notmuch-search-terms - syntax for notmuch queries


       notmuch count [option ...] <search-term> ...

       notmuch dump [--gzip] [--format=(batch-tag|sup)] [--output=<file>] [--]
       [<search-term> ...]

       notmuch reindex [option ...] <search-term> ...

       notmuch search [option ...] <search-term> ...

       notmuch show [option ...] <search-term> ...

       notmuch tag +<tag> ... -<tag> [--] <search-term> ...


       Several notmuch commands accept a common syntax for search terms.

       The search terms can consist of free-form  text  (and  quoted  phrases)
       which   will   match  all  messages  that  contain  all  of  the  given
       terms/phrases in the body, the subject, or any of the sender or recipi‐
       ent headers.

       As  a  special  case,  a  search  string consisting of exactly a single
       asterisk ("*") will match all messages.

  Search prefixes

       In addition to free text, the following prefixes can be used  to  force
       terms to match against specific portions of an email, (where <brackets>
       indicate user-supplied values).

       If notmuch is built with Xapian Field Processors (see  below)  some  of
       the  prefixes  with  <regex>  forms  can  be  also used to restrict the
       results  to  those  whose  value  matches  a  regular  expression  (see
       regex(7)) delimited with //, for example:

          notmuch search 'from:"/bob@.*[.]example[.]com/"'

       from:<name-or-address> or from:/<regex>/
              The  from:  prefix  is  used to match the name or address of the
              sender of an email message.

              The to: prefix is used to match the names or  addresses  of  any
              recipient of an email message, (whether To, Cc, or Bcc).

       subject:<word-or-quoted-phrase> or subject:/<regex>/
              Any  term  prefixed  with subject: will match only text from the
              subject of an email. Searching for a phrase in  the  subject  is
              supported  by including quotation marks around the phrase, imme‐
              diately following subject:.

              The attachment: prefix can be used to search for specific  file‐
              names (or extensions) of attachments to email messages.

              The  mimetype:  prefix  will be used to match text from the con‐
              tent-types of MIME parts within email messages (as specified  by
              the sender).

       tag:<tag> or tag:/<regex>/ or is:<tag> or is:/<regex>/
              For  tag:  and  is: valid tag values include inbox and unread by
              default for new messages added by notmuch new  as  well  as  any
              other tag values added manually with notmuch tag.

       id:<message-id> or mid:<message-id> or mid:/<regex>/
              For  id: and mid:, message ID values are the literal contents of
              the Message-ID: header of email messages, but without  the  '<',
              '>' delimiters.

              The  thread:  prefix  can be used with the thread ID values that
              are generated internally by notmuch (and do not appear in  email
              messages).  These thread ID values can be seen in the first col‐
              umn of output from notmuch search

       thread:{<notmuch query>}
              If notmuch is built with Xapian Field  Processors  (see  below),
              threads may be searched for indirectly by providing an arbitrary
              notmuch query in {}. For example, the following returns  threads
              containing  a  message from mallory and one (not necessarily the
              same message) with Subject containing the word "crypto".

                 % notmuch search 'thread:"{from:mallory}" and thread:"{subject:crypto}"'

              The performance of such queries can vary wildly.  To  understand
              this, the user should think of the query thread:{<something>} as
              expanding to all of the thread IDs which match <something>; not‐
              much then performs a second search using the expanded query.

       path:<directory-path> or path:<directory-path>/** or path:/<regex>/
              The path: prefix searches for email messages that are in partic‐
              ular directories within the mail store. The  directory  must  be
              specified  relative  to  the  top-level maildir (and without the
              leading slash). By default, path: matches messages in the speci‐
              fied  directory only. The "/**" suffix can be used to match mes‐
              sages in the specified  directory  and  all  its  subdirectories
              recursively.  path:""  matches  messages in the root of the mail
              store and, likewise, path:** matches all messages.

              path: will find a message if any copy of that message is in  the
              specific directory.

       folder:<maildir-folder> or folder:/<regex>/
              The  folder: prefix searches for email messages by maildir or MH
              folder. For MH-style folders, this is equivalent to  path:.  For
              maildir, this includes messages in the "new" and "cur" subdirec‐
              tories. The exact syntax for maildir  folders  depends  on  your
              mail  configuration.  For maildir++, folder:"" matches the inbox
              folder (which is the root  in  maildir++),  other  folder  names
              always start with ".", and nested folders are separated by "."s,
              such as folder:.classes.topology. For "file system" maildir, the
              inbox is typically folder:INBOX and nested folders are separated
              by slashes, such as folder:classes/topology.

              folder: will find a message if any copy of that  message  is  in
              the specific folder.

       date:<since>..<until> or date:<date>
              The  date:  prefix  can  be used to restrict the results to only
              messages within a particular time  range  (based  on  the  Date:

              See  DATE AND TIME SEARCH below for details on the range expres‐
              sion, and supported syntax for <since> and <until> date and time

              The  time  range  can also be specified using timestamps without
              including the date prefix using a syntax of:


              Each timestamp is a number representing the  number  of  seconds
              since  1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC. Specifying a time range this way
              is considered legacy and predates the date prefix.

