Searching through the MailVault email archive

Our approach to MailVault’s search functionality is a little like that of Google Search. Keep it simple and return relevant results.

Most times it should “just work”. When you need to consciously slice, dice and zoom in through the clutter, the following information and hints will help you to make the most of MailVault’s simple search.

Where do we search?

In the email headers (sender, receivers, subject, date), the entire mail body and in the content of some types of attachments (doc, pdf, html).

Search terms

The search query can be made up of single words, multiple words and phrases. Additionally these can be combined using special operators. This is better explained using a few examples.

Exact matches

Search: mail
Will match documents containing the exact word “mail” (not mails, mailing, mailvault, etc.).

Matching any of the terms

Search: mail archive
Will match documents containing the word “mail” OR the word “archive”.

Keep in mind that when we enter multiple words separated by spaces, the default behavior is to match documents that contain any of the words.

Matching all terms

Search: mail AND archive
Will match documents containing the word “mail” AND the word “archive”.

Pattern matching

By default, wildcard pattern matching does not take place. You must explicitly use the characters ? or * to match exactly a single character, or zero or more characters respectively.

Search: mail*

Matches messages containing mail, mails, mailing, mailvault, etc.

Search: mail?

This will match mail and mails, but will not match mailing and mailvault.

Please note that you cannot use ? or * as the first character of any word in your search query. Doing so, will result in an“invalid query syntax” message.

Negating a term

Search: NOT microsoft
Using NOT negates the match. So, NOT microsoft would match all email not containing the word microsoft.

Search: archiv* NOT mailvault

To locate messages that talk about email archiving and don’t mention MailVault (although why would you? 🙂

Matching phrases

Search: “John Doe
This would match all mail containing the phrase “John Doe”. You can search for phrases, by enclosing the search term within double quotes.

Grouping and building complex queries

Sometimes you may need to fine-tune your query to really zoom in on some information. You could use a combination of the tips above, as well as grouping to form a more complex query. Grouping is done using parenthesis.

Search: (John OR Jane) AND (archiv* NOT mailvault)

Something like this could be used to search for messages that must contain either John or Jane and talk of archiving, but not MailVault.

Using saved searches

If you need to run the same complex searches often, it will soon get tedious to keep typing out long queries. That’s where “Save search” comes in. Once you have fine-tuned your search and gotten the results you want, you can say “Save search”, give it a name and the next time around access it from “My searches”, right next to the search box.

Note: The search terms themselves are case-insensitive (apple, Apple, APPLE will all produce the same results), but the logical operators are case sensitive. You must use OR, AND, NOT in upper-case.

For the occasional times, that you may need to use additional criteria and filters, head over to the “Advanced search” page and use the point and click functionality to build your search query.

May you find the information you seek!

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