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GoogleApps_June13_COrganization is often key to a successful business owner, being organized just makes it easier to conduct business. Beyond that, it could make your employees more effective as they know where to go for answers and items they need. However, there’s one area many owners are not organized in: the Gmail inbox.

Here’s how you can quickly organize your inbox using Labels, filters and archive.

What are Labels and filters?

Many users are used to storing their documents and information in file folders on hard drives. The same goes for email, they want to be able to put emails into folders for organization purposes. With Gmail, you have the inbox and other folders provided by Google, but you can’t add more. Google’s solution to this is Labels.

Labels essentially replace a file system by following the same idea as a filing system with an added benefit. As with files, you can sort and and store emails using Labels. Unlike files, you can attach different Labels to the same email, allowing you to organize, and easily search for emails that might fit into different categories.

Filters allow you to tell Gmail what you want it to do with emails from a specific sender. You can set up a filter that tells Gmail to apply an urgent Label to emails from a certain client, or to send Facebook notifications to archive without the email going to your inbox.

How to create and apply Labels
To create a Label:

  1. Open Gmail, and from the main screen press the Labels button, located above the center panel and below the search bar.
  2. Click Create New.
  3. Enter the name you’d like to apply. If you click Nest label under, this will put the Label in an already established Label. i.e., in Reply Later.

To apply a Label to an email you can either:

  • Select an email by clicking on it so it changes color. Click on the Labels button above the email pane, and select the Label name from the dropdown list. Or,
  • Select a Label from the left hand side of the window and drag it to the email you want to apply the Label to.

When you apply a Label to an email, you’ll see the Label’s name in the subject of your email. You can change the color and characteristics of a Label by clicking on the arrow beside the Labels’ name on the left hand side of the window.

How to apply filters

When combined with Labels, filters are a great way to rapidly organize an out of control inbox, or ensure future emails go to the right place. You can apply filters to an email by:

  1. Selecting the email you’d like to filter and clicking on More above the email pane.
  2. Clicking Filter messages like these from the drop down menu.
  3. Entering the information in the window that pops up. There are numerous options on how you’d like to filter email. For example, you can set Gmail to filter all emails with the subject line: “Complaint.”
  4. Pressing Create filter with this search. A new window will pop up with options on what you want Gmail to do with email with the previous info. You’ll notice that in the background, Gmail has listed all the emails with the info you entered from step 3. If you’d like Gmail to apply the same filter to all related emails, press the button besideCreate Filter.
  5. Pressing Create Filter.

When you do this, all related emails will receive the same filter. Explore the options a bit, and come up with a system that fits you, there’s thousands of options to choose from. If you make a mistake, simply select the email and press the Gear Icon (above the email pane) and select Settings followed by Filters. You’ll be given a list of filters and can select to either edit or delete.

To the archives!
To go one step further in your “clean the inbox campaign”, you can add a filter option to Send Directly to Archive. This will tell Gmail to archive all related emails so you can look at them at a later date. You can also archive emails individually by selecting them and pressing the button that has a file with an arrow pointing down on it, located above the email pane.

The emails will be moved out of your inbox, and into the archive folder, so don’t worry when they disappear. You can view what you have moved by pressing All mail on the left hand side of the window. If you can’t see it, press more. When you press All mail, you’ll notice your inbox will now be showing every email. If you’ve applied a Label to archived emails, you can also view them by clicking on the Label name on the left side of the window.

By using these three methods, you can organize your inbox making it easier for you to find important information without having to scroll through thousands of emails. If you’d like to learn more interesting Gmail features, please contact us.

Published on 13th June 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.


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