It’s easy for Gmail to get out of control. Between the built-in filters and the daily slew of messages you receive, you might think you’ll never tame the chaos. These simple tips and tricks will help you finally turn your inbox into a dream come true instead of a nightmare.
Filter By Email Address
One of the great things about Gmail is you can create multiple email addresses from a single address. For instance, Twitter sees email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org as two different email addresses. Gmail sees them as the same address. Many people sign up for different types of accounts or services using a specific form of their Gmail address. They then create a filter for each version of their email address to better organize incoming messages.
Another version of this same trick is to use +Tag at the end of the first part of your email. For instance, you could have sign up to social media accounts with email@example.com or use firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for discount or coupon sites. You then set up filters based on the email address.
Of course, you can also filter messages based on subject, sender, keywords and more. This just gives you a little more control.
To create new filters, click the gear/cog icon at the top right of your Gmail inbox. Select Settings.
Select Filters along the top of the Settings screen.
Press Create a new filter.
Enter your altered email address in the To field and press Create filter with this search.
Select what you want to do with the message. For optimal organization, check Apply a Label and use the drop down box to choose the appropriate label. Think of these as folders. If you don’t have a label created, choose New Label from the drop down box, enter a name for your label and press Create. Also check Skip Inbox to avoid having the message sent to your inbox as well as your designated label. When you’re finished choosing your options, press Create Filter. Please note, you can choose multiple options.
You don’t have to use filters to make use of labels. Take five minutes every day to go through your messages and set the appropriate labels. Only move messages after you’ve finished them. This way you know anything in your Inbox still needs to be dealt with.
Create a new label by going into Settings and choosing Labels. Scroll to the bottom of the label list and click the Create new label button.
Enter a name for your label. If you’d like to create nested labels, check the Nest under label checkbox and choose a label from the drop down box. Press Create to create the label.
Send messages to the proper labels by first checking the check box beside any message or messages you want to move to a single label. Press the Move To button above your Inbox list. The button looks like a folder. Choose your desired label. Please note you can also create a new label from this menu by selecting Create New. If your label isn’t listed, type the name in the search box to select it.
Unsubscribe From Unwanted Messages
How many newsletters do you get everyday that you never read? These just clog up your inbox. One method is to simply open unwanted newsletters and click the unsubscribe link in the message. If you don’t have many newsletters to unsubscribe from, this doesn’t take too long. If you have multiple ones, it can get tedious.
Unroll.me is a service that helps you manage all your email subscriptions. It scans your email and lets you check which newsletters to unsubscribe from and which ones to combine in a single daily digest. This can easily reduce the 10 newsletters you want to read each day into a single email. Imagine the time you’ll save. Check out Amanda’s guide for details on using Unroll.me.
Change Inbox Layout
You don’t have to settle for Gmail’s default tab layout. You can change it to focus on Important Messages or Starred Messages instead. Edit how your Inbox looks by going to Settings and selecting Inbox. Select the drop down box beside Inbox Type to choose your layout. Change the appropriate options to fully customize how your Inbox looks.
Combine all of these tips for a truly organized Gmail inbox.