Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Using Gmail Filters to Categorize Emails




Filters are an amazing way to take control of your incoming mails in Gmail. With filters, you can sort mail into different folders as and when they arrive. This sorting is done automatically, and creating a filter is just a one-time process.

Before we go ahead with the sorting, it is extremely important to formulate a strategy for dividing mails into categories.

Let us consider a scenario: I am an active social media user and blogger – I read newsletters, and I am subscribed to deals for my city. Therefore, my probable labels are Social Media, Blog comments, Newsletters and Deals.

Now that you have decided on your label names, it is time to create them.

I am using the new look on Gmail, which has the feature of creating filters without going to the settings page at all.

Step 1: Select some of the mails you want to filter into one label and select “Filter messages like these” from the drop-down menu.

gmail-filter


Step 2: Test a search with the filters as applied by you, and make sure no irrelevant results get through. Now, we are ready to create a filter using this search. Click on the link saying, “Create a filter with this search”.

gmail-filter-options

Step 3: Now that we have a number of emails matching this search, we will decide what to do with them. If you already have a label suitable for these emails, then simply create the filter. Or else, click on “Choose a label” as shown.

gmail-filter-settings

Step 4: If you click on choose a label, it will show you the following list. Click on “New label…” and a window will appear asking you to enter the name of the label.

gmail-filter-settings-new-label

As you can see, I am naming my label DB Backup.

gmail-filter-settings-new-label-name

Step 5: Select the checkbox beside the “Create a filter” button that says, “Also apply filter to (n) matching conversations”.
Click on “Create a filter” and we are done.

gmail-filter-settings-create

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