Gmail Filtering: A Most Attractive Feature that Gmail has to Offer


First and foremost, you must know that I’m a Google-a-holic. Everything that the Google team produces, I’ve tested and used. I must say there isn’t too much I don’t love about Google – everything I use really simplifies my every day – busy – life. One particular love of mine is Gmail. I not only use Gmail for personal use, but I use Gmail Business for professional use too, and love it! Gmail is now being used by so many professionals because there are so many efficient features that simply make things so much easier. One thing in particular is Gmail filtering (read about when the Google Labs first released filters). The filtering option in Gmail is one of the oldest features, but also one of the most attractive of them all.

Gmail from Google, icecream styleGmail’s filters let you automate the processing of incoming email. Attach a label, bypass the inbox, forward the email or simply delete it without having to lift a finger. Filters let you perform automated actions on any email, which matches criteria you specify. For example: you subscribe to Martha Stewart Everyday Food. Well, you don't actually want to see the food recipes every day, but you appreciate having them in your email database so that you can look at them all at once, or search for something specific. With Gmail filters, you can set them up to 1. Mark them as read 2. Archive them out of your inbox and into Archive or a designated folder. Then, when you're ready to read them, just click on the filter you created and only see those emails!

The easiest way to create a filter is to filter by example. Say you receive an email and think “I don’t want to see these emails in my inbox at all”. Follow these steps:

1. Place a checkmark beside the email

2. From the "More Actions" box at the top of your inbox, select "Filter Messages Like These".

3. Gmail will display the filter options box with the From box filled in for you. Now all you have to do is read it over and click "Next Step".

Google filter in inbox

4.In the next screen, you can select if you want to Delete it, or several other things. One thing you can do is automatically archive it (skip the inbox), and assign it to a folder/label so that you can easily click on the label and see them all. NOTE: If you click to select all of the boxes of previous emails that fall into this category, it will filter on the past emails, rather than just the future ones.

Click the Settings link near the top right of the Gmail window.

Click the Filters tab.

Click the Create A New Filter link. The filter options box appears at the top of the page.

Build your criteria by entering information in the From, To, Subject, Has The Words and Doesn’t Have boxes. 

Click the Next Step button and select one or more actions to apply to the selected mail. You can skip the inbox, mark an email as read, star or label the email, forward it to another email address or delete it. One option I use the most is “skip the inbox”. Only because I just don’t have the time for everything to dump in my inbox – I want to skip the inbox and filter automatically. I don’t want to see it until I have time to see it. NOTE: Only do this for emails that are not super important! For example, if you are a member of Tin Shingle, and you do this to Tin Shingle emails like Chelsea did, you will miss fast PR Leads, requests for services that you provide, etc. Same goes for Google Alerts that you set for yourself.)

If you want to apply your new filter to mail you’ve already received, check the Also Apply Filter To # Conversations Below button. Then click Create Filter to put your filter to work.

You can edit or delete an existing filter by clicking Settings > Filters, scrolling through the filter list and clicking Edit or Delete.

Something you should know: Gmail’s filters recognize search operators such as AND, OR and NOT. Use AND to limit results to those which match all criteria; OR to expand results to emails matching any one or more of a series of criteria; use NOT to exclude particular emails from the results.

Happy Filtering.

How can you filter your email in Gmail to automatically organize your emails?
Learn how to slim down your inbox from this Google-a-holic who has mastered Gmail Filters to do her filing for her.


I have tried the filtering as described, however I am having a problem in that messages which have been moved by the filter are being marked as read (even though the marked as ready check box is not checked) Has anyone else had this problem ? Any ideas ?

Hi Merlin! The only thing I can think of is when you setup your filter, on the second step it asks if you want to "mark as read" within the filter setup. But you mentioned that it's not checked. Perhaps you should delete the filter and set it up again. I wonder if gmail has a hiccup in that filter? I've never had this issue - but I would definitely delete it and set it up again. I've tried to recreate the problem and all of mine are staying as unread... let me know if recreating it works. All my best, Chelsea.