How To Use Gmail As An RSS Reader

Nancy Messieh 20-11-2013

As we’re constantly on the hunt for the perfect RSS reader, since Google Reader’s demise, a lot of decent alternatives have come up. Whether it’s turning to Feedly (which is pretty popular for many reasons Feedly, Reviewed: What Makes It Such A Popular Google Reader Replacement? Now that Google Reader is but a distant memory, the fight for the future of RSS is truly on. One of the most notable products fighting the good fight is Feedly. Google Reader wasn't an... Read More ), Digg Reader (which we’ve reviewed here Digg Reader Is A Beautifully Minimal Alternative To Feedly Digg launched a reader in June following the shutdown of Google Reader. Digg Reader is a slick, minimal reader that puts the focus where it should be -- on the articles you want to read. Read More ) or even re-purposing Evernote Turn Evernote Into An RSS Reader In A Few Easy Steps Evernote's flexibility allows the service to be used in a wide variety of ways. Let's see how you can turn Evernote into an RSS reader using a few simple IFTTT recipes. Read More — there’s really no end to interesting and compelling alternatives.


One interesting alternative to Google Reader can actually be found right within Google’s own services — one that you know won’t be going anywhere: Gmail. With a few easy steps, you can turn part of your inbox into an RSS reader, accessible on your desktop computer, mobile phone, or just about anywhere you can access your Gmail account.

What You’ll Need

In order to get your RSS feeds sent straight to your Gmail account, you’ll need to still use Feedly. This might seem counterintuitive, but Feedly is simply a tool that you’re using as a means of getting the content into your Gmail account. This way, you can check email and see the latest posts from your favorite sites, all in one place. In addition to Feedly, you’ll also need to use IFTTT, since this will be automatically sending your Feedly updates straight to your Gmail account.

If you are new to IFTTT, take the help of our free guide on IFTTT The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use the Web's Most Powerful Tool Like a Pro If This Then That, also known as IFTTT is a free web-based service to get your apps and devices working together. Not sure how to build your applet? Follow along with this guide. Read More .

Set Up Feedly

The first thing you’ll need to do is head over to Feedly and create just one category. With this system, it’s far easier to place all of your feeds in one category, which will then be featured under one label in your Gmail account. With a few extra steps however, you can simply create a label for each category. This will, of course, be a time-consuming step if you have a lot of categories in Feedly.

If you’re using Feedly for the first time, when you go to add a new site, you can create your category at the same time:



If you’ve already set up your Feedly account, to create a new category in Feedly, click on ‘Organize,’ and you can create a new category.


Subscribe to all of your RSS feeds in that one category and you’ll be good to go. If you already have your feeds plugged into the RSS reader of your choice, you should be able to export them as an OPML file and import them into Feedly. If you’re already using Feedly, you can simply drag and drop the feeds you want (if there aren’t too many of them). If you’ve got a ton of feeds, we’d recommend creating a new Feedly account for this purpose.


To import and export feeds from Feedly, you can do so also from the ‘Organize tab’ — click on Save as OPML to export the file, and Import OPML to get your feeds into your newly created Feedly account.

Create a Gmail Label and Filter

If you’re placing all of your feeds in one category, you’ll only need one label and filter. If you’re using multiple categories, you’re going to have to repeat this step for each category. First create your label in Gmail. Under Settings, go to ‘Labels,’ and click ‘Create new label:’


Next, you need to create a filter that will let Gmail know that any new emails that have a certain criteria, will have your label attached to it.


Again, click on Settings, and this time head over to the Filters tab. Create the following filter:


In the next step, select the label that you created for this purpose. If you don’t want to flood your inbox, you should also select, “Skip Inbox (Archive it).”

Set up IFTTT

Now that you’ve got all of your feeds under one category (or more) in Feedly, and your Gmail account ready to receive those feeds, you can head over to IFFFT to create your trigger.


The recipe you’ll need is very simple, just make sure that you’ve signed up for IFTTT using the same Gmail address you plan to use as your RSS reader.

For your trigger channel, choose Feedly, and select ‘New article from category’


Choose your category and create the trigger. Next, you’ll have to create the step that sends the email. Click on ‘Email’ and choose, ‘Send me an email.’ Now in order for the Gmail filter to work, you have to adjust the subject line, adding the word ‘Feed:’ to the beginning. That way you know it will end up labeled in your Gmail account.


The Final Product

So how is it going to look once you’re done? This is what it looks like in your Gmail account on a desktop computer:

Gmail Feed

And on your mobile phone:

Gmail iOS
Opening up individual articles will show you the first paragraph of the article or the blog post, and you can click on the link to read more.

Why Do This?

If you’re still asking, why bother doing all of this when you can simply use Feedly? There are a few advantages to using Gmail rather than an RSS reader.

You know Google won’t be doing away with Gmail, one of its core services. That way, you know you won’t be faced with the same problem when Google Reader was shutdown, as people frantically looked for alternatives.

Another advantage is keeping all your content archived in one place. Gmail’s powerful search is always there for picking the needles from the haystack. Also, you can mark individual feeds as read or unread, and it remains perfectly synchronized across all devices.

