Find messages with Email Log Search

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Use Email Log Search (ELS) to find and review email messages that people in your organization send and receive. You can find all messages within a specific time range, or search for messages by sender, date, or message ID. You can optionally download your ELS results to a Google Sheet or .csv file.

Note: ELS isn't available to resellers using a resold domain Admin console with the reseller console.

ELS helps you:

  • Find missing email messages, and troubleshoot why these messages weren’t delivered as expected.
  • Verify how your organization's email policies and rules affect your email flow and delivery.
  • Check the status of messages after they’re delivered, including information about message labels, message location, whether the message was marked as spam, and if the message was deleted after delivery.

With ELS, you can search for:

  • Messages to or from specific people in your organization.
  • Messages by email address, IP address, or domain.
  • Messages within a default date range, or within a custom date range that you specify.
  • Messages sent to Google Groups, or to other mailing lists that include your users. 
Tips for searching with ELS

Here are some helpful tips for using ELS to find messages.

ELS results limits

In a single search, ELS can get up to:

  • 1,000 messages
  • 15,000 log entries per message

Log entries for a message show a status for each step of message delivery. Each message typically has 5–7 log entries per recipient. So, messages sent to large groups with many recipients can have more than 15,000 log entries.

The time it takes to get your search results depends on how many messages are returned in the search. For search results with many messages, ELS results can take up to an hour. 

Narrow your search

You might get this message when using ELS to find a message with a large number of recipients: Your search is too wide to show all the messages. Consider narrowing the search criteria.

To narrow your search, use the message recipient only as the search criteria. If you’re looking for a specific message sent to many recipients, search with the message ID and, if applicable, a specific recipient. 

You can also narrow your search by adding other search conditions or by selecting a shorter date and time range.

Limitations for messages older than 30 days

For messages older than 30 days:

  • You can't search using a Google Group email address.
  • You must include both the recipient email address and the message ID in your search.
  • ELS provides message post-delivery status only. Message delivery status isn't available for messages older than 30 days.

Find messages with Email Log Search

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu ""and then"" Reportingand thenEmail Log Search.
  3. Select a date range from the menu, or specify a range using the calendar.
  4. (Optional) If you specify a date range and also want to specify a time range, enter a different start and end time for the date range. Times are shown in the time zone of the computer that you're using with the Admin console.
  5. (Optional) Enter search criteria in any of the following fields:
    • Sender—All or part of the sender's email address or Return-Path address. The sender's Return-Path address is contained in the message header. To search for an exact match, enter the complete email address and enclose it in quotes, for example, “john@solarmora.com"

      Note: When searching for a message sent to a group email address, search by message ID. Searching with the group address as the recipient won't show the delivery to individual group members.

    • Recipient—The recipient's complete or partial email address.
    • Sender IP or Recipient IP—The exact IP address of the sender or recipient. IP addresses that aren't exact don't return any messages in the search.

      Note: When you search with Sender IP, the results might show a Google outbound IP address instead of the public outbound IP address for your domain. Gmail sends outgoing messages through Gmail servers, which use Google outbound IP addresses.

    • Subject—An email subject line or part of a subject line. This option is case-insensitive. For the message to be returned, the subject line text must match exactly the text you enter in this field. This search option isn’t available for all accounts.
    • Message ID—The unique message ID located in the message header. If you also specify a date and time range, this option overrides date and time range. Searching by Message ID returns matching messages, even if they're outside a specified date range.

      Visit Trace an email with its full headers for instructions on how to find the message ID for different mail providers.

  6. Click Search. Search results are returned within a minute or two. Sometimes, it can take up to an hour.
    • Search results are limited to 1000 messages.
    • For multi-page results, use the arrows at the top or bottom of the message list to change pages.
    • Click a subject or message ID for message details, including delivery path and status. Learn more.
    • If you get too many results, try to narrow your search.

Next steps

For help interpreting your ELS results, visit Understand Email Log Search results.

For help exporting ELS results, visit Export ELS results.

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