Gmail features what may be the best filtering capability of all the free web-based email services. Gmail's filter are for labeling, sorting, forwarding, and deleting incomming mail automatically. To create a filter, simply follow these steps:
- Click "Create a Filter"- it's to the right of the Search Field:
- You now have five criterion from which to choose. If you'd like to filter your mail based upon the sender, then enter their email address in the "From" field. This is handy for sorting mail from people that you know. If you'd like to sort mail based upon recipricant, then enter the recipricant's email address in the "To" field. This is great for labelling mailing lists. Simply enter the list's name and move on to the next step. You can also filter on an email's "Subject" line, which is handy for managing contact forms. A unique feature to Gmail is the ability to filter mail based upon it's contents, whitelisting or blacklisting words in the the "Has the Words" and "Doesn't have" fields. Finally, you can filter based upon the presence of a file attachment, with the "Has attachment" checkbox.
- Before moving on, you can view your current filters or perform a Test Search. If you already have messages that you'd like to label based upon the current criteria, then run a Test Search and check all the messages that it found. You can then easily label them after you create your filter.