Searching for Messages

You can search or filter files using the messages.list and threads.list methods. These methods accept the q parameter which supports most of the same advanced search syntax as the Gmail web-interface. For a list of search and filter differences between the Gmail UI and Gmail API, see Search filter differences: Gmail UI versus Gmail API.

This advanced syntax allows you to use search queries to filter messages by properties such as the sender, date, or label to name a few possibilities. For example, the following query retrieves all messages sent by the user in January of 2014:

GET after:2014/01/01 before:2014/02/01

In addition to search queries, you can also filter messages and threads by label with the labelIds parameter. This allows you to search for messages and threads with the specified system or user labels applied. For more information, see the messages.list or threads.list method reference.

Search and filter differences: Gmail UI versus Gmail API

  • The Gmail UI performs alias expansion which allows it to infer an account alias from a Google Workspace account. For example, suppose you have an account of and your admin sets up an alias for that account of If sends an email, but you search for "from:" the email sent by shows up as a search result the Gmail UI, but not in the API response.

  • The Gmail UI allows users to perform thread-wide searches, but the API doesn't.