Setting up filters in Gmail

Gmail filters are an easy way to manage your mail based on a set of criteria that you provide.

If you are a former GroupWise user, you may have used rules to indicate how to handle certain messages, such as automatically putting them into folders. In Gmail, you use filters to do that instead.

For example, you can create a filter to have all mail arriving from a particular person be marked important, or a filter to have all mail arrving from a mailing list labeled a certain way and moved out of your inbox.

Filters can also be used to create a canned response, such as a "We have received your application" response to an email from a job applicant.

Note: The instructions and screen captures that follow may differ slightly depending on whether you are using the "old look" or the "new look" in Gmail.

Creating filters from an email you are currently viewing

  1. In the upper right corner of the email you currently have open, click on the dropdown arrow, which says "More" when hovering over it with your mouse.
    Screen capture of more dropdown arrow 
  2. Click on Filter messages like this.
    Filter messages like this screen capture
  3. In the window that appears with the email address of the sender of the message already filled in, select the actions you would like taken whenever an email from that person arrives. If you've already received emails from that person that you'd also like this new filter to be applied to, select the Also apply filter to [x] matching conversations option, where [x] indicates how many existing messages the filter will be applied to.
    Marking important filtering action screen capture


Creating filters from the "Mail Settings" menu

  1. Click on the "gear" icon, which is usually in the upper right of your window.
  2. Click on Mail settings.
    Gear and mail setting screen capture
  3. The Settings page will open to the General tab. Click on the Filters tab.
    Create filters link screen capture
  4. You will see a list of filters that already exist, if any. In this example, we are going to create a filter to preclude from going into your Inbox all email arriving with SECC or State Employees Combined Campaign mentioned anywhere in it, and place an SECC label on the email. 
  5. Click Create new filter.
  6. In the Has the words field, enter SECC OR state employees combined campaign.
     SECC OR state employees combined campaign
  7. Click on Create filter with this search.
  8. Select the options to take on the filtered messages. Select Skip the inbox and Apply the label. (If the label you want to give it doesn't already exit, you will be prompted to create it first.)
     SECC options screen capture
  9. When there are already existing messages that meet the criteria of the filter you're creating, you can indicate that you want to apply this filter to those messsages, as well as to any new ones that arrive. Click on Also apply filter to [x] matching conversations, where [x] indicates the number of existing messages that match the criteria.
  10. Click Create filter.
  11. You will see the new filter added after any already existing filters.

    Screenshot of filter created