If you want to try and keep your Gmail inbox nice and organized, an excellent way to do that is to set Gmail to automatically move emails that match certain criteria into a specific folder. And in this article, that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do.
In Gmail, all the folders are actually called labels, but they really work the same way as folders would in any other Email app. So I’m going to carry on calling them folders in this article, but you could pretend I’m saying “Labels” if you prefer.
Prefer to watch a video about how to automatically move emails to a folder in Gmail? Click here.
How To Automatically Move Emails To A Folder In Gmail
The first thing to do is create your folder if you haven’t already. If you already have the folder that you want emails to automatically go into, you can just skip this step. But if you haven’t yet created the folder that you want the emails to go into, you’ll need to do that now.
Creating The Folder
To create your new folder (or label) if it doesn’t already exist, all you’ll need to do is click on the plus icon next to where it says “Labels” in the left hand menu…
And a box will pop up asking you what you want to name the folder. All you need to do here is type in whatever you want the name of your folder to be, and then click “Create” to create your new folder.
Creating A Filter To Automatically Move Emails Into The Folder
Once the folder that you want emails to automatically go into is created, all that’s left to do now is create a filter that will automatically add emails to the folder. To do that, you’ll need to go into the Gmail settings by clicking on the settings icon in the top right hand corner…
And then, in the panel that appears, click the “See all settings” button.
Now, in settings, click “Filters and Blocked Addresses” in the menu to see all your filters…
And you’ll now see a page with all your filters. If you’ve ever created any filters in Gmail in the past, you’ll see those filters listed here, but if this is your first time ever using filters in Gmail, you’ll see a fairly blank page that looks something like this:
But regardless of whether or not you’ve ever created a filter in the past, you’ll now need to click “Create a new filter” to begin creating your filter.
Now, a box will appear on your screen with a whole lot of options, and this is where you’ll get to set the criteria for which emails are moved into the folder.
So you could put someone’s email address in the “From” box and then any emails you receive from that person would go into the folder.
Or if you type a word into the “Subject” box like (for example) “bananas”, then any emails that have the word bananas in the subject line would automatically go into the folder.
Or, if you typed bananas in the “Has the words” box, then any emails that mention bananas anywhere in the email would automatically go into the folder.
And you could also do it the other way around if you want. If you want only the emails that mention bananas to be in your inbox and all the emails that don’t mention bananas to be moved to this folder, you could put the word bananas in the “doesn’t have box”, and then any email that doesn’t include the word bananas would be sent to this folder.
And you can actually use multiple different options if you want, but you have to be a bit careful about how you do it.
For example, if you put Bob’s email address in the “From” field, and then you also put the word bananas in the “Subject” field, that would mean only emails that came from bob and have the word bananas in the subject will go into the folder.
So if you want to do something really specific like that, that’s fine. But, if you want any emails that came from bob to go into this folder, and any emails with bananas in the subject line to also go into this folder, you’ll need to just put bob’s email address in this filter, and then once you’ve finished creating this filter, you can go back and create another filter to move any emails that say bananas in the subject into the same folder.
But to keep things simple for this demonstration, I’m not going to worry about bananas or any other word, I’m just going to type bob’s email address in the “From” box. So that any emails that come from bob will be added to the folder.
But, once you’ve typed in whatever you want in any of these fields to set the criteria for the filter, you’ll just need to click “Create filter” to proceed with creating the filter.
You might feel like you want to click the “Search” button because that’s the one that’s blue and looks more like a button. But all that will do is show you all your current emails that match your criteria. So you’ll need to make sure you click “Create filter” to actually proceed with creating the filter.
But now, on the next page, you’ll get to choose what happens with any email that matches the criteria. And there are a few different things you’ll need to set here to make the emails go into the folder.
To make the emails be automatically added to the folder, you’ll need to tick the box that says “Apply the label”…
And then, click on the drop down arrow next to “Choose label”…
And now, in the menu that appears, click on the folder (or label) that you want the emails to go into.
Now any email that matches your criteria will go into this folder, but by default, the emails will go into the folder you selected and also remain in your inbox.
If that’s what you want to happen, that’s fine, but if you don’t want these emails to be in your inbox at all, and you just want them to be in your chosen folder, you can tick the box that says “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)”.
Once that’s sorted, you might also want to tick the box that says “Also apply filter to matching conversations”.
If you don’t tick this box, the filter will only add new emails that match your criteria into the folder, and all your existing emails will remain untouched. And if you only want the filter to apply to your new emails, you can just leave this box unticked.
But, if you want any matching emails you’ve received in the past to go into the folder in addition to any new emails you receive, you’ll want to tick this box.
But, those are really the only options you’ll need to worry about for this filter, so once you’ve finished setting all these options, all you need to do is click “Create filter” to finish creating your filter.
Now, your filter will be created, and you’ll see it in the list of filters!
So now when you receive a new email from bob (or any email that matches whatever criteria you set), it won’t appear in the inbox if you ticked that box to make it skip the inbox, instead, you’ll find it in the folder you chose!
And if you chose for the filter to also apply to all your existing emails, all your previous emails from bob (or previous emails that match whatever criteria you set) will also be in the folder.
But, if you didn’t tick the box to make the emails skip the inbox, whenever you receive a new email from bob (or any email that matches whatever criteria you set), the email will appear in your inbox, but it will have a badge saying the email is also in the folder you chose.
And, the email will also appear in your chosen folder, with a badge saying it is also in the inbox.
And, that’s all there is to it. Now any emails you receive that match the criteria you set will go straight into the folder.
But, if you want to remove the social and promotions tabs in Gmail and just have one main inbox, you’ll learn how to do that in this article.