How to Search Emails in Gmail by Specific Time

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Learn how to perform a date range search in Gmail and find email messages that were sent or received during a specific date and time

Published in: Gmail - Google Apps Script - Search Tricks

Gmail supports a plethora of search operators to help you instantly find that elusive email message buried in your mailbox. You have size search - like larger_than:5mb - to find the big messages in your account. File search - like has:attachment filename:doc - will locate email messages that contain specific file attachments. This graphic illustrates all the known Gmail search operators that work both on Gmail website and mobile.

Gmail Search Tricks

Search by Date in Gmail

Date search in Gmail helps you locate emails sent or received during a specific period. Here are some examples:

  • newer_than:7d from:me - Emails sent in the last 7 days
  • after:2020/10/15 before:2020/10/20 from:uber - Emails from Uber received between October 15 and October 20.
  • newer_than:60d older_than:30d - All emails received in the previous 30-day range.

The date in the Gmail search query is specified in the YYYY/MM/DD format.

Search Emails by Specific Time in Gmail

Gmail supports an undocumented time-based search option that lets you find emails sent or received during a specific hour, minute or event second. For instance, you can limit your Gmail search to emails that were received between October 10 8:15 PM and October 10, 2020 8:45 PM.

Gmail Search Date and Time

To get started, convert the date and time to Epoch time and then use the timestamp with the standard after or before search operator of Gmail.

For instance, the Epoch time for October 10 8:30 PM is 1602774000 and that of October 10 8:45 PM is 1602774900. Use the search query after:1602774000 before:1602774900 to:me in Gmail and you’ll get a list of all emails that were received during that 15-minute period.

Epoch time is the number of seconds that have elapsed since January 1, 1970 (UTC). Use the Epoch converter to represent a human readable date and time in Epoch and use that timestamp with the before or after search operator of Gmail to find that elusive email.

Date and Time Search with Google Script

Here’s a little snippet that will automate your Gmail search by time using the Gmail API. It will fetch all email messages that were received between 12:15 PM and 1:30 PM.

const emailReceived = () => {
  const secondsSinceEpoch = (date) => Math.floor(date.getTime() / 1000);
  const after = new Date();
  const before = new Date();
  after.setHours(12, 15, 0, 0);
  before.setHours(13, 30, 0, 0);
  const query = `after:${secondsSinceEpoch(after)} before:${secondsSinceEpoch(
    before
  )}`;
  const messages = Gmail.Users.Messages.list('me', {
    q: query,
  });
  Logger.log(messages);
};

Also see: Mail Merge for Gmail

Published in: Gmail - Google Apps Script - Search Tricks

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Meet the Author

Web Geek, Google Developer Expert
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Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India. He is the developer of Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory

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