How to Create Complex Gmail Filters and Persistent Searches

It’s not a secret that one of the most notable features in Gmail, is its advanced search capability. Due to its accurate search and filters, Gmail makes it easy to manage the thousands of messages in your mailbox and organize the messages according your needs. You only need to know how to make the query correctly. You’ll have to acquire some skills to get it working right. Gmail has a lot to offer.  In addition to simplest search operators, there’re some search tricks. They are not well-know to the naive users.

And / Or Search

If you specify a complicated query, such as for instance from:ann subject:time. This search terms are conjoint with AND. It means that search should match these two parameters. The message should be from Ann, and have the word “time” in the subject line. If you need to match only one of these terms, it’s advisable to use OR. The only one disadvantage of using OR is that it’s inappropriate for composite queries. The solution is simple: use {curly brackets}. They substitute for the OR function. Everything enclosed in curly brackets is presumed to be connected with OR. AND can be replaced by the (parentheses).
Take a look at the following example:
{to:( subject:request}
The search engine will look for emails addressed to, and Or they should contain the word request in the subject line.

Persistent search

Persistent searches are used for finding groups of emails. It will help you avoid the creation of complicated queries each time you are going to find a group of emails. You can create persistent searches either by using Better Gmail Firefox extension or a Greasemonkey script. Those persistent searches will work exactly as Gmail labels or even Smart folders. Similar to the TODO search, the persistent search comes with already built-in saved searches.  The following query to:me {in:starred is:unread}. You’ll get a dynamic list of messages that are starred or unread or both.


This kind of filtering is very handy if you receive great number of emails every day. Pay attention that labeling, achieving and forwarding are impossible in filters. Before creating filters, you have to expand Gmail’s filter input. In order to expand Gmail’s “Has the words” input field to a text area to build composite Gmail filters, add the following to Firefox’s userContent.css file:

@-moz-document domain( {

input[name=”cf1_has”] {

display: none;

-moz-binding: url(;



Enter your query to the “Has the words” field. You query may look like this.

-from:{ * * * * * * * }




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