written by: John Samuel•edited by: Brian Nelson•updated: 6/28/2011
Filter is one of the hosts of powerful features offered by Gmail. When correctly set, filters could make your inbox uncluttered, organized and keep unwanted emails making their way to inbox. Learn to filter out emails from your boss and spouse or delete spam emails right away.
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How to create a Gmail Filter?
The following steps explain how to create a basic Gmail filter.
Sign in to your Gmail account. Click Create filter link on the top right of the screen.
Choose search criteria. Tell Gmail what to do when emails arrive. In the From text box, type the email address of the person whose email you would like to filter and in the To text box, type your email address. Fill up other details such as Subject, Has the words and Doesn't have in respective text boxes. Gmail uses these details to search and identify the emails you want to filter. It is important to test the search criteria you have provided. You may test the search criteria by clicking Test Search. If you are happy with the results click Next Step.
Select an action that suits the purpose of creating the filter. Suppose, if you would like to forward it to another email address, check Forward it to and enter the email address.
You may also wish to apply the same action on the emails already in your inbox which matches your search criteria (which are shown right under). In that case check the Apply filter to conversations below and finally click on the Create Filter button. You have successfully created your filter!
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How to Create Advanced Filters?
Booleans are used in Gmail filters just as in search. You can add search terms such as AND or OR or NOT in all search fields. If you want to create a filter to delete all spam mails sent from different email address, you may include email addresses separated by OR in "From" text box. For example it may look like this: (firstname.lastname@example.org) OR (email@example.com) OR (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Boolean search term OR successfully replaces the need to create separate filter for spam mail sent from different email addresses.
Search operators such as hyphen (-), quotes (""), parenthesis ( ) and search terms like "has:", "is:", "filename:", "label:" and other terms would also be used to groove up the Gmail search. Get complete list of search operators here at Using advanced search.
Google labels are of great help to separate email and organize your inbox. Gmail labels and filters go hand in hand. You can set action to put the mails arriving to your email address directly to these labels.
You can use the Gmail filters and labels to send spam directly to trash; separate emails which has attachments, media and blog comments; delete old mails; create back up of your inbox and so on. There are limitless possibilities.