Internet Productivity

How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook

Ben Stegner Updated 21-07-2020

Setting up email filters, or organizing conversations into folders, is an efficient way to manage your email inbox. For example, you might set up a filter to separate newsletters from more important messages. It’s also a great way to automatically trash or mark certain emails as spam.

Advertisement

We’ll show you how to set up email filters to automatically sort your emails in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook.

How to Filter Emails in Gmail

When you start editing Gmail filters, you might notice that Gmail doesn’t use actual “folders.” Gmail calls these labels, but aside from the different name, they’re functionally identical.

To get started with creating Gmail filters, open your Gmail inbox, and click on the small arrow icon to the right of the search bar at the top. This opens the advanced search box, allowing you to specify attributes for the filters.

Here’s how these work:

Gmail Create Filter

Advertisement
  • Has the words and Doesn’t have allow you to scan the email for any words you’d like. You can use Gmail’s search operators 5 Gmail Search Tricks Every Power User Should Know Here are some useful search tricks every Gmail power user should know. Read More here, like AND or OR, to look for multiple words.
    • For instance, say you want to create a filter for all messages containing the word unsubscribe, but don’t want to include your bank’s emails. You could enter Unsubscribe in the Has the words field, then Bank of America in Doesn’t have to exclude results that contain these words.
  • If you like, specify a size that the message is greater or less than.
  • Use Date within to filter by messages received close to a certain date.
  • If you want to look only for emails with an attachment, check the Has attachment box. And if you often chat with Hangouts in Gmail, you’ll probably want to check Doesn’t include chats to cut down on the noise from those.
  • Finally, leave the Search box on All Mail unless you only want to filter from a certain existing label.

When you’re done, click the Create filter button in the bottom-right corner of the window. If you want to make sure the filter is correct, click Search first to show emails that match it.

Customizing Filter Actions

Next, you’ll need to decide what happens to the email that hits this filter.

If you’re trying to keep a clean inbox, choosing Skip the Inbox (Archive it) is a good first step. Paired with this, you can add a star, attach a label so you know what to do with that message later, or mark it as important.

There are additional options here, which may come in handy depending on the filter you’re setting up. Never send it to Spam is useful if Gmail is sending legitimate messages there.

Advertisement

When you’re done, check Also apply filter to X matching conversations if you want this filter to apply to existing mail as well as future messages. Clicking Create filter will complete the process.

Gmail Filter Options

You can review or edit your existing filters at any time. Click the Settings gear icon in the top-right, followed by See all settings. Choose Filters and Blocked Addresses at the top to see them all and delete or make changes if needed. Gmail also provides an export feature, so you can put your filters in a file to share them.

Having trouble thinking of a good filter idea? Gmail can help.

Advertisement

Tick the checkbox next to any message in your inbox, then go to the three-dot menu > Filter messages like these. This will launch the filter window as before, but with some fields pre-filled based on the message you selected.

For more, have a look at annoying email problems you can solve with filters 10 Email Problems You Can Solve with Gmail Filters An overflowing inbox driving you crazy? Do you want to through your inbox faster than ever? Try some of these brilliant Gmail filters to see the difference. Read More .

How to Set Up Yahoo Mail Filters

To set up filters in Yahoo Mail, open your Yahoo email inbox, then click the gear icon in the top-right and choose More Settings. Select the Filters tab on the left, then select Add new filters to start one.

Yahoo Mail New Filter

Advertisement

Yahoo doesn’t offer as much filter functionality as Gmail. There are four fields to customize: From, To/CC, Subject, and Body. You can name filters, which lets you quickly review them on the main Filters tab without having to check the details.

The categories are self-explanatory; for each one, you can choose to filter email that contains, does not contain, begins with, or ends with selected words. You also have the ability to match cases, which could be handy if you’re looking to filter all-caps acronyms.

Once you’ve completed the filter criteria as desired, you can choose which folder to move the matching messages to.

Yahoo Filter Options

Note that filters are applied in top-to-bottom order. Thus, when reviewing the list, make sure that the most important filter is at the top. That will take priority if a message falls under multiple filters. You can also edit or remove an existing filter from this page.

That’s all you need to know for Yahoo filtering. For more tips, see how to make your Yahoo account secure Is Your Yahoo Mail Account Safe? 10 Ways to Stay Secure Here's how to secure your Yahoo account with the most important Yahoo security tips. Read More .

How to Filter Emails in Outlook

If you use Outlook.com for your email, here’s how to filter messages.

Open your Outlook inbox and click the Gear icon at the top-right, followed by All Outlook settings at the bottom of this list. Make sure Mail is selected on the left tab, then choose Rules on the next list. Finally, click Add new rule to make a fresh filter.

Outlook New Rules

You’ll need to give the filter a name. Next, open the box under Add a condition to see the available options.

There are many of them, which Outlook breaks into groups. For example, one category is My name is, in which you can select I’m on the To line, I’m on the CC line, I’m not on the To line, and similar. If you want more than one, click Add another condition below the first box.

