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How To Find Your Largest Gmail Attachments

Posted by Arch on October 25, 2018

Gmail offers users the opportunity to search specific folders or the entirety of their inbox to look for emails or attachments. However, the basic search function has its limitations unless you learn a long list of operators.

Knowing operators allows you to input specific filter tags along with your keywords to narrow down your results, but that might not always be the best way to go about it. Here is an easier and quicker method you can use if you want to get even more accurate results.

Gmail Advanced Search

Not many people use the advanced search function from the Gmail interface. Of course, very few people also use Google’s advanced search, so it’s not that surprising actually. However, where Google’s search engine is a bit more straightforward in terms of what you can do, Gmail doesn’t come with a top-notch tutorial nor does it have a particularly user-friendly interface.

To access the advanced search function, you need to click on the small arrow located on Gmail’s basic search bar. From there, you’ll be given eight different elements or search parameters you can use. This should allow you to filter out the results a lot better than using keywords in the search bar.

You can use this function to search specific senders, recipients, subjects, words, etc. The most interesting, though, is the option that allows you to search for emails that don’t contain specific words. This means that you can instantly filter out certain sensitive emails if you’re performing this advanced search with someone watching over you.

You can also include or exclude chats from the list. This is really interesting and useful. If you only rely on the basic search function and you search your inbox by sender, the results will show both your emails and your chat history with the sender.

Handling Attachments

To start searching for emails with attachments, you will first want to tick the Has Attachment box from the advanced search interface. You may also want to select the main search parameter to All Mail, just in case you’re not a fan of organizing your emails in dedicated folders. Not many people do this, so it’s OK.

Then you’ll have to assign a number in the Size box. You can then search for an email containing an attachment which is either greater than or lower than the given value. The value may be expressed in kilobytes, bytes, and megabytes. You can switch between the three depending on which one makes more sense.

You may also add a timeframe as another parameter if you think it will help. After all your preferences are set, you can click on the link in the bottom-right corner of the search interface to save the filter for future use. If you don’t think you’ll need this, just click on the magnifying glass on the left to launch a query with your new filter.

The results should come back almost instantly, depending on your computer and your ISP of course.

As an alternative, you could also use the operators in the basic search bar.

  1. Size: [file size] – this is used to search for messages or emails that are larger than the indicated size in B, KB, or MB. (i.e. Size:4MB displays emails that exceed 4MB, attachments included.)
  2. Smaller: [file size] – this operator allows you to search for messages that are smaller than the indicated value. (i.e. Smaller:19KB will display emails smaller than 19KB.)

Does This Really Help?

In terms of organizing your inbox better, it might be helpful to some extent. Once you get the results you’re looking for, you have to start checking manually to see which email has the largest attachment. If you have two or three pages of results, it doesn’t mean that the biggest attachment will be listed high on the list.

The emails displayed are still organized by date from most recent to oldest. Therefore, in order to have an easier time managing your attachments, you should prioritize creating different folders for different types of files.

This way, you’ll be able to separate photos from video files, eBooks from audio files, and so forth. Doing this should give you a better idea of where to look for your largest attachments. You may also use folders to organize emails with attachments by certain size parameters.

Final Thought

Just as Google offers users multiple search parameters for online queries, so does Gmail. Although the advanced search box in Gmail has a significantly simpler interface, it still does a good job of sorting out emails by important parameters.

The one area where Gmail is still lacking are the actual sorting options. If you want to organize your emails by size, type of attachment, or other features, you’re still very limited in what you can achieve.

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