How-To Geek

Gmail Now Searches Inside PDF, Word, and PowerPoint Attachments

Gmail has long had a robust system for searching within the subjects and bodies of your emails, now you can search inside select attachments–PDF, Word, and PowerPoint attachments are all searchable.

Prior to this update, Gmail could search inside of HTML attachments but lacked more advanced attachment querying abilities. Now when you search your Gmail account you’ll see search results for not only the subject and body contents but also the contents of popular formats like PDF and Word documents.

Don’t forget to take advantage of advanced search terms to speed up your query. If you know the information you need is in an attachment but can’t remember which email, include “has:attachment” in your search to only peek inside emails with attachments.

[via Google]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/2/12

Comments (8)

  1. r

    I’ve had a Gmail account since way back when you had to be invited by someone who was already a member, back in 2004. I’ve never used it for anything & don’t even remember my password. –The End

  2. TJ

    Thanks for your two cents r..

  3. r

    my pleasure,…would you like fries with that?

  4. M Henri Day

    Thanks for the heads-up, Jason – we Gmail users have been waiting for this useful feature for quite some time !…


  5. MEL

    I love this!

    Just had my “first time” hands-on training yesterday with Google Apps and our trainer’s answer to my query regarding the availability of this search capability is, “Um, not yet available as of this time.”

    Now I guess I can give him a good slap on the face using this page, eh? LOL! :))

  6. Erik

    Who does this benefit more, Gmail or its users?

  7. justjim

    How can I NOT search the content of the attachment?

  8. cboyd

    Same question as justjim. It’s a useful feature, but sometimes I DON’T want to search the attachments…how do we do that?

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