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Gmail search does not implement sub-string, partial word, wildcard, or regular expression searching. We have communicated the need for these features to Google, which has feature requests in their system for these improvements.  Please see below for some techniques that will help searching.  You can also use your Gmail labels to help focus searches.

Example of sub-string search not working

  1. Enter in the word or multiple words that you would like to search for in the Gmail Search field.  Then click on Search Mail.  The search field is located just above mailbox.  The search will look for words anywhere in a message. 

  2. The results will be displayed.

  3. Gmail will highlight, in yellow, the word that you have searched for within the email.  To see the word highlighted you would need to open an email within the search results.

  4. Now we will search for report.  Notice the results below.  The results are not the same as above.  Gmail does not recognize partial or similar matches.  A search for reports will find reports, but not report or reported.  Also, Gmail search does not recognize special search characters like square brackets, parentheses, currency symbols, the ampersand, the pound sign, and asterisks. 

Other Options

  1. If you're having trouble finding the result you want, you can refine your query by clicking Show search options next to the search box. 

  2. You now have the ability to refine your search by entering search criteria in the appropriate fields.  After entering in your criteria, click on Search Mail.

  3. Another way to perform an Advanced Search would be to enter in Advanced Search Operators.  Click here to review Advanced Search Operators

IT Division Help Desk: (510) 486-4357,

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