How to Use Mac OS X Mail Search Operators

How to use search operators to limit search results in Mac OS X Mail:

  • Press Command-Alt-F in Mac OS X Mail’s main window.
  • Type the desired search terms, using the following operators if needed:
  • from: find email senders, use quotation marks to specify names,see below for examples.
  • to: find email recipients.
  • date: find emails by date.
  • subject: find email subjects.

You can combine search operators (from: date:yesterday, for instance), but you cannot combine them using “OR” and “NOT”. For this, and more advanced searches, you can use Spotlight.

Use Mac OS X Mail Search Operators to Find Mail in Spotlight

To search mail using Spotlight, which gives you more control:

  • Press Command-Alt-Space.
  • Type “kind:mail” in the search field to find all email messages.
  • Make sure This Mac and Contents are selected under Search:
  • Use the following search operators to narrow results:
  • from: – find email senders.
  • kind:mail finds all mail from
  • kind:mail from:”John Lewis” finds all mail from john lewis.
  • to: find email recipients.
  • kind:mail finds all mail to
  • kind:mail to:”John Lewis” finds all mail to John Lewis.
  • subject: find email subjects.
  • kind:mail subject: google finds all mail with “google” in the Subject line.
  • kind:mail subject:”google chrome” finds all mail with “google chrome” in the Subject line.
  • kind:mail subject:google subject:chrome finds all mail with both “google” and “chrome” anywhere in the Subject line.
  • date: – find email by date received.
  • kind:mail date:today finds all mail received today.
  • kind:mail date:yesterday finds all mail received yesterday.
  • kind:mail date:”this week” finds all mail received in the last 7 days.
  • kind:mail date:”this month” finds all mail received this month.
  • kind:mail date:10/17/2012 finds all mail received on Oct. 17, 2012.
  • kind:mail date:>10/17/2012 finds all mail received since Oct. 17, 2012; make sure the date uses the format you’ve specified in System Preferences.
  • kind:mail date: kind:mail date:05/05/2012-10/10/2012 finds all mail received between May 5, 2012, and Oct. 10, 2012.


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