Can you search only the message body in Gmail?
June 11, 2016 8:55 AM   Subscribe

My company switched from using Office365 to Google for our online stuff, and the one thing I miss is the ability to filter emails based only on the message body. In Outlook, you could filter based on just the message body and on the actual html of the message. I can't figure out how to either of these things in Gmail. Is there a way to do it?
posted by bluefly to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I think you have to use the minus indicator and say "Find this word only DON'T find it in the subject, from, or to lines"

so if I search for

jessamyn subject:(-jessamyn) from:(-jessamyn) to:(-jessamyn)

It will basically find emails that have my name in the email and are NOT from me or to me (i.e. only bcc'ed) or have my name in the subject line. Another way to do this is use Thunderbird to import a local copy of your gmail and use their search which does this more easily.
posted by jessamyn at 9:18 AM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Outlook doesn't require Exchange or Office365, it can be used with Google Apps very easily.
posted by MattD at 2:57 PM on June 11, 2016

Here are all the operators available in gmail.

I don't see a specific in body one, but you could use the subject trick above, though I think excluding the subject would exclude emails that have that thing in the subject. If you really seriously had to do it, and you don't want to use Exchange, the Gmail api can return json representations with a separate body field, so you could call the list function with the general search parameter you need, then retrieve every message that matches and match on body with a computer program.
posted by gryftir at 5:51 AM on June 12, 2016

So, I think the answer is no, Google does not offer these features.

I can't exclude the to field because one of things I filter for is my name, and this would exclude all the emails to me which defeats the purpose.

My desktop email program can filter, but it's not as convenient as setting rules server-side so the filters are more easily synced between devices. This is what I was hoping to achieve.

Outlook is what Office365 calls the email part. You can't use it on the server-side without having an account.

I'm not writing a program to filter emails. That's ridiculous. I can't believe Google of all companies doesn't provide email search comparable to Microsoft. I guess the service is cheaper for a reason.
posted by bluefly at 4:24 AM on June 15, 2016

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