How to Filter emails in Gmail based on Dates and Time period

Sometimes you might be in a hurry to find an old email that you have to urgently send to someone. If you don’t have any easy shortcuts for this, finding old mails from Gmail is definitely a difficult task. If you know the right ways using which you can locate your mails, this definitely is a walk in the park though.


If you know the approximate date on which you received the mail, you can easily find your mail with the help of  Gmail search parameters. In this article, we explain in detail the different date criteria that you can use to efficiently locate a mail that you have been trying to find with no luck till now.

Date Convention Used in the Article

Kindly note the date convention used in the article is as follows:

  • For years, YYYY. E.g., 2020
  • For months, MM. E.g., 01
  • For days, DD. E.g., 23

How to Find an Email Before or After a Certain Date

If you know that the email you are searching for, is received before or after a certain date, you can use that as your search criterion.

To find an email before a certain date, in the Gmail search bar, you have to search with Before:YYYY/MM/DD and hit the Enter key.



1 Before Date Optimized


E.g., Before:2019/08/15 searches for all the mails that came before the 15th of August, 2019.

To find an email after a certain date, in the Gmail search bar, you have to search with After:YYYY/MM/DD and hit the Enter key.

E.g., After:2018/06/07 searches for all the mails that came after the 7th of June, 2018.


How to Find All Emails Between Two Dates

If you would like to find an email between 2 particular dates, you can use the following search criteria for that.


E.g., After: 2021/02/02 Before:2021/03/02

The above search result would give you all the mails in your inbox between 2nd Feb, 2021 and 2nd March, 2021.


How to Find Emails Older or Newer than a Certain Period of time

If you only know that the email you are trying to find reached your inbox more than 6 months back or within 6 months, you can easily find that mail using the older_than and newer_than search criteria.

The below search criterion would give you all the emails in your inbox that’s more than 6 months old.


The below search criterion would give you all the emails that you received within the last 6 months.


Note: Please use D for day, M for month and Y for year for the older_than and newer_than search criteria. That is if you would like to find the emails that are older than 2 years, type the search criterion as:

older_than:2y, where y denotes the year.


How to Find Emails by Combining Before / After and Newer_than / Older_than

It is even possible to mix and match the newer_than and older_than search criteria with the before and after criteria.

This search technique is especially useful if you would like to find a mail that you received after a particular date, but is still older than 5 months.


after:2021/02/06 older_than:5m


How to Find Mails By Combining Keywords with Date Search Criteria

It is also possible to add keywords to your search criteria so that you can narrow down your search further. For example, if you want to find a mail that’s regarding your leaves, and you know the mail came after or before 13th June, 2021, then you can search with something like below.

after:2021/06/13 leave

The above search would give you the list of all mails that have the keyword leave in them and are also sent after the 13th of June, 2021.


Gmail thus has many very useful search functionalities that you can master, to reduce your effort in searching for emails. Please tell us in the comments whether you found the article useful or not.