: Messages from Amy that contain either the word “dinner” or the word “movie”Example: subject:(dinner movie)
Meaning: Messages in which the subject contains both the word “dinner” and the word “movie”
in:anywhere Search for messages anywhere in Gmail**Messages in Spam and Trash are excluded from searches by default Example: in:anywhere movie Meaning: Messages in All Mail, Spam, and Trash that contain the word “movie”


Search for messages in Inbox, Trash, or Spam Example: in:trash from:amyMeaning: Messages from Amy that are in Trash
is:importantlabel:important Search within messages that Priority Inbox considers important. Example: is:important from:janetMeaning: Messages from Janet that were marked as important by Priority Inbox


Search for messages that are starred, unread or read Example: is:read is:starred from:DavidMeaning: Messages from David that have been read and are marked with a star











Search for messages with a particular star Example: has:purple-star from:DavidMeaning: Messages from David that are marked with a purple star
cc:bcc: Used to specify recipients in the cc: or bcc:fields**Search on bcc: cannot retrieve messages on which you were blind carbon copied Example: cc:david Meaning: Messages that were cc-ed to David
after:before: Search for messages sent during a certain period of time**Dates must be in yyyy/mm/dd format. Example: after:2004/04/16 before:2004/04/18 Meaning: Messages sent between April 16, 2004 and April 18, 2004.*

*More precisely: Messages sent after 12:00 AM (or 00:00) April 16, 2004 and before April 18, 2004.

is:chat Search for chat messages Example: is:chat monkeyMeaning: Any chat message including the word “monkey”.
deliveredto: Search for messages within a particular email address in the Delivered-To line of the message header Example: deliveredto:username@gmail.comMeaning: Any message with in the Delivered-To: field of the message header (which can help you find messages forwarded from another account or ones sent to an alias).

4 thoughts on “Gmail: Multiple Inboxes keep you informed

  1. I realized that in order to use Multiple Inboxes you have to turn off “Priority Inbox”. God! Nobody explained that so I’ve been running in circles trying to figure out why my Multiple Inboxes weren’t showing up.

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