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Creating Gmail Filters to Organize Your Email

Whether using email for work or pleasure, it is important to ensure that we receive the messages we want while avoiding spam and other junk. Furthermore, it is extremely useful for your email to be presorted into the appropriate folder for review. Here's how to create filters for one of today's most popular email services, Gmail:

  • One thing to note offhand is that, instead of the traditional "folder" system, Gmail employs "labels", which are essentially the same thing.
  • To filter your email, click the "Settings" button, the one with a gear icon in the top right screen. Afterwards, click Filters, and any filters you have already created will appear.
  • Click "Create a New Filter" to proceed, where you can make filters based on the following categories: From, To, Subject, Has the words, Doesn't have and Has attachment. To ensure that your filter will work, you can click the "Test Search" button to see if it will catch the emails you want it to. Then all you have to do is click "next step", where you can choose the following options for your filter: Skip the Inbox, Mark as Read, Star It, Apply the label: (choose the folder the email goes to), Forward it to:, Delete it and Never send it to Spam.
  • If you wanted to create a filter for your Facebook emails, for example, you would put "Facebook" in the From box. Since not every Facebook email is from facebook.com, if you put "facebook.com" in the From box, you would still get emails from facebookmail.com in your Inbox. If you want your emails to end up in a specific label, like Facebook, all you have to do is click "Apply the Label" on the "Create the Filter" menu. This way, all of your Facebook emails would go straight into the Facebook Label.
  • In addition, you can also use individual emails to create a filter. To do so, simply select the message you would like to build a filter around from your message list. Next, click on the "More" button, then select "Filter messages like these." Afterwards, punch in your filter criteria in the appropriate data fields.
  • If you would like to edit or delete any particular filters, simply click the gear icon to select "Settings", then click the Filters tab. From there, locate the filter that you'd like to alter and click "edit" or "delete" to remove the filter. If you want to edit the filter, enter the revised specifics for the filter and click "Edit filter actions." To make changes permanent, just update any actions and select the "Update filter" button.

 

It is important to note when creating filters that, while you can create an unlimited amount of filters, you will only be able to create 20 filters that can forward items to other email addresses. You can also add stars and colored labels by using filters, which can be particularly useful for important and time-sensitive messages.

The system also allows you to create an Events filter using Google Calendar and Gmail, so that important date reminders are automatically starred, skip the inbox and go straight into your "Events" label.

How do you organize your email? Leave a message in the comments!

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Tagged in: Google Quick Tips

Joshua Van Berkum is passionate about embracing the positive change that technology brings to small businesses. Having been in the "technology trenches" for years, as well as owning his own business for 15 years, Joshua is equipped with the patience and know-how that it takes to make technology decisions carefully and implement proper plans quickly. Still learning and always adapting, Joshua is continually striving to grow his customers' businesses through innovation, while ensuring his client's return on their technology investment.

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Guest Friday, 18 April 2014