When you have emails flooding in your inbox, you need a better way to organize your inbox. Gmail offers filters, which are simple automation rules that let you manage your incoming emails better.

In this article, you will learn how to filter emails in Gmail, operators that you can use and how to edit your existing filters. So, let's get started.

How to Create Filters in Gmail?

Step 1: In the search box in your inbox, click on the upside-down arrow to open the drop-down menu.

gmail filters
Create Gmail Filters

Step 2: Type in a word or phrase that you want to search.

Step 3: Refine your filter conditions by filling in the remaining form fields.

Step 4: Click on 'Create Filter'. Now, choose what you want the filter to do. Finally, again click on 'Create Filter'.

gmail filter conditions
Gmail Filter Conditions

This is one of the easiest ways to create a filter in Gmail.

Other ways to create rules in Gmail

Step 1: Click on the Settings option [Gear icon] > Click on 'See All Settings'.

Step 2: Go to 'Filters and Blocked Addresses' and create a new filter.

gmail filters settings
Create Filters from Settings

Step 3: Select an email and choose 'Filter messages like these' option.

Step 4: The same filter form opens up where you can select the criteria for your filter. Here's what they indicate:

  1. From: Filters all the emails sent from a specific email address.
  2. To: Filters emails sent to a specific email address.
  3. Subject: Filters emails that have a specific subject line.
  4. Has the words: Filters emails that contain specified keywords.
  5. Doesn’t have: Filters emails that don’t contain specified keywords.
  6. Size: Filters emails larger or smaller than a specific size.
  7. Date within: Filters emails that fall within a specified time range or period.
  8. Search: Searches emails in specific folders.
  9. Has attachment: Filters emails that have attachments.
  10. Don’t include chats: Ignores Hangouts chats when applying a filter.
gmail filters criteria
Gmail Filters Criteria

After selecting the criteria for your Gmail inbox filters, you need to specify what Gmail should do with the emails that match your filter. Here are the possible actions that you can perform using filters.

  1. Skip the inbox: Archives the emails so they don’t appear in your inbox.
  2. Mark as read: Marks the email that appears in your inbox as an already-read item.
  3. Star it: Marks the email as starred.
  4. Apply the label: Applies a specific label to the email.
  5. Forward it to: Forwards the email to a chosen email address.
  6. Delete it: Sends the email to ‘Trash’.
  7. Never send it to Spam: Prevents Gmail from sending the email to ‘Spam’.
  8. Always mark it as important: Tags filtered email as important.
  9. Never mark as important: Tells Gmail not to tag the filtered email as important.
  10. Categorize as: Categorizes filtered email.
  11. Also apply filter to matching conversations: Applies the selected conditions to every email in your account that match the selected criteria.

While this is how you can create Gmail inbox filters, there are several operators that you can use to create and refine your filters.

gmail filters actions

Operators to create powerful Filters

Gmail’s search is far more than just a keyword-based search engine. With the use of Gmail search operators, which modify your search, you can create much more powerful and precise Gmail filters.

  1. “ ” (quotation marks)

This operator searches for the exact phrase in your emails. 

Example: “b2b copywriting“ looks for all the emails with that phrase, but no emails that contain just the word “b2b” or just the word “copywriting”. 

  1. - (minus operator)

The minus operator finds emails that specifically doesn’t have a particular word or phrase or email address.

Example: -notifications@automate.io excludes all the emails that come from the address notifications@automate.io

  1. + (plus operator)

The plus operator searches for all the emails that exactly match the typed word.

Example: +automate.io searches all emails containing the term “automate.io” but not containing the term “automate”. 

  1. ( ) (parenthesis)

This operator groups multiple search terms together.

Example: (Facebook Twitter Instagram) groups email results that contain these 3 terms.

  1. OR or {}

This operator searches for emails containing at least one of two terms or phrases that were typed. 

Example: john@gmail.com OR jane@gmail.com searches for emails coming from John and Jane. 

You can even use multiple operators together to create much more specific filters.

How to edit or delete Gmail Filters?

If your filters are not set up correctly or if you no longer need a filter you created, here is how you can edit or delete Gmail filters.

Step 1: Go to Settings [Gear icon] and click on 'Filters and Blocked Addresses'. Here you can see all the filters you have set up so far.

filters settings
Filters and Blocked Addresses in Gmail

Step 2: Find the filter you want to edit or delete. Click on 'edit' to update it or 'delete' to delete the filter.

delete gmail filters
Edit or Delete Gmail Filters

And that's a wrap on how to create and edit Gmail inbox filters. Organize your Gmail inbox better with advanced filters and have an uncluttered inbox.