Our lives are sliced into work, friends, family, hobbies, events, clubs, and many more divisions of the pie. Sometimes, our multiple Gmail accounts reflect that social schizophrenia.
Gmail is popular and free. So, it’s safe to assume that you have more than one Gmail account. But did you know that you can easily link them together so you can receive and send email from one master Gmail account? When you link all your Gmail accounts you can keep everything together without having to switch back and forth between accounts.
All it takes are a few tweaks to Gmail’s settings. Saves a lot of bother and time doesn’t it!
It is easy to link the accounts but it more important to organize your Gmail inbox so that email anxiety turns into a thing of the past. Let’s look at the four steps which will help us inject sanity into our email fuelled lives.
Step 1: Add a Second Email Address
Step 2: Forward Incoming Mail
Step 3: Create a Label for All Incoming Email
Step 4: Create a Filter to Automatically Organize Your Inbox
As you can see, the first two steps will tie the accounts together and the next two will organize the inbox for improved email management.
Step 1. Add a Second Email Address
Right now, you may have one Gmail account which you check more frequently than the others. Use this as your primary email which will receive all emails from the secondary accounts you may have set up earlier. For me, it is the Gmail account linked to my Google Calendar.
This one primary Gmail account will allow you to receive, search, and send replies with your secondary Gmail IDs linked to the main account. So, let’s go to the primary Gmail account and link the second Gmail address to it.
1. In your Primary (the one you want to send and receive all your mail from) Gmail account click on the gear icon and then on Settings from the top right-hand corner of your screen.
2. Click the Accounts and Import tab. Now, in the Send mail as: setting, click on Add another email address you own.
A new webpage will open. In the name field, enter your full name. For the email address, enter the second email ID you want to link to from this account.
Check the Treat as an alias box if you want to respond to any email sent to any of your linked accounts from whichever address you choose. You can also choose to uncheck the box and choose a specific email address from which to reply to. This is slightly confusing, so this Gmail support page should help to clear it up.
Gmail will send a verification message to this email to confirm that you are the owner of the account.
You then need to enter the verification code sent to this email address and click on “Verify”. Or click on the verification link.
After verification, you can see that the second email address is displayed in your primary account’s Send mail as section.
Now, whenever you compose an email, you will have a new option in the “From” field. Simply click on that email address, and that’s the address that your receiver will see.
Don’t close your second email account just yet. We will need it in the next step.
Step 2. Forward Incoming Mail
Open the Settings page for second Gmail account you want to read emails from.
Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
Type your Primary email address in the Forward a copy of incoming mail to box.
Then pick an option from the drop-down list:
- keep Gmail’s copy in the Inbox
- archive Gmail’s copy
- delete Gmail’s copy
Click Save Changes.
Now, you don’t need to open this secondary account every time to check your emails. You can just log into your primary account. The next two steps now will help you set up your primary inbox to differentiate each account from the others.
Step 3. Create a Label for Incoming Email
The smart use of Labels in Gmail is one of the most effective ways to tame your inbox. As Mihir says in the linked article, labels shouldn’t make you think. The idea is to instantly identify the emails which arrive from the linked Gmail accounts. You can create specific labels for each linked Gmail accounts and then use smart filters to further winnow them out.
Switch to your Primary email account, scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the Create new labels link on the left-hand side of the window.
Click on the link to open the New Label field box. Type a name for your label. You could use the actual email address if you want. Hit Create.
In fact, you can do a lot with labels. Give each linked email account a different color or even create sub-labels for different kinds of emails.
Step 4. Create a Filter to Automatically Organize Your Inbox
A choked inbox isn’t the only problem that smart Gmail filters can solve. But, filters are a power user’s fishing net when you are connecting other Gmail accounts to a central hub.
In the Primary email account Settings, click the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab, which is next to the Accounts and Import tab. Scroll down and click Create a new filter.
Type your secondary email address in the From field in the next screen.
Click Create a filter with this search. In the next screen, there are several options under When a message arrives that matches this search.
Check Apply the label and choose the label you had set up in the previous step.
Click on the blue Create filter button. You can also choose to select the Also apply filter to “X” matching conversations if you have any previous emails from the linked account.
A Quicker Alternative:
You can also use a particular message to create a filter. This is sometimes the quicker way to create a filter on the fly.
- Open Gmail.
- Check the checkbox next to the email you want.
- Click More.
- Click Filter messages like these.
- Enter your filter criteria.
That’s it! Now, emails from your Secondary email account will download into your Primary email account and automatically go into the Label ( think of it as a folder) that you specified. Using Filters helps to keep your email separate and organized so all the emails from the linked Gmail account don’t compete for your limited attention at one time.
You will also be able to send emails from both email accounts from the Primary email account without ever having to switch to the Secondary email account.
Try This Gmail Lab feature – Multiple Inboxes
Multiple Inboxes is a Gmail Labs feature. You can use this when you want to view email from several linked Gmail accounts and organize them in different inboxes at the same Gmail account.
Multiple Inboxes gives you mini inboxes alongside your main inbox. They divide your incoming email into multiple sections based on the email type. Do note that they can only be implemented for accounts that do not use Gmail’s extra tabs like Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums.
Enable Multiple Inboxes from the Labs tab in Gmail Settings.
Remember to Save your changes when you exit the Labs tab. Gmail updates and displays the multiple inboxes. You can go back into the Settings and configure the multiple inboxes from its own tab. Put your secondary email addresses in the search query boxes. Give them unique titles and select the position of the panels. Save changes and you are done!
Save Time Switching Your Gmail Accounts
The most obvious benefit of using a primary Gmail account as the catch-all for the remaining ones is time. You don’t have to switch your accounts anymore. Our email is essentially a “to-do list” with its own prioritization. So, configure your primary email address to do the heavy lifting. And, for a productivity boost, don’t forget the wonderful Gmail Chrome extensions that make email tasks a lot easier.
Have you linked multiple Gmail accounts together? What is your workflow that helps manage them better? Do you have any other tip that makes working with more than one Gmail account a breeze?
Originally written by Wendy Limauge on October 27th, 2008