The 1 hack every Gmail user needs to know

Yes, the headline is a bit clickbaity (I decided to lean into that) but the fact remains that learning this little tip is going to revolutionise my personal email and I hope it helps you too.

I have 3 Gmail accounts. The first was the one I set up years ago. The second is a Gsuite/GoogleWorkspace account linked to my domain. And the third I created about a year ago for doing online shopping, largely because of the deluge of marketing emails you get if you buy anything from stores like Kogan (which they have been rapped over the knuckles for).

In this way, I was able to keep my primary email, the one linked to my domain, relatively clutter free. Life was good. But I did find myself slipping on the rules of which email address to use in which situation, or creating a new account when logging in somewhere because I had forgotten which one to use.

And then I found out this simple thing: with Gmail addresses, you can add a tag to your email address! You do this by putting +[tag] just before the @. You can then use those tags to filter emails, label them, create digests, even delete them altogether!

Let’s use an example.

I sign up on a shopping site as janedoe+shopping@gmail.com.

When an email comes in, I click on the 3 dots and select “filter messages like this”

On the next screen, I enter the +shopping email address into the TO: field and press Create filter

On the next screen you decide how to manage these emails. I’m going to get it to Skip the inbox (so it doesn’t clutter up my feed) and apply a New label “Shopping”

Now whenever I get an email from anything where I use the +shopping email address, it goes unread into the Shopping label in my Gmail.

If I want to I can try to remember to check that label once a week to see if there’s anything important in there, or go and check it if I am waiting for something.

But we can also take it one step further. If you’re on an automation service like Zapier, you can set up digests to send you weekly emails at a time you decide with a round up of what has come through that week. My crochet example is here (still needs a bit of work, but it shows you the concept).

Another benefit of this +[tag] thing is that if you use unique or varied tags when you sign up to things, you can see who is selling on your email address.

The filter is a pretty powerful tool even without the +[tag]. I’ve used it for cleaning out my inboxes. There are a lot of customisation options in there and you can also edit filters if you have a good one set up and want to add more addresses.

To edit, select the cog symbol for the settings, then See all settings>Filters and blocked addresses and select the filter you want to edit.

Anyway, there you go. Hope it helps the Gmail users out there!

Update: Now available as a podcast – a great service from Anchor which helps with accessibility: https://anchor.fm/antonia-mochan/episodes/The-1-hack-every-Gmail-user-needs-to-know-e1a4trk

Published by Antonia

I'm a British citizen, living in Melbourne, Australia. I head up the Community and External Relations division at Uniting Vic.Tas, a large community services organisation. I went to the London School of Economics and University of Melbourne. In 2008 I took part in the Eisenhower Fellowship Multination Programme, the subject of 3 of my blogs. You can find me on Twitter as @euonymblog or @antoniam

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: