Email aliases are an easy way to get fresh email addresses in Gmail without having to sign up for an account all over again.
Creating an alias is as easy as appending a + sign to your Gmail username followed by a keyword of your choice. Any email sent to this new address still ends up in your Gmail inbox, but will show a distinct To address that’s different from your primary Gmail address.
Here’s how you can make this feature work to your advantage to manage your Gmail inbox better.
1. Receive Task Reminders
Tasks that you have to take care of keep bubbling up to the surface of your mind every now and then until you jot them down somewhere. Thankfully, in these digital times, it’s easy to update your to-do list and view it from anywhere, anytime with smartphones.
If you don’t have a smartphone at hand, no problem. Gmail aliases can help you out here. You can send yourself quick task reminders by emailing tasks from any address to a dedicated alias, say, email@example.com. (The +work bit of the address makes up the alias.)
Creating a Gmail Filter
Want Gmail to organize the incoming task reminder emails under a special label (say, ToDo) right away? We recommend setting up a filter for them. To create the filter, first click on the gear icon below your profile picture at the top right in Gmail and select Settings from the menu that appears.
Next, in the Gmail settings that show up, switch to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab. Click on the Create a new filter link that’s below the list of existing filters.
For the filter criteria, enter the alias you want to use for tasks in the To field and click on Create filter. In the next dialog, select the Apply the label checkbox and set/create an appropriate label from the corresponding dropdown menu. Wrap up with a click of the Create filter button.
You can use the list of reminder emails collected under the ToDo label as your to-do list or you can move their tasks to any other to-do app of your choice.
If you use Google Tasks, open a reminder email and add it to Google Tasks directly with the Add to Tasks option. You’ll find the option in the More menu.
Feel free to create any number of aliases and labels to get the level of organization you need!
2. Cloak a Private Email Address
If you want to keep your work email address or one of your personal email addresses private, an alias can help you with that.
For example, let’s say you want to receive certain emails during the day when you’re at work, but you don’t want to share your work email address. The trick here is to:
- Share a Gmail alias instead of your work email.
- Add your work email as a forwarding address in your Gmail account.
- Create a filter to forward emails received at the alias to your work email.
Let’s elaborate on those steps.
Decide on an alias to share with others instead of giving out your work email. (We’ll use firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Now, visit Gmail settings and switch to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab. Click on the Add a forwarding address under the Forwarding section. Enter your work email in the popup dialog that appears and follow the onscreen instructions to add and verify that email address.
(Leave the Disable forwarding radio button selected—we want to forward only specific emails and not all of them.)
Now, create a Gmail filter with the alias listed in the To field. While specifying the action you want Gmail to execute, select the Forward it to checkbox. Be sure to select your work email from the corresponding dropdown menu.
With this filter in place, any emails you receive at the Gmail alias you have shared get forwarded to your work email.
You can use the same approach to forward email to any private email you have. If you start receiving inappropriate messages or emails that you don’t want to receive in that account, go ahead and delete the filter.
3. Access Important Data on Demand
We saw how to use aliases to gather task reminders. Now, let’s see how to use them to access birthdays, your weekly grocery list, server names, or even how-to notes. With a combination of aliases and canned responses, you can create all kinds of lists and notes to access them from anywhere with an email.
The idea here is to:
- Create a canned response with the data you want to access.
- Decide on an alias via which to access the data.
- Create a filter to have Gmail auto-reply with the canned response when the alias receives any email.
To create the canned response, let’s use a list of birthdays as an example.
Open a Gmail Compose window and type/paste birthday details you want on hand. To save the draft as a template or a canned response, look under the More Options > Canned responses to find the relevant option. (You’ll find the More options button beside the trash icon.)
We’ll use the name List of Birthdays for the template. Keeping this template updated is easy, because you’re always checking your Gmail account every day. To add or remove someone’s birthday, compose an email, open up canned responses, and edit the birthday list template as required.
Let’s call our sample alias for birthdays email@example.com. Now, it’s time to create a filter with the alias in the To field. Next, select the Send canned response checkbox as the program you want Gmail to run. Plus, select the List of Birthdays item from the corresponding dropdown menu.
With that filter in place, whenever you email the alias, Gmail will send you an automatic reply with the List of Birthdays canned response. Pretty cool, right? (The subject and content of the email you send are irrelevant here.)
Get Creative With Email Aliases in Gmail
Aliases ensure that you can easily create a new email address for yourself in an instant and sort your Gmail inbox. It’s up to you to get creative with them to organize your inbox and life. And now you know where to begin!