              The lastmod: prefix can be used to restrict the  result  by  the
              database  revision  number  of  when messages were last modified
              (tags were added/removed or filenames changed). This is  usually
              used  in  conjunction with the --uuid argument to notmuch search
              to find messages that have changed since an earlier query.

              The query: prefix allows queries to refer  to  previously  saved
              queries  added  with  notmuch-config(1).  Named queries are only
              available if notmuch is built with Xapian Field Processors  (see

              The  property:  prefix  searches  for messages with a particular
              <key>=<value> property pair. Properties are used  internally  by
              notmuch  (and  extensions)  to add metadata to messages. A given
              key can be present on a given  message  with  several  different
              values.  See notmuch-properties(7) for more details.


       In  addition  to  individual terms, multiple terms can be combined with
       Boolean operators (and, or, not, and xor). Each term in the query  will
       be  implicitly  connected  by  a logical AND if no explicit operator is
       provided (except that terms with a common  prefix  will  be  implicitly
       combined  with  OR).   The  shorthand  '-<term>'  can  be used for 'not
       <term>' but unfortunately this does not work at the start of an expres‐
       sion.   Parentheses  can also be used to control the combination of the
       Boolean operators, but will have to be protected from interpretation by
       the shell, (such as by putting quotation marks around any parenthesized

       In addition to the standard boolean operators, Xapian provides  several
       operators specific to text searching.

          notmuch search term1 NEAR term2

       will  return  results  where  term1  is  within  10 words of term2. The
       threshold can be set like this:

          notmuch search term1 NEAR/2 term2

       The search

          notmuch search term1 ADJ term2

       will return results where term1 is within 10 words of term2, but in the
       same  order  as in the query. The threshold can be set the same as with

          notmuch search term1 ADJ/7 term2


       Stemming in notmuch means that these searches

          notmuch search detailed
          notmuch search details
          notmuch search detail

       will all return identical results, because Xapian first  "reduces"  the
       term to the common stem (here 'detail') and then performs the search.

       There  are  two  ways to turn this off: a search for a capitalized word
       will be performed unstemmed, so that one can search for "John" and  not
       get  results  for  "Johnson";  phrase  searches are also unstemmed (see
       below for details).  Stemming is currently only supported for  English.
       Searches for words in other languages will be performed unstemmed.


       It  is  possible  to  use  a  trailing  '*' as a wildcard. A search for
       'wildc*' will match 'wildcard', 'wildcat', etc.

  Boolean and Probabilistic Prefixes

       Xapian (and hence notmuch)  prefixes  are  either  boolean,  supporting
       exact  matches  like  "tag:inbox"  or  probabilistic, supporting a more
       flexible term based searching. Certain special prefixes  are  processed
       by  notmuch  in  a way not strictly fitting either of Xapian's built in
       styles. The prefixes currently supported by notmuch are as follows.

              tag:, id:, thread:, folder:, path:, property:

              to:, attachment:, mimetype:

              from:, query:, subject:

  Terms and phrases

       In general Xapian distinguishes between lists  of  terms  and  phrases.
       Phrases are indicated by double quotes (but beware you probably need to
       protect those from your shell) and insist that  those  unstemmed  words
       occur  in  that  order. One useful, but initially surprising feature is
       that the following are equivalent ways to write the same phrase.

       · "a list of words"

       · a-list-of-words

       · a/list/of/words

       · a.list.of.words

       Both parenthesised lists of terms and quoted phrases are ok with proba‐
       bilistic prefixes such as to:, from:, and subject:. In particular

          subject:(pizza free)

       is equivalent to

          subject:pizza and subject:free

       Both of these will match a subject "Free Delicious Pizza" while

          subject:"pizza free"

       will not.


