How to Create Gmail Filters by Keywords, Senders, or by Using Existing Email

Page content

Using the Gmail Filter Options

Filtering email is one way that many people use to manage their incoming email messages. Gmail has filtering options that allow you to reduce the amount of time it takes you to deal with your messages. You can label, archive, delete, star, or forward email based on the combinations of keywords, recipients and senders that you choose to include in the filter.

An unlimited number of Gmail filters can be created, but only 20 of those filters can be used to forward mail to other email addresses.

Creating a New Filter

Use the following steps to create a Gmail filter;

1. Click the downward facing arrow in the Search Web box in any open Gmail window.

2. Enter the search criteria you would like to use to create the filter. This can include include keywords, email addresses, and domains.

3. Run a Test Search to see which existing Gmail messages would match your chosen filter criteria. To see the result push the x on the screen. Your search will be saved when you push the arrow again. When you’re satisfied with the results click Create filter with this search. (Note: You can skip this step, but creating a filter without testing it can lead to some very interesting, although no useful, results.)

4. Select one or more actions from the list provided. Actions should be selected in the order to be used. These actions will be applied to messages that match the filter criteria you have created. For example, Delete it is one of the actions available. When you select this action, all of the messages that meet your filtering criteria will be deleted.

5. If you want to apply the created filter to existing Gmail messages, click Also apply filter to x conversations. If you don’t use this step, existing conversations will have to be manually tagged.

6. When you’re done making your selections, click the Create Filter link to finalize and begin using the filter.

Using Received Email to Create a Filter

Gmail allows you to create filters from within messages as you are reading them.  To create a Gmail filter from a received message:

1.   Click the drop-down menu located next to the Reply button.

2.   Select Filter messages like this.

3.   Enter the desired filter criteria in the provided fields using the same steps as above.

Creating Gmail filters allows you to apply these filters to all incoming mail, helping you to manage your Inbox and making it faster to respond to important emails without having to wade through unwanted email messages.

Gmail filters can also be edited and deleted as your needs change.  But that will be covered in the next article in this series: Editing and Deleting Gmail Filters.