How to set up filters in Gmail: a short and easy guide

You know that keeping your bedroom organized and tidy saves you lots of time in the morning.

Same with your inbox.

Now imagine if items in your bedroom got organized automatically: dirty socks automatically got thrown in the laundry basket, jackets hung in the closet, books neatly piled on the shelf…  

Sounds nice, but it might take a while till we get there. In your virtual home, though, aka your inbox, automatic organization is a matter of seconds.

If you set up Gmail filters right once, they’ll help keep your inbox organized for years to come.  

Here is how you do it.

Setting Gmail filter criteria

Click on an email from a sender you hear from often. Let’s organize all emails from that sender in one folder.

  • Open an email
  • Click “More” in the top menu bar
  • Click “Filter messages like this”

How to set up filters in Gmail and keep your inbox organized

A window will pop up, and you’ll see that the “from” field is pre-populated with the sender’s email address.

If you don’t fill out any other fields, the sender will be the only criteria for filtering.

You can add more criteria, such as specific subject line (for example, if you want to group all “Daily Digests”), size of attachment, etc.

When you finalize all criteria, click “Create filter with this search”.

How to set up filters in Gmail and keep your inbox organized

Setting Gmail actions for filtered emails

Now you need to choose what Gmail will do with the emails that fit your criteria.

Since we want to organize all emails from this sender in a neat folder, we first need to tag them. Check off the box next to “Apply the label”. Now either choose an existing label or create a new one.

How to set up Gmail filters and keep your inbox organized

Click “Create” and voila! Filter created. Now you can find all emails from set sender in a folder below the “Compose” button on the left of your inbox.

Sweet.

Now let’s play with other settings.

If you don’t want to see filtered emails in your inbox (and access them from the labeled folder only), check off “Skip the Inbox”.

Achieve maximum inbox productivity: set up filters in Gmail that will keep your inbox organized

Play with other options to explore actions you can assign to emails that fit your criteria. Maybe there is an annoying subscription that wouldn’t let you unsubscribe. Send those emails directly to Trash by checking off the “Delete it” box. You’ll never see them in your inbox again.

If you want an action to apply to all existing emails that fit your criteria, check off “Also apply filter to # matching conversations” at the bottom of the little window. If you leave it unchecked, the action will only apply to future emails.

Modifying or deleting Gmail filters

If you need to modify your filters, you can do that by accessing them in the settings.

Click the settings button in the top right corner of your inbox and select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.

Choose “Filters and Blocked Addresses” in the top menu. You’ll see “edit” and “delete” links next to every filter you created.

Enjoy

You did it! Now you can set multiple filters and enjoy an organized, welcoming inbox every time.

Question for you:

What do you do to keep your inbox organized? Please share your tips in the comments.