Today’s Geek School tutorial will expand our discussion of labels in Gmail to include filters and then move on to tracking important celebrity emails.
Labels are nice, but they can be used much more efficiently using filters, so messages that come in according to certain criteria are automatically labeled or labeled. This helps a lot with organization and can greatly reduce the clutter of incoming messages.
Create a new filter using the search box
To create a new filter, we will specify the search parameters in the Search field and create a filter from the search. To do this, click the down arrow in the Search field.
Enter your search criteria in the search options field. You can choose to search for messages from a specific person or the entire domain (@example.com), with certain words in the subject line, as well as with other conditions.
To create a filter based on this search, click the «Create a filter using this search» link.
The filter options will be displayed. Check the boxes that indicate what you want to do with messages that match your search criteria.
For example, we decided to always label messages that come from a given email address with the label «HTG School» and always mark those messages as «important». We also decided to apply the filter to all existing emails from this person.
NOTE. If you want your labels to act like folders, you can select «Skip Inbox (Archive)» to automatically move emails to labels as they arrive. This provides a more organized email, although you may risk missing an important message as it won’t automatically show up in your inbox.
Once you have defined the filter criteria, click «Create Filter».
NOTE. If you choose to forward a message as an action in a filter, only new messages will be affected. Any existing messages to which the filter is applied will not be forwarded.
A message will appear stating that your filter has been created. Please note that in this screenshot, all messages from this person are labeled «HTG School».
Messages were also marked as important automatically (the tag icons to the left of senders are filled with yellow).
Create a new filter using the settings screen
You can also create a filter in «Settings».
Open the Settings screen as described above and click on the Filters link at the top.
Click on the «Create a new filter» link.
Specify the search and filter criteria in the same way as in the previous method and click «Create Filter» in the filter options dialog box.
Instead of being taken back to your inbox, you’ll be taken back to the Filters screen and your new filter will appear in the list. You can edit, delete, or select it for export (exporting filters will be discussed later in this tutorial).
Click the Inbox shortcut to return to your inbox.
Use a specific message to create a new filter
You can also create a filter based on an existing message. To do this, select the message in the message list or in the label.
Click the «Advanced» button and select «Filter Similar Messages» from the drop-down menu.
Note that the «From» field in the «Filter» dialog box is automatically populated. Enter any other filter criteria and click «Create a filter using this search».
Specify the filtering criteria by selecting the filter options in the next dialog box as described earlier.
NOTE. You can use this method to set up filters to automatically delete unwanted email messages as they are received.
Apply the same filter to many senders
You can use one filter to manage messages from multiple different email addresses. For example, we can specify to tag posts from multiple people with the «HTG School» tag. To do this, open the search options dialog using the down arrow in the Search field.
Add each email address in the «From» field separated by the word «OR» and click «Create a filter with this search».
To apply the same label to messages from any of these email addresses, select the Apply Label checkbox and select the desired label from the pop-up list. Apply any other actions for this filter and click Create Filter.
NOTE. Don’t forget to check the «Also apply filter to matching conversations» checkbox if you want to apply this filter to messages you’ve already received from these two email addresses.
Export and Import Filters
Now that you’ve learned how to set up filters, you’ve probably created some very useful filters that you can use on other Gmail accounts. You can export filters from one account and import them to another.
To export a filter, first open the «Filters» screen in the «Settings» screen (using the «Settings» button). Then select the filter you want to export from the list and click «Export».
NOTE. You can select multiple filters to export at the same time.
In the Save As dialog box, navigate to where you want to save the filter. The filter is saved as an XML file with a default name that you can change if you like, just leave the extension as .xml and click save.
You now have a file that you can backup, transfer to another computer, share with a friend, or import to another Gmail account.
To import a filter to your Gmail account, open Filters from the Settings screen and click the Import Filters link.
In the Import Filters section, click Choose File.
NOTE. If you change your mind about importing the filter, click the Cancel Import link.
In the Open dialog box, navigate to the location where you saved the exported filter. Select a file and click Open.
The file name is listed next to the «Choose File» button. Click «Open File» to open the file and import filters into it.