USING SEARCH & FILTER FUNCTIONS IN SMITH MAIL
You can use Mail search the same way you'd use Google Search, by entering a word (or multiple words) that appears anywhere within the message you want to locate. If you're looking for a message that contains the word travel, simply type travel in the search field and click the search button. The default is to search your mail.
Your results will be displayed with a list of mail that contains just that word. Mail Search doesn't recognize partial or similar matches, so a search for travel will find travel, but not travels, traveler, or travle. You can not use special search characters like square brackets, parentheses, currency symbols, the ampersand, the pound sign, and asterisks.
Expand your Search
If you're having trouble finding the result you want, you can refine your query by clicking the small arrow in the search box, and entering your criteria in the appropriate fields.
You can search messages From a user or To a user. If you know a word or phrase is part of the Subject type it in that field. Using the Has the words or Doesn't have will help refine the search. You can simply search for any or all mail that has an attachment by clicking in the Has attachment. You can search for a date or within a range of dates.
For more information on searching for old messages by date to move to a label or archive click here to see Gmail Tips.
To see a list of Googles advanced operators, click here.
You can create filters to handle advertizing feeds, News Groups or list serv messages appearing in your inbox. You can filter these out so they never appear in your inbox again. You can chose to delete them or move them to a particular label and completely skip the inbox. You will have to decide what to do per type of message. Creating a filter will mark all related messages to be handled this way now and in the future.
News Groups, List Serve and Feeds
You can create several simple filters for taking care of these types of messages, if you don't want them open one message and unsubscribe or build a filter to skip the inbox and delete it. If you want them but not in your inbox you can filter them to skip the inbox and move directly to a label which you can access and read later.
Open the message
Click the More dropdown, select Filter messages like these
This will open the Search criteria window. Click Create Filter with this search
This will open the Apply Action to the filter window. You can make several choices.
First select to Skip the Inbox (this way they will never appear there again). Second if you are keeping the messages to read later, click Apply a Label, choose the label from the list provided. This type of filter will skip the inbox and archive messages directly to the label which you have chosen. If you just don't want them click on Delete it. Note: You can not label them spam or trash as these are system labels. You can now apply the filter to all matching conversations. (this shows 2 matching conversations)
For more information see GMail Tips for Creating Filters