Kay lives here

working with the web

Persistent Searches in Gmail

I just realised it was my two year Gmail account anniversary on Friday. I’m currently sitting at 688MB or 25%, which is a lot if you consider that there’s very few attachments in there! Tagging my messages has totally changed the way I approach mail and I gotta say I totally love it.

One of the great things about Gmail is that I keep discovering new tips and techniques. The latest is the custom search “label:unread | label:inbox | label:starred“. This shows me everything that’s currently in my inbox, unread OR starred – basically, everything that needs my attention. If I have too many starred items waiting for me to deal with, I sometimes drop the starred label and just use “label:unread | label:inbox“.

This has another advantage over just using “label:unread” to see all unread messages. When you use that label, archiving or assigning a label to a message being viewed will send you straight back to the unread message listing with that message no longer showing (as it’s no longer unread), so if you want to apply a label AND archive a message you can’t do it from that screen. When you use a custom search, however, you can apply label or multiple labels or archive the message and you don’t automatically get redirected after that happens. Much more usable.

One problem with this otherwise very clever trick was there’s no way to save custom searches and no way to bookmark that particular search, so anytime I wanted to use it I had to type it into the search bar. I figured that some clever cookie would probably have written a Greasemonkey script to save custom searches as buttons or something, but it was only today that I actually went out and looked for one. Low and behold, a Google search for “gmail saved search” turned up a Greasemonkey script doing exactly what I want as the first result. Thanks again Google!

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