Searching for messages

Zulip has a powerful search engine under its hood. Search for messages using the search bar at the top of the app.


  • stream:design has:link -is:starred new logo

Searches for messages in #design that have a link, that you haven't starred, and that contain the words new and logo.

The permalink for that search (web only) will look something like this:


List of operators

As you start typing, Zulip will suggest possible operator completions. Operators can be used with keywords, or on their own. For example,

  • stream:design logo will search for the word logo within #design
  • stream:design will navigate to #design

Here is the full list of search operators.

  • stream:design: Search within the stream #design.
  • stream:design topic:emoji+picker: Search within the topic emoji picker.
  • is:private: Search all your private messages.
  • Search 1-on-1 private messages between you and Ada.
  •, Search group private messages between you, Bob, and Ada.
  • Search all group private message conversations that include you and Ada, as well as any other users.
  • Search messages sent by Ada.
  • sender:me: Search messages you've sent.
  • near:12345: Show messages around the message with ID 12345.
  • id:12345: Show only message 12345.
  • is:alerted: See alert words.
  • is:mentioned: See mentions.
  • is:starred: See starred messages.
  • is:resolved: Search messages in resolved topics.
  • -is:resolved: Search messages in unresolved topics.
  • is:unread
  • has:link
  • has:image
  • has:attachment
  • streams:public: Search the history of all public streams in the organization, including streams you are not subscribed to.

Excluding messages

Zulip's search operators can be negated, to exclude messages matching the rule. For example, stream:design -is:resolved -has:image will match all messages that don't contain an image and were sent to unresolved topics in the #design stream.

Searching shared history

Zulip's stream permissions model allows access to the full history of public streams and private streams with shared history, including messages sent before you joined the stream (or organization) or those sent to public streams you are not subscribed to.

By default, Zulip searches messages in your history, i.e. the messages you actually received. This avoids cluttering search results with irrelevant messages from public streams you're not interested in.

If you'd like to instead search the organization's shared history, any query using the stream: or streams: operators will search all messages that you have access to in the selected stream(s). For example:

  • streams:public keyword searches for keyword in all public streams in the organization.
  • streams:public searches for all messages sent by the user to any public stream.

Words and phrases

Most searches consist of a list of operators followed by a list of keywords.

  • new logo: Search for messages with both new and logo.
  • "new logo": Search for messages with the phrase "new logo".

Zulip does some basic stemming, so wave will match waves and waving. Keywords are case-insensitive, so wave will also match Wave.

Emoji are included in searches, so if you search for octopus it will include messages with octopus.

Note that Zulip ignores common words like a, the, and about 100 others. A quirk in Zulip's current implementation means that if all of your keywords are ignored, we'll return 0 search results.