Organize Gmail Emails

Organizing email in your web based Gmail email account is not a complicated as it may seem.

The tutorial is also available for some other email programs. Refer to the Email archives.

This tutorial assumes that you have already logged into your Gmail mail account.

Note:  I have shortened the folder names for this version of the lesson so you can see all, if not most, of the folder name. The navigation bar in GMail is not adjustable like the file list in Outlook Express or Outlook.

This tutorial was originally created for the Successful Website Marketing Class. You can change the names as required for your situation.

Revised: April 9, 2007

A. Make Labels

Note:  Labels in Gmail don’t work the same a folders in other email programs. All your emails remain in the Inbox. If you click the label names you create in the following instructions the emails associated with that label will appear.

  1. In the top right corner of the browser window is a link called Settings. Click it.

    The browser window refreshes and you are now viewing the Mail Settings page.

  2. Click the Labels tab.

    The browser window changes and the Labels tab is a different colour.

  3. In the white box below Create a new label: type SEO Main Group.

    