Ask Techerator: How Can I Search Gmail for Specific Attachments?

Techerator team,

I love Gmail, but I’m tired of digging through my inbox to find important attachments from a long time ago.  Is there an easier way to find them?

Absolutely.  Gmail has some fantastic search features (just like the search engine that powers it), and you can use those to make quick work of your attachments problems.

You can display a list of every message with an attachment with the following search query (just type it in the search box):


And if you know what file type you’re looking for, type it after the original query:

has:attachment filetype

Just replace “filetype” with the extension of the file you’re looking for, i.e. “pdf”, “doc”, or “zip”.  The following query will display all emails with PowerPoint files attached:

has:attachment ppt

If you wanted to get fancy and search for both old versions of PowerPoint files (ppt) and new PowerPoint files (pptx, which started in Office 2007):

has:attachment (ppt OR pptx)

You might also want to search for attachments from a specific person.  Check out the following query to do that:

has:attachment from:mom

This query will only show messages from “mom” with attachments.

Using these tips will help you manage your Gmail attachments and be more productive.  Check out our original guide to get even more suggestions, including how to create automatic filetype filters so you won’t have to type any searches in the future.

Have a burning question you want answered?  Send it to us at – we’ll try our best to answer it.  And don’t forget to check out the rest of our helpful guides about Gmail!






4 responses to “Ask Techerator: How Can I Search Gmail for Specific Attachments?”

  1. […] or on the go, then weeding through your bursting inbox trying to find it. There is the option of a mailbox search with keywords, but it’s pretty much a bust if you can’t find something in 10 seconds. Catch […]

  2. Geoffrey Hoffman Avatar

    In my tests, `has:attachment pdf` is returning false positives. It also fails if the attachment isn’t named with a “.pdf” extension. GMail is just returning “has:attachment” along with a text search for “pdf” such as a link or the mention of PDF document types anywhere in the subject or body. I don’t think it is actually possible to find email containing attachments of a specific type, unfortunately. It works in many cases, though.

  3. Sébastien François Avatar

    The statement “has:attachment ppt” is not enough. You can find for a specific file type with the following statement for instance “has:attachment filename:ppt”

  4.  Avatar

    Works great. Many thanks.

Leave a Reply