Wednesday, 16 October 2013

How to set up email filtering in Gmail

Email filtering is an absolute necessity for me personally, as it keeps my inbox clear of all but the most vital direct messages. Gmail doesn't have folders per se - but its labels function can operate in much the same way.

First, select a message of a type that you want to filter away from your inbox. Then click on the Label button above your inbox, this looks like a little tag. Select "Create New" and insert your label's name.

Then find something about that message and others like it. Do they come from the same email address? Do they always have something particular in the subject line? Enter one or more criteria into the Advanced Search panel (reached by clicking the dropdown arrow to the left of the blue magnifier button). At the bottom right of that panel, you will see an option to "Create filter with this search".

You will then get a list of options. The first is the most important: Skip the Inbox! Then be sure to check the box "Apply Label" and from the dropdown, select the label you created previously for this category of message. If you wish, also check the box to apply to existing messages that fit this search, then all relevant items will be cleared out in one move.

Thereafter, when a message comes in that matches your filter, you won't see it in the inbox. Rather, it will appear in the Label list on the left of your screen, with a number in brackets indicating how many unread messages you have in that category.

When you are creating a new label, you also have the option to "nest" it - that is, make it a subcategory of another label.

Life is complicated enough without having to manually chew through large numbers of emails each day. Let Gmail or another system get them out of your way - or even delete them! As for me, I'll take all the help I can get.

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