Gmail tip: searching by the first post in a conversation

For those of you who are Gmail (or Google Apps Mail) power users, here’s a little hack that I figured out.

I use the “to:” and “from:” Gmail search parameters all the time to pinpoint an e-mail that I’m looking for.  But have you ever wanted to find an e-mail that you know was the *start* of an e-mail thread (thread = what’s referred to in the official Gmail lingo as a conversation)?  Well, even though Google Mail hides ’em from you in conversation view, all reply subject lines still contain the standard “Re:” string and all forwarded e-mail subject lines contain the standard “Fwd:”.So all you have to do is take the search you’re doing and have it exclude any subject line that contains Re: or Fwd:! 

For example, if I’m looking for every e-mail from my friend Shashi that he originated (vs. an e-mail that he might have been received and subsequently replied to), I’d do a search like this:

 from:shashi -subject:Re: -subject:Fwd:   

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