Gmail logoSomehow, I have let my Gmail inbox get totally out of control. I don't know if it was the holidays or what, but as of this morning, I had over 800 unread messages in my Gmail inbox. I decided a little while ago that it was time to focus on getting the situation resolved. Gmail's excellent search capabilities will help me solve this problem in a snap. What I'm going to do is use Gmail's search to create a list of unread messages in my inbox and then work through them as quickly as possible. By the way, keyboard shortcuts make this go a lot quicker!

I use labels extensively, and about 100 of these messages are labeled as either "security" or "cisco." The emails in these labels need to be reviewed closely, so I'm going to go ahead and exclude them from this search. Therefore, the search below will find all unread messages in my inbox, unless they are labeled as "security" or "cisco."

is:unread in:inbox -{label:security label:cisco}

This should be entered in the Gmail search box. The only really tricky things here are the curly braces ({}) and minus sign (-). The curly braces treat everything inside as if it was separated by a logical OR. In this case, it matches any message that is labeled "security" or "cisco." WIthout the curly braces, a message would have to be in both labels to match. The minus sign lets Gmail know that I don't want to see the results of that match in the final search results.