3 Ways to Use Email Aliases in Gmail to Your Advantage

Akshata Shanbhag Updated 16-05-2019

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

emails filtered by alias in Gmail

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, (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.

create filter to label emails sent to an alias in Gmail


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:

  1. Share a Gmail alias instead of your work email.
  2. Add your work email as a forwarding address in your Gmail account.
  3. 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

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.

create a filter to forward emails from an alias to work email

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 4 Ways to Creatively Use Canned Responses for Email Productivity If you're effective, you're doing something right. That's why you should use email filters and schedule mail time. One trick is to prepare canned responses for emails you frequently write. Read More , you can create all kinds of lists and notes to access them from anywhere with an email.

The idea here is to:

  1. Create a canned response with the data you want to access.
  2. Decide on an alias via which to access the data.
  3. 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.)

canned response for list of birthdays in Gmail

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 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.

create Gmail filter to send canned response

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 How to Sort Your Gmail Inbox by Sender, Subject, and Label There's an essential secret to managing Gmail: learn how to sort your Gmail inbox with filters like subject, sender, and labels. Read More . It’s up to you to get creative with them to organize your inbox and life. And now you know where to begin!

Explore more about: Email Tips, Gmail, Online Privacy, Productivity Tricks.

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  1. harley bellwood
    February 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Great idea, I'm going to have to read this a couple more times though, before it sinks in!

  2. Phúc Ng?c
    January 28, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I've been using this tip for a long time, but the canned-response recipe is really interesting.

  3. John Pardoe
    January 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Unfortunately the Gmail alias trick is flawed. As soon as you reply you give away your real address. For example, you receive an email addressed to You open it and choose "Reply". Your correspondent receives your email, from:, or worse:

    I use it for registering on unimportant web-sites.

    But thanks for the other info, much appreciated.

    • Ryan Dube
      January 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Good point - which makes the alias approach ideal for receiving incoming mail like newsletters, etc. Not as much for people that you need to correspond with on a regular basis - although there may be a way to set up Gmail to respond using the same address...I'll have to poke around and see if I can figure that one out. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. LD
    January 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    The Canned Response thing is pretty clever, just remember that it is horribly insecure. Don't use it to store anything you wouldn't want everyone knowing.

    • Ryan Dube
      January 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      That's a great point LD - it is insecure and that's definitely something to be taken into account when making use of it.

  5. Nevzat Akkaya
    January 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

    gmail is really a gem!
    thanks for the tips.

  6. Márcio Guerra
    January 25, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Now this is a new world to me... I knew labels, but I guess everyone does... Now this? Well, I really need to take a longer look at this.

    Thank you!

    Márcio Guerra

  7. rwDriskill"
    January 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    But those of us that are tech savey, and or read this article, know how to defeat the aliases, simply delete the +whatever. Better yet, create another account such as "", give that email address to the uncertain people, forward to real account.

    • Ryan Dube
      January 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      True - but I don't think the goal of this technique is to trick anyone, it's a way to organize incoming email from people that typically use the email address you give them. I'm not really sure why anyone other than email spammers would be interested in "defeating" email aliases - but you do make a good point that it isn't a very good tactic against people seeking to harvest email addresses for spam.

  8. Wolfgang Marcos
    January 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Awesome tips, keep it comming!