Spam can blight any inbox, and despite Google’s clever spam detection, the ability to filter specific emails can give you a spam-free life if you make a little effort
Filters are a feature of Gmail that not many people actually use. They look complicated at first glance, and when the system works so well anyway, why bother? Well, there are many reasons to use filters, and in this tutorial we will tell you why they are useful, as well as giving you the tools to get started. With some time spent creating them, you may find that a lot of your email organisation can automatically be done for you. As new emails arrive, they can be labelled or saved to specific categories, and you can even try to eliminate spam completely from your inbox with some clever tricks.
Understanding the messages that you receive is crucial to setting up the right filters, and perseverance is key. When you receive emails, and you realise that you may want them put in a particular place, just set up a filter. The more you set up, the better the system works, and over time you will have an inbox that is more or less completely automated. It may feel tiresome to continually set up filters at first, especially for spam, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run.
1: Where to start
In Gmail, go to the settings section, and look for the Filters link at the top of the page. Click the link and you will see a blank page that has a ‘Create a new filter’ link. Click this.
2: Set up a filter
You will now see a new window with some options available to you. The best way to start is by setting up a filter for your own email address. This makes testing easier.
3: The first page
Once you have input your own email address, you can then click ‘Create filter with this search’. This brings up a new window that lets you choose exactly what you want to do with incoming emails.
Click ‘Apply the label’, and then choose a label from the drop-down box that subsequently appears. Once you have done this, click ‘Create filter’. You are now all set to test it.
5: Test it
Now send yourself a test email and wait for it to arrive in your inbox. You should see that it is automatically labelled with the tag you chose – with no manual intervention at all.
6: Detect spam
You can now create a filter for commonly received spam. We will use the example of ‘replica’ as a common word that is often included in spam. Go back to the filter settings and create a new filter.
7: The spam filter
Create a new filter, and input the word ‘replica’ in the ‘includes the words’ box. This will force the filter to look for any email with the word ‘replica’ in it.
8: Remove spam
Click ‘Create filter with this search’, and tick the ‘Skip the inbox’ field. When an email arrives with the word ‘replica, it will never show up in your inbox.
9: Just checking
If you navigate to the ‘All Mail’ folder, you can check the archived emails from time to time. This is where the filtered messages will be held.