       Double  quotes  are  also  used  by the notmuch query parser to protect
       boolean terms, regular expressions, or subqueries containing spaces  or
       other special characters, e.g.

          tag:"a tag"


          thread:"{from:mallory and date:2009}"

       As  with  phrases, you need to protect the double quotes from the shell

          % notmuch search 'folder:"/^.*/(Junk|Spam)$/"'
          % notmuch search 'thread:"{from:mallory and date:2009}" and thread:{to:mallory}'


       notmuch understands a variety of standard and natural ways of  express‐
       ing dates and times, both in absolute terms ("2012-10-24") and in rela‐
       tive terms ("yesterday"). Any number of relative terms can be  combined
       ("1  hour  25  minutes") and an absolute date/time can be combined with
       relative terms to further adjust it. A  non-exhaustive  description  of
       the syntax supported for absolute and relative terms is given below.

  The range expression


       The  above  expression  restricts  the  results  to  only messages from
       <since> to <until>, based on the Date: header.

       <since> and <until> can describe imprecise times, such as  "yesterday".
       In  this  case, <since> is taken as the earliest time it could describe
       (the beginning of yesterday) and <until> is taken as the latest time it
       could  describe (the end of yesterday). Similarly, date:january..febru‐
       ary matches from the beginning of January to the end of February.

       If specifying a time range using timestamps  in  conjunction  with  the
       date  prefix,  each  timestamp must be preceded by @ (ASCII hex 40). As
       above, each timestamp is a number representing the  number  of  seconds
       since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC. For example:

       date:<expr>..!  can be used as a shorthand for date:<expr>..<expr>. The
       expansion takes place before interpretation,  and  thus,  for  example,
       date:monday..!  matches  from  the beginning of Monday until the end of
       Monday.  With Xapian Field Processor  support  (see  below),  non-range
       date  queries such as date:yesterday will work, but otherwise will give
       unexpected results; if in doubt use date:yesterday..!

       Currently, we do not support  spaces  in  range  expressions.  You  can
       replace the spaces with '_', or (in most cases) '-', or (in some cases)
       leave the spaces out altogether. Examples in this man page  use  spaces
       for clarity.

       Open-ended  ranges are supported (since Xapian 1.2.1), i.e. it's possi‐
       ble to specify date:..<until> or date:<since>.. to not limit the  start
       or end time, respectively. Pre-1.2.1 Xapian does not report an error on
       open ended ranges, but it does not work as expected either.

  Relative date and time

       [N|number]         (years|months|weeks|days|hours|hrs|minutes|mins|sec‐
       onds|secs) [...]

       All refer to past, can be repeated and will be accumulated.

       Units  can  be  abbreviated to any length, with the otherwise ambiguous
       single m being m for minutes and M for months.

       Number can also be written out one,  two,  ...,  ten,  dozen,  hundred.
       Additionally, the unit may be preceded by "last" or "this" (e.g., "last
       week" or "this month").

       When combined with absolute date and time, the relative date  and  time
       specification  will  be  relative  from the specified absolute date and

       Examples: 5M2d, two weeks

  Supported absolute time formats

       · H[H]:MM[:SS] [(am|a.m.|pm|p.m.)]

       · H[H] (am|a.m.|pm|p.m.)

       · HHMMSS

       · now

       · noon

       · midnight

       · Examples: 17:05, 5pm

  Supported absolute date formats

       · YYYY-MM[-DD]

       · DD-MM[-[YY]YY]

       · MM-YYYY

       · M[M]/D[D][/[YY]YY]

       · M[M]/YYYY

       · D[D].M[M][.[YY]YY]

       · D[D][(st|nd|rd|th)] Mon[thname] [YYYY]

       · Mon[thname] D[D][(st|nd|rd|th)] [YYYY]

       · Wee[kday]

       Month names can be abbreviated at three or more characters.

       Weekday names can be abbreviated at three or more characters.

       Examples: 2012-07-31, 31-07-2012, 7/31/2012, August 3

  Time zones

       · (+|-)HH:MM

       · (+|-)HH[MM]

       Some time zone codes, e.g. UTC, EET.


       Certain optional features of the notmuch query processor  rely  on  the
       presence  of  the Xapian field processor API. You can determine if your
       notmuch was built against a sufficiently recent version  of  Xapian  by

          % notmuch config get built_with.field_processor

       Currently the following features require field processor support:

       · non-range date queries, e.g. "date:today"

       · named queries e.g. "query:my_special_query"

       · regular expression searches, e.g. "subject:/^\[SPAM\]/"

       · thread subqueries, e.g. "thread:{from:bob}"


       notmuch(1),  notmuch-config(1), notmuch-count(1), notmuch-dump(1), not‐
       much-hooks(5), notmuch-insert(1),  notmuch-new(1),  notmuch-reindex(1),
       notmuch-properties(1),   *notmuch-reply(1),   notmuch-restore(1),  not‐
       much-search(1), *notmuch-show(1), notmuch-tag(1)


       Carl Worth and many others


       2009-2018, Carl Worth and many others