A Gmail Filter to Find your Most Important Emails

Written by Amit Agarwal on Oct 8, 2010

Your Gmail Inbox is overflowing with email messages. Some are newsletters that you are subscribed to, some are messages from friends and colleagues that you would like to read as soon as they arrive while the rest could be spam that managed to trick the built-in Gmail filters.

Focus on the Most Important Emails First!

important emailWhen you only have a limited amount of time to process that long queue of unread messages, it is important that you prioritize your emails and defer reading stuff that is not very important and can wait (like those newsletters).

Here are two simple Gmail filters that will automatically move out all the low-priority emails out of your Inbox so that you can focus on the important ones. They should also come handy when you are checking emails on the go – the high-priority items will be delivered to your mobile device while everything else will stay in your Gmail account for you to follow up later.

1. Filter out emails that are not addressed to you

If your name is not in the TO: or CC: field of an email message, chances are that you may not have to worry too much about responding to that message.

The following filter will automatically move messages out of your Inbox to another folder that are of less-priority as they are not addressed to your directly.

most important emails
  • From: – you@email.com
  • To: – you@email.com
  • Has the words: cc: – you@email.com
  • Skip the Inbox (Archive It)
  • Apply the label: Not for me

If you have more than one active email address, you can either add them all to the above filter separated by the OR operator or setup another similar filter per address.

2. Move Bulk Emails to another folder

Bulk email messages are likely to contain words like “click here” or “unsubscribe” even if those hyperlinks are just a tactic of the spammer to confirm your email address. In either case, the existence of such words in the message can help us easily filter out bulk emails:

spam filter
  • Has the words: unsubscribe OR “click here”
  • Skip the Inbox (Archive It)
  • Apply the label: Bulk Mail

Not everything under the “bulk mail” folder will be spam as it will also match email newsletters that you are subscribed to. That said, email newsletters never require immediate attention so they safely reside in a folder other than your inbox.

Here are some more ideas around Gmail filters:

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