How to Create Rules in Gmail for Almost Anything

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Learn how to use your web browser to configure Gmail email filters. It will show you how to create a filter from scratch or from an existing message. It will also explain how to use filters.

Filters in Gmail allow you to control how emails are labeled, archived, deleted, or starred. You can even use filters to forward Gmail emails to another address or move attachments to a folder.

How to Write a Gmail Rule

To create a new Gmail rule:

  1. Launch Gmail in a browser.
  2. Select the Search mail arrow.
  3. In the Search mail screen, select a new rule’s criteria:
  • From: Choose one or more specific senders.
  • To: Specify one or more recipients.
  • Subject: Type text in the message subject line.
  • Words: Filter emails based on words in the body.
  • Lacks: Filter messages based on specific words not in the body.
  • Size: Filter messages based on their size.
  • Within: Filter messages by sending date. There are several preset intervals.
  • Search: Filter by folders or labels, or search all mail.
  • Has attachment: Only apply to messages with attachments.
  • Exclude chats: Only include emails in the rule.
  1. Select New filter.
  2. Check the boxes next to the options that describe the rule’s behavior. To create Gmail archived mail, select the Skip the Inbox (Archive) check box.
  3. Click Create filter to apply the rule.

Use Existing Emails to Create a Gmail Rule

To make a rule from an email:

  1. Launch Gmail in a browser.
  2. Check the box next to the message that meets your new rule’s criteria.
  3. Click More (the three vertically aligned dots on the Gmail toolbar).
  4. Select Filter these messages.
  5. Choose or correct the new rule’s criteria. Message details may be pre-populated in some options.
  6. Click Create filter.
  7. Check the boxes next to the options that define the rule’s behavior. Included are Skip the Inbox, mark it as read, star it, and delete it.
  8. Choose Create filter to apply the rule.

Managing Rules in Gmail

  1. Launch Gmail in a browser.
  2. Go to Setup (the gear icon).
  3. Select Setup.
  4. Select Filters and Blocked Addresses in Settings.
  5. To edit a rule, select edit. Select delete to remove a rule from filtering your email.

Other Gmail Rules for Organizing

Gmail allows you to create multiple aliases for your primary email address. You can use a plus sign or a period. Email addressed to these aliases goes to your main Gmail account. Create a rule with the alias as the criteria, then assign behaviors to the rule.

  • If you want to use the plus sign (+), put it after the main part of your email address, then the extra text. For example, [email protected] can be changed to [email protected] for anyone interested in Lifewire articles. Gmail doesn’t need to know this alias because it only uses the characters before the plus sign to deliver messages to your inbox.
  • Place a period (.) before the @ symbol in your Gmail address. Google ignores periods. Valid aliases for [email protected] include [email protected] and [email protected] No more characters can be added.