If you’re feeling swamped by too many emails in your inbox, you’re not alone. Everyone wants your attention and your inbox is their target. The good news is, Gmail offers easy tools to shut out spam.
Keep reading to learn about clever Gmail tricks that will help you regain control of your inbox.
1. Automatically Send Emails to Desired Folders
Gmail lets you apply rules to incoming emails. Then, they go where you want them to without your intervention.
Create and use filters to designate how Gmail should organize received messages.
You can apply filters to any message in your inbox. To set up a filter, click the checkbox to the left of the email’s subject line. Then, click More and Filter Messages Like These.
Follow the step-by-step filtering process to set up your filter the way you want it.
For example, you can filter by email sender (From), words in the title (Subject) or body (Has the words) of the email, and several other characteristics.
See the choice that says Skip the Inbox (Archive It)? You may want to check that box, then the one that says Apply the Label, followed by a dropdown list. Next, select the desired label or create a new one.
This approach means emails that match previous filters never go to your inbox. Instead, they land in a folder bearing the label you picked.
2. Use Gmail Aliases
Google does not recognize periods or plus signs added to email addresses.
Say your email address is JohnDoe123@gmail.com. A message would still reach you if someone added a period between the John and Doe portions. The same is true if a person added a plus (+) sign anywhere in the email address, followed by a keyword.
In other words, JohnDoe123@gmail.com will also receive emails sent to John.Doe123@gmail.com or John.Doe123firstname.lastname@example.org. Now imagine all the useful ways you can use Gmail aliases!
Filter Incoming Emails Based on Gmail Aliases
After setting up filters, you’re in a great position to start using Gmail aliases, too.
They work together with filters to keep your emails organized and your inbox free for important messages.
Take control of where received emails go by strategically adding a + to your email and creating a label for these addresses. If you want to set your filter up before you start receiving these emails, you can do so in the Settings tab.
- When giving out a work email, tell a person to contact you via JohnDoe123email@example.com.
- Do the same when signing up for a newsletter, blog, or online shopping account. With help from filters, you can tell what an email relates to without clicking on it.
- Instruct a colleague to send all project-related emails to an address that includes “+project” and set your filter so all messages to that address go to a folder called “Project.”
Block Spam Using Your Gmail Aliases
Occasionally, you’ll sign up for something online and feel fairly sure you’ll get spam later. Those kinds of signups are often necessary so you can receive rewards. In exchange for an email address, you might get free shipping or a complimentary ebook.
There’s something you need to do when giving an email address to an unfamiliar website. Add the site’s name to your Gmail address using the plus sign technique mentioned above.
Simply provide [your Gmail user name]+[name of website]. Make sure to keep the plus sign between those two segments. Also, shorten the website so it doesn’t include www. or .com.
Perhaps you just found a theoretical e-store called Sports Shop. Online shoppers get a free pair of earrings in exchange for an email address. Want to earn the earrings without being potentially flooded with spam? Follow these steps:
- Provide your email as [Gmail user name]+sportshop.
- Then, set Gmail up to automatically filter out all messages sent to that website-specific email address of yours. Refer to the filter settings again and notice the form field titled To:. Add your specially created email address to that box. Then, look for the blue link on the bottom right that says Create Filter With This Search.
- The link’s tools let you make all Sports Shop emails go to a certain place. Set it up so they land in Spam. You can go back and read them later. You can also make Gmail delete filtered emails.
This is a great workaround because it will filter out all spam emails from this shop, regardless of where it’s coming from. After all, you won’t know the “from” email address until you receive the first spam email. Now you won’t have to know.
If you want to be extra diligent, you can still block emails from “Sports Shop” using their email address or specific keywords.
3. Unsubscribe or Organize Subscriptions for Easy Reading
Perhaps you get a little click-happy when it comes to signing up for email lists. Musicians, online stores, and politicians regularly send emails to subscribers. Can’t remember the last time you read something a sender mailed out? Consider unsubscribing or using other management techniques for those messages.
If you signed up for emails at some point, there should also be a way to unsubscribe—you may just want to keep an eye out for dark patterns that make it harder to unsubscribe. That’s true regardless of content type, whether it’s about a sale or tour dates from a band. Agreeing to receive emails is sometimes about keeping a box checked while signing up for something. Before long, people find themselves receiving emails they never genuinely wanted.
Scroll down to the email’s footer. Click the unsubscribe link and follow the steps. You may also find an unsubscribe link in the email’s body.
4. Use Apps to Organize Your Email
Instead of unsubscribing manually, you may want to depend on a powerful app. Mailstrom is one smart choice that uses artificial intelligence to learn which messages are important.
The app groups similar emails together. You can then treat all the messages in a Mailstrom bundle uniformly. That feature prevents you from so much email-related repetition. The Unsubscribe option permits getting off of email lists in one click rather than several.
Ready to give the app a try? All users get a free trial that applies to 5,000 messages. If your inbox contains more than that, you’ll only see the first 5,000. During the evaluation period, you can delete, archive, or move 25 percent of those 5,000 messages. Doing more than that requires signing up for a paid subscription. Prices range from $4.95 to $199.95 depending on tier and billing cycle.
For now, Mailstrom is a desktop app. Stay tuned to the provider’s site for news of possible mobile apps.
Download: Mailstrom for Desktop ($4.95-199.95)
5. Use Apps to Get Off Email Lists
Can’t bear to sever ties to a sender by unsubscribing? Depend on a free app called Unroll.Me. It packages all subscription-based emails into a digest format called a Rollup.
The Rollup arrives in your inbox at a time you choose. Like Mailstrom, it allows you to unsubscribe from emails with one click. Use it on iOS devices with a new app, too. Swipe to keep emails. They’ll appear in your inbox. By swiping, you can also unsubscribe in seconds.
Unroll.Me gives you a regular snapshot of how many subscription-based emails you get in a day. You might receive at least 20 and only typically read two. That’s a clear sign it’s time to unsubscribe eventually, if not immediately.
What Emails Will You Do Away With First?
The tips you’ve just read help you conquer inbox spam in ways that make sense. Not only can you finally clean out your cluttered inbox, but you’ll have automated your inbox for future email too!
For more like this, check out Chrome extensions for fixing more Gmail issues.