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Gmail – Odd Filtering Request…

March 27, 2008

I love Gmail—in my Archives, I still have my “Welcome!” email (because, I wanted to “save it all” since I had unlimited space) dated back to August ‘04 and I haven’t looked back since. 

It’s fast, has a great interface, and has become recognized and supported by dozens of vendors.  It’s also available EVERYWHERE—home, work, on the road, my cell phone, wireless devices, just everywhere.  I don’t have to worry about syncronizing and it connects to GoogleDocs, Calendar, and the other services extremely well.  If I could find a good way (without a client) to sync my cell phone to Google Calendar, I’d happily kick Exchange to the curb (for personal stuff).

I’m on several mailing lists too… various ones for both work and personal such as altdotnet.  As these groups have grown and conversation sometimes staggers, Gmail has been my saving grace by automagically keeping the hierarchy in a single “thread” to make the conversations easy to follow.

Unfortunately, Gmail can’t “autoforward” to folders—because there are no folders.  Labels and filters are great, but if I go a few hours without reading my email (you laugh… but seriously), I find I have 200+ in my box and can’t see the “real” mail from the list servers.

If I was using Outlook, I’d autoforward emails to a folder and be happy.

So, to get around this with Gmail, I tried something and over the next few days, I’ll see how it works.

  1. Setup a new filter that matches a common criterium of all the emails on a particular list, e.g. all altdotnet emails come from altdotnet@yahoogroups.com.
  2. Next, select “Apply the label” and create a new label for the group AND select “Skip the inbox”. 
  3. Save/Update the filter and, optionally, apply it to the discovered conversations (recommended to be sure you don’t have strays).

Gmail Labels

This applies a label, which is clickable from the Labels section on the left AND gets them out of the inbox, leaving it tidy.  You can see below, at a quick glance, that I have 41 unread “threads” in altdotnet and no outstanding jotts (I❤ Jott).

You also can create hyperlinks DIRECTLY to the individual labels (if you wanted to add them to your favorites, etc) by adding #label/{label name} to the end of your google mail URL. Here’s an example:

http://mail.google.com/#label/altdotnet

Since I use the Google Homepage and Gmail web part, I have a little list of links as well and have added this in there for “quick access” to that label.

Give it a try for a few days and see how it works—hopefully it’ll help tame my information overloaded inbox.

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