Along with its large e-mail quota and clean interface, one of Gmail’s primary strengths is its search abilities. With this tool built-in, it makes organizing your inbox an easier problem to solve. You can use the power of search at any time to find a message you’re looking for or as part of a filter to automate some tasks. I was hoping to be able to forward some e-mails from my personal Gmail into my newer Google Apps account but Gmail won’t forward old e-mails.
The thing that really matters is getting the syntax of the search right. Once you have it correct, you can create a filter or just perform a search from the top of the Gmail. Click the Create Filter link at the top, next to search.
To search by label, put this query in the box label:LabelName or if the label has multiple words put a dash between words like label:Label-Name. You can also search by a message’s status with is:starred. You can search for phrases in an e-mail with quotes, whether an e-mail has an attachment, or even a specific filename. The location can be important to search by as well which you use in:inbox, in:trash, or in:anywhere. To view all the unread messages in your inbox, you can target those messages with the query label:unread label:inbox.
You can also use the hyphen before one of these operators to exclude items that match that from the search results. For example, searching for -label:inbox will give you all mail except that which is in the Inbox.
If you click the “Show Search Options” link next to the search box, it gives you an advanced search so you don’t have to memorize the operators. If you use the Search Options, you can search for labels by putting the query label:LabelName in the “Has the words:” field.
You can find all of the other operators Gmail search understands, their definitions, and examples, on the Gmail Help Page for Using Advanced Search.