There are too many for an exhaustive list here, but some of the most helpful include:

  • My name is > I’m not on the To line catches emails in which you were CCed or mass emailed.
  • Marked with > Importance or Sensitivity to catch messages using the sensitivity or priority levels specific to Outlook.
  • Received > Before or After to filter messages by date.

Outlook Rule Conditions

Once you’ve set your conditions, you’ll need to specify at least one item under Add an action. You can choose to move or copy the message to a folder or delete it. A neat choice is pinning the message, which will keep it at the top of your inbox for review. Marking the message with a certain importance or forwarding it onto another address are other useful actions.

Also, Outlook lets you add exceptions using any of the earlier conditions. Thus, you can set up a filter that excludes messages from a specific person, or messages marked as important.

Outlook Rule Actions and Exceptions

Check the Stop processing more rules box if you don’t want messages that run through this filter to be affected by others. For example, if one filter pins all important messages, and a second filter deletes all messages with attachments, you would want to check this box so that Outlook doesn’t delete an important message with attachments.

That’s all it takes to create Outlook filters; repeat the above if you need more.

Email Filters Made Easy

Email filters are powerful tools you can use to reduce the flood of messages in your inbox. We’re sure that you can use them to improve your mail workflow—especially in Gmail and Outlook, which offer more options.

For more help, check out additional ways to organize and manage your email inbox 5 Email-Cleaning Ways to Organize and Manage Your Inbox Is email taking up more time than it should? Organize and tame your inbox so that you have more time for other things. Read More .

Related topics: Email Apps, Email Tips, Gmail, Hotmail, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Mail.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Jenn Hoff
    June 20, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Thank you!!!! Amazon was literally sending me 3-6 emails a day. That's roughly a thousand a year. And there's no way to "unsubscribe" from most of them! This label thing is working like a dream.

  2. Yolanda Peterson
    June 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I would like to learn to set up automatic replies when receiving resumes.

  3. Angela George
    March 11, 2017 at 6:37 am

    I was on the hunt for some tips on How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook and found your site.I really like that you emphasize on How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook .
    Actually, I just want to put together an infographic about the same topic. Let me know if you want to check it out and if you like it you can further share it on your blog.

    Hoping to hear you soon !!!

  4. Ana
    February 6, 2017 at 5:09 am

    Every store that I go to or every retail site that I shop online at always ask me for my email address to receive a discount and to receive special discounts and offers later. I’ve saved lots of money doing this but at the costs of my inbox being flooded with emails from retailers. Can I use filters to regain control of my inbox from retailers? If so, how do I do it and what should I name it? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    • Ben Stegner
      February 9, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      I totally understand. What I would do is set up a filter using the above instructions for whichever service you use. Then, set it to filter emails that contain the word "unsubscribe" since marketing emails almost always contain that word. In Gmail, you can set the filter to have email skip the inbox (which keeps it out of your hair) and apply a label that you create, such as Newsletters or Advertisements.

      If that doesn't work for you, another great solution is to use Unroll.me. This service lets you "roll up" all of those automated emails into one daily digest that you can scan through instead of them clogging up your inbox all day. It's easy to use and configure.

      https://unroll.me/

      Hope this helps you!

  5. Ray
    October 31, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    @Tammy
    To keep your emails but remove them from the Forums group just remove the Forums label from the email. That will take them out of the Forums "folder" but they will still be in your inbox or wherever.

  6. Tammy
    August 10, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    I am working in Gmail and this work but it still leaves the emails in the forum section and if I delete them from there it also deletes the from the folder. How can I get them to move to the folder I created only.

  7. Jack Cola
    May 29, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Thanks Nat. I know what you mean. You create all these folders for say for one of your jobs, then you change jobs so that folder isn't needed any more for when you are at your second job.
    I don't personally like deleting my email's, but if you are using Gmail, you can always hide them from not showing your your main view - which is good. That way you can still keep them, but they are not in the way.

  8. Nat Jay
    May 29, 2010 at 6:12 am

    I used to use a ton of different folders for my college research projects. The hard part was deleting them all once I graduated. By then, however, it was time to create work-related folders. I've been living from folder to folder ever since :)

    • Jack Cola
      May 29, 2010 at 6:53 am

      Thanks Nat. I know what you mean. You create all these folders for say for one of your jobs, then you change jobs so that folder isn't needed any more for when you are at your second job.
      I don't personally like deleting my email's, but if you are using Gmail, you can always hide them from not showing your your main view - which is good. That way you can still keep them, but they are not in the way.

  9. Strodtbeck
    May 28, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Just setting up filters in gmail to add labels is great. That way once you've read the email it's automatically archived into the right label/folder without having to do anything.

    Another great tutorial!

  10. Strodtbeck
    May 28, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Just setting up filters in gmail to add labels is great. That way once you've read the email it's automatically archived into the right label/folder without having to do anything.

    Another great tutorial!

    • Jack Cola
      May 29, 2010 at 12:56 am

      Thanks Strodtbeck :)