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updated 11/16/2012 8:19:20 AM ET 2012-11-16T13:19:20

Google this week expanded the ways that Gmail users can search for emails sharing certain characteristics, such as size.

"We're always looking for ways to make it faster and easier for you to find your messages using  search in Gmail ," Christian Kurmann, a software engineer for Google, said in a blog post.

The formula-based technique is not typical for Google, which usually provides simple, intuitive ways to use its services. But the method is useful for heavy email users who have been frustrated by search limitations.

 

Here are several examples:

To search by the size of the message, type in this format: size:5m or larger:5m.

That means you are looking for emails that are 5 megabytes or more, such as those with high-resolution  photo attachments.

You can also search by date. Type older_than:1y when you're looking for emails dated from more than a year ago.

You can search by a phrase in the message. Type a specific phrase or word in quotation marks like this ― "don't be evil" ― to find messages that contain your phrase. If you want to search only messages with your phrase in the subject line, type this: subject: "don't be evil".

Google provides a  handy link  that lists common formulas for Gmail search.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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