There are all sorts of creative to use Gmail, so why not add your RSS feeds into the mix, making it easy to check out all of your latest emails, articles and more, in one place.

What do you think of using Gmail as your RSS reader? Let us know in the comments.

Related topics: Feed Reader, FeedReader, Gmail, IFTTT.

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  1. Jim Culbert
    March 24, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    These instructions are a waste of time because the steps do not correspond to what is found at Feedly and IFTTT. Thus, the steps cannot be followed.

  2. Victor
    April 10, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    If you want free, checkout Inoreader's rules option, took me 3 minutes to set-up without IFTTT.

  3. Jim stewart
    March 10, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Does not work any more. Requires PAID FEEDLY account.

  4. mo
    December 28, 2016 at 4:27 am

    It seems doesn`t work for free account of feedly now.

  5. Zachary
    July 10, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I usually think if I'm reading the comments I've scrolled too far but I was so wrong in this case.

  6. JB
    June 24, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Only works with a Feedly Pro account :(

  7. Rion
    January 14, 2016 at 11:56 am

    IFTTT requests payment for Feedly Pro to link Gmail

  8. Anonymous
    August 6, 2015 at 4:43 am

    You can only do this in Feedly if you have a Pro account now.

  9. Andrew Priest
    March 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    You can only do this in Feedly if you have a Pro account now.

    • Nancy Messieh
      August 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks for the update Andrew.

      • Ron Herren
        February 21, 2017 at 4:15 am

        You don't need to use Feedly. Just create a new applet with RSS "Feed" trigger in IFTTT.

  10. Glen
    April 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    In IFTTT, you can also use the RSS trigger to send any new posts to gmail, skipping the Feedly step.

    • Anonymous
      June 17, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Many thanks :)

    • Vahid
      February 1, 2017 at 6:06 am

      Thanks. No need for Feedly Pro.

  11. OneReadr
    February 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Hi all, I would love to invite you to come check out and share your thoughts with us. OneReadr is a reader to keep you current with all your favorite social network activities, blogs and articles. A simple and easy way to access and manage all your content. OneReadr is being built with the user in mind and all your input and feedback is going to help us to make a solid product.

  12. Jo
    December 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Too many services getting my user id and login. No thanks.

  13. GingerGrapefruit
    December 1, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Found GoodNoows feed reader, which is customizable and looks classy.

  14. Joe Mezzanini
    November 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I agree that is totally the way to go.
    It's lighting fast and feature rich.

    It can "autopush" any feed to your email too.

  15. A.Junna
    November 25, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Unfortunately, your reasons for wanting to do this are not valid and do not persuade me to want to do that at all! However, you did a great job of explaining the whole process. Sadly, it just seems pointless.

  16. adrian
    November 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Good till Feedly pulls the plugs

  17. Slav
    November 24, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Or you can use with simpler interface and achieve the same goal.
    Disclosure: this is my service.

  18. Javier
    November 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    First things first. I think you came up with a great option for all of us RSS fans. Really easy, intuitive and neat method. However, I don't quite like it. I actually combine Y! pipes with Feedly. Well, I am not sure on Yahoo Pipes staying forever or leaving at sometime in the future... But I think it's awesome in his job( I have to admit, a little difficult to learn.) As for Feedly, if it ever leaves us, I think I can have my pipes output going straight to gmail. Please feel free to give me your opinnions about my choices.. I will also be looking for more ideas and tutorials.

  19. Robert
    November 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Or you could just use, which sends RSS feeds directly to your email, using a simple web interface (that's what I use, as otherwise, I would always forget to check an RSS reader).

  20. Scott
    November 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I've been happy using AOL's Reader where I can scroll from top to bottom through a full list of the feeds (some only allow 'newest on top' organizing), most of which are full-text as Google Reader used to present, as opposed to mere snippets or emailed links.

    Works for me. :-)

  21. Mel
    November 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I tried quite a few before they pulled the plug on GReader. Eventually I settled on Feedly as the "least awful" substitute. However, I hated the Feedly UI and felt it got in the way of my workflow rather than aiding it. In addition, it didn't correctly parse all of my feeds.
    When I discovered InoReader I abandoned Feedly and stopped looking for alternatives. It's better than GReader was and that's about the highest praise I can imagine!

  22. Fischmuetze
    November 21, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Not all which is possible is useful. For me a totally senseless tutorial ... can't see any advantage to use this glitchy and as result complicated to manage workflow instead of using directly feedly which comes with a nearly to perfect user interface ..Feedly is without this solution only one browser tab or one app far away from your google account. Even more since Feedly use the Google account for login you should also able to access Feedly if you are able to access Google.

  23. Google Reader User
    November 21, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I wonder how long it would take Google to destroy this option too.

  24. Omar
    November 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    ???? ????? :D
    thank you for this awesome tutorial

  25. L.
    November 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Much easier wit Inoreader. For every feed you can have an "Autopush" which will send all or posts with a special prefix or content to your email- adress, to pocket or to Instapaper.

    It looks (in german) like this: [Broken Link Removed]

    • Joe Mezzanini
      November 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Not to mention the web interface is nothing less than perfect - and can be totally configured with some cool clean looks

  26. Justin P
    November 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    The screenshots almost look like Google Reader never left us...