Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Use Gmail aliases to keep your inbox clean

If you use Gmail and you're active on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc then you could be getting flooded with notifications you rarely read that make it hard to find the important stuff in your inbox.

You could just turn off notification but sometimes you dont want to, you just want to keep it to one side while you read the other inbox stuff. In that case you should be using gmail filters.

The only problem with filters is that you have to figure out what to filter on, sometimes it's easy and you can use the sending address or a subject, but thats not always a perfect fix.

A better solution is to use an email alias! Configure your notifications to go to the alias and then build a filter based on the to address of the email.

If you're not familiar with this Gmail alaises then you should be, its one of those must-use features when signing up for services, notifications, and subscriptions:

Google doesn't offer a traditional alias function so you dont get to just pick 5 or 6 variations of your name, but you can add as many suffixes to your regular email account as you like making as many different email addresses as you need - best of all they always make their way to your inbox without you even telling google about them.

Say for instance you gmail account is and you want an alias set up to use for your daily new subscription.

You add something like +news to the name part of your email so it becomes: and thats it! Anything after the plus (assuming it's still allowed characters) will get through to your account.

Because you can have multiple such alaises you could create one for each service you use:
The best part of using an alias is that if you unsubscribe you can just change the filter to delete emails coming into that alias - ideal for those times when a website "forgets" that you don't want to see their emails any more. Also if a company does sell you email for spam you'll know, because the spam will come to that email alias.

If you want to get creative you can use it with friends and in business by creating different emails that will automatically get tagged for action:
It's easy to set up a Gmail filter:

  1. Click the gear icon in the top right of the Gmail window
  2. Choose "settings" from the menu
  3. Go to the "Filters" tab
  4. Click "Create a new filter" (it's near the bottom of the page)
  5. Enter your chosen alias in the "To" field
  6. Click "Create filter with this search"
  7. Check the boxes according to your needs (I normally go with "Skip the inbox" and "Apply the label [...]")
  8. Click the "Create Filter" button
  9. Finished! 
Now your chosen emails go directly into a label (folder) and dont choke you inbox.

This is going to be old hat to many of you but it's really powerful and worth sharing with your non-tech friends to help them sort their mail for easy processing.

No comments:

Post a Comment