We’ve got another tip for you today, to help keep your inbox clean. The subject this time is going to be filters, which are rules for the automatic that your messages follow as they enter your Inbox.

Last week we talked about labels, which are great because they help categorize all your emails, and allow you to track things down faster. But there are also ways to automatically label messages according to the sender, or the subject of the message. Or even ways to automatically delete messages received from unwanted senders, or forward them to where they belong.


Now, to locate your filter settings in Gmail, you’ll first click on the “Settings” gear icon, and then select “Settings” in the drop-down.


Up at the top of the next page you’ll see several tabs, and the one you need to click is marked “Filters.”


And then you’ll see a blue link marked “Create a new filter.” Click on it.


Now you’ll see a ton of options for searching your email. These are how you’ll set the rules for Gmail to begin filtering your messages. You can target:

  • Emails from a specific person
  • Emails sent to a specific person
  • Emails containing specific words in the subject line
  • Emails which specifically don’t contain certain words
  • Emails which have attached files
  • Emails that don’t include chat messaging
  • Emails of a specific size


So let’s say I want to single out all the emails that mention Gmail in the subject line. I’ll type “Gmail” into the subject line text box, and instead of clicking the search button on the lower left corner, I’ll click the text in the lower right, which says “Create filter with this search.”


Now I have the option to choose some detailed actions, and check the boxes for each action that I want. When messages arrive that match this search, what do I want to happen? Let’s just say I want it to skip the inbox and archive the message automatically, but I also want to apply a label, called “Gmail” (which we made in a previous how-to). It also tells me that there are 2 emails already in my account that match this search. I want to make sure that this fillter gets added for those as well, so I’ll check that box.


And then I’ll just click “Create Filter.” Once I return to my inbox, those messages which already matched the filter will already be stored away according to the filter rules that I just set.

Think about things that you could create filters for! Maybe a sales workflow? Or a project workflow? Or maybe you just want to filter emails by company name, so that they’re automatically sorted according to those keywords.

How do you use filters?