Use Vault to search Google Groups

Google Vault is for administrators and legal personnel. Before you can use Vault, your Google Workspace admin must set up your account. Who is my administrator?

As part of your Google Workspace data eDiscovery projects, you can use Vault to search for messages in Google Groups, review and print message contents, and view and download attachments.

Things to know before you search

Before you search for messages, we recommend you review the Groups messages supported in Vault and the Vault Search FAQ.

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What data is searched


  • The first 1 MB of text and attachments of a message sent when conversation history is turned on

Not searched:

  • Messages in groups sent when conversation history is turned off
  • Messages waiting for approval in moderated groups
  • Linked files
  • Messages in deleted groups

For details, see Supported services and data types.

Why search unprocessed data?

Search unprocessed data to make sure you get all data that might be relevant to a case. Unprocessed data includes:

  • Messages and attachments that Google Groups is still indexing.
  • For large messages and attachments, where only the first 1 MB is indexed, the content beyond 1 MB.
  • Attachments that couldn’t be converted to text and indexed.

If you search all data or held data and you enter search terms, Vault can’t match terms to the unprocessed data. To be certain that you collect all data that might match your terms, you can search for unprocessed data associated with the accounts or organizational unit of interest, export it, and use another tool to search it for your terms.

Search for messages in groups

  1. Sign in to
  2. Click Matters. You search for data in matters, which are workspaces for your Vault projects. Matters let you group related holds, searches, and exports together. Matters don't restrict what data you can search—all data that you are allowed to access is searchable from any matter.
  3. If the matter you want to run the search query in exists, click it to open it. Otherwise, create a matter:
    1. Click Create.
    2. Enter a name for the matter and, optionally, a description.
    3. Click Create.

    The Search tab opens.

  4. For the service, select Groups.
  5. Select the source data to search:
    • All data—Search all messages in your organization.
    • Held data—Search only messages on hold for the matter.
    • Unprocessed data—Search only messages that Google Groups is still processing or can't index. For details, on this page see Why search unprocessed data?
  6. Enter one or more groups separated by commas. You can search up to 50 groups.
  7. (Optional) Select a time zone.
  8. (Optional) Enter a range for Date sent.
    • If you enter a start date, Vault returns all messages sent on or after that date.
    • If you enter an end date, Vault returns all messages sent on or before that date.
  9. (Optional) In Terms, enter one or more search terms:
    • To search for one or more keywords in the message, enter words separated by spaces. For example, project goals.
    • To search for a phrase, put the words in quotes. For example,"project goals".
    • To search by account, date, message properties, or subject, use search operators.

    Search terms can't exceed 2,000 characters.

  10. Click one of the following:
    • Search—Run your search and return a list of messages that match your query.
    • Count—Calculate the number of messages that match your query and the number of accounts that have matching messages. To download a CSV file of the query count data, click Download Accounts With Matches. Learn more about assessing the scope of a query.
    • Export—Directly export the search results and skip the search results preview. Learn more about exports
  11. After your search, count, or export completes, you can take the following actions:
    • To edit your search, click Expand.
    • To open a preview of a message and its thread, click the message. Learn more
    • To create an export of your search results, click Export. Learn more
    • To save your query, click Save. Learn more
    • To clear all fields and start a new search, click Clear.

Preview messages in search results

After you run a search, you can review and print the messages that matched your query, and view and download attachments.

  1. In the search results list, click the message. A list of messages in the thread opens and automatically displays the content of the most recent message in the thread.
    • Messages with a  have one or more attachments. Click the message to download or view the attachment.
    • For long threads, only the most recent 100 messages are available in preview. However, an export of the search results includes all messages that match your query, including messages not in preview.
  2. To show the contents of an individual message, click the message. To show the contents of all messages in the thread, click Expand all .
  3. To view a message and all its header content, click Original.
  4. To print an individual message, click Print. To print all messages in a thread, click Print thread .

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