How-to: Use Filters to Make Gmail More Organized

gmailAfter a recent conversation with my sister, I realized there must be a lot of non-tech (i.e. ordinary folks) Gmail users who have yet to discover (let alone use) its built-in filter feature. Filters provide an incredibly effective tool for managing your ever-growing inbox.

Setting up a new filter is really quick and easy. To create a new filter: click Settings (at the upper right corner of your Gmail account) > Filters > Create a new filter (at the bottom middle of the screen). The easiest filter to make, and arguably one of the most effective, is to simply label incoming mail by a sender’s email address root (@domain.com).

For example, let’s say you use Gmail for both business and personal accounts, and that you want to some obvious identification/separation of the two. Let’s assume that your Gmail account is something like yourname@gmail.com and your business email is yourname@businessname.com. Once in the ‘Create a filter’ page, just put ‘@businessname.com’ in the From: field, click Next Step and select the options that you want to apply to every email coming from that location such as Apply the label: ‘business name.’ From now on, all of your business emails will automatically be marked ‘business name.’

When used in combination with the Label colors feature (simply select a color in the drop down Label section on the left side of your inbox), you’ve now got a quick and effective means to instantaneously identify work-related email by both label and color.

The filtering possibilities in Gmail are extensive and may seem overwhelming at first, but even the simplest ones (as illustrated above) will provide much greater control and organization over your incoming and outgoing email.

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