Organize your Gmail with filters

If you are an undergraduate at UMass Amherst, you have a Google Apps account for your student email. And, if you’re anything like me, sometimes your inbox can get a little cluttered from different classes and announcements.

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If you find yourself wishing to keep all of your emails but don’t need to see all of these mass emails every time they pop up, a Gmail filter might be of interest to you.

To see the options for Gmail filters, start by navigating to Settings and then click the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab.

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Click “Create a new filter”.

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You will now see a few options for what your filter can be based on. For example, you can filter emails “From” a particular person or mailing list, you could filter emails with a certain keyword in the subject, or you could filter emails based on having or not having certain keywords.

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Once you’ve selected what types of emails you want to filter, click “Create filter with this search” and you will be presented with options of what to do with those filtered messages.

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Like the previous step in choosing what to filter, these options are basically up to you depending on what you want to do. Personally, I find it convenient to use the “Skip the inbox” and “Apply the label” options. The drop down will let you create new labels, with my example screenshot having a label named “homework”. This way, you aren’t deleting emails but won’t see them in your inbox until you click on the label you applied them to. In the following example, I created a filter for emails from Doodle which causes them to skip the inbox and go under the label “doodlemail”.

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Now my regular inbox won’t be flooded with notifications every time someone replies to my Doodle poll, and I can check it whenever I want. However, this is only one example of what you can create with the different filtering options. Maybe you want to star every email from career services, or make sure certain newsletters never get sent to spam. The choice is yours, and the power of filtering options will allow you to keep your inbox as organized as you’d like it to be.