Gmail Tips: 6+ Lesser Known Features

Almost everyone on the Internet uses Email today and it is still the most stable and preferred way of communicating especially if it’s something official or if you want to get things done. People may be spending more time on Facebook, Twitter, etc for interacting with friends and family and other fun stuff but if I (or anyone for that matter) want to get something done be it homework or official matter I’ll use Email.

Email has improved a lot over years and today many people including me use Gmail which is a great Email service by Google but there are some lesser known Gmail tips that I’m going to share in this post to further enhance your Gmail experience.

Basic Gmail Tips

GmailMany times I just want to glance at my unread mails and nothing else to see if I have missed something important or worth reading. This and much more can easily be done but many people don’t know how. To open unread mails only, type is:unread in the search box and all the unread mails would come up. If you want to unread mails only from your Inbox, type is:unread label:inbox. Similarly, you can replace unread with read, chat, starred, muted and replace inbox label with any label you want.

Using ‘+’ & ‘.’

This is something that is really handy for me, I really can’t stress handy enough. Gmail (this may work on other email services too)  ignore period/full stop ‘.’ before It doesn’t recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they’ll all go to your inbox, and only yours. For example, is same as It doesn’t matter how many periods you put in between. This can come in handy in many ways.

Using ‘+’ is also quite similar. Gmail doesn’t offer traditional aliases, but you can receive messages sent to In short, whatever you put after your <username> and the ‘+’ sign and before the ‘@’ sign, will be ignored. For example, if you want to sign up for a website’s newsletter or a suspicious website/forum use and you’re good to go. Sometimes, websites sell your email ids to advertisers and they in turn, spam. So, if you get a spam email to, you’d know how these spammers got your email id. Couple this with the ‘.’ thing and you can do much more than that, like create some really useful filters to filter out your mails effectively.


For every, there is a too. You can use this ID for some specific purposes and filter them easily or any way you like.

Advanced search

You can perform an advanced search and refine the results to great extent using operators.  Here are some that I use regularly (apart from the well-known “cc:“, “from:“, “subject:“, “to:“, and “has:attachment“):

OR form:peter OR from:tom fetches emails from Peter or Tom.
– (hyphen) – works like minus operator in this case, and is used to exclude keywords. For example, the search vacation -summer fetches the emails that contain the word “vacation” but do not contain the word “summer”.
after: and before: (using the date format yyyy/mm/dd) The search after:2001/09/20 before:2013/06/23 fetches mails sent between September 20, 2001 and June 23, 2013.
older_than: and newer_than: Search with relative dates using d, m, and y for day, month, and year respectively.
For example, the search newer_than:10d finds messages sent within the last ten days.
filename: Search for messages with attachments better. The search filename:abc.txt fetches the messages with an attachement named “abc.txt”. Using just file types/extensions is much more useful. For example, the search filename:png or filename:txt fetches messages with an attachment that is a PNG or a TXT file respectively

Activity Information

Click on details link on the bottom-right corner on the Gmail page to open up Activity Information. This feature provides information about the last activity on the mail account and any concurrent activity. Last account activity shows you information about the recent activity in your mail. Recent activity includes any time that your mail was accessed using a regular web browser, a mobile device, a POP client, a third-party application, etc.It’ll also list the IP address that accessed your mail, the associated location, as well as the time and date.


You may need to save your important mails so that we can use it offline. There is an option in Gmail to download all your mails and use it offline. You can also download much more data of yours of other Google services. Google Takeout.

Compose new mail in a new Window

Shift-clicking on ‘Compose’ will open a new popup window for composing your email (in case you need to reference the email you’re currently looking at). This may come in handy sometimes.

These are some Gmail tips that are unknown to many people but are really useful, if you know a similar tip that you would like to share, just comment below!  :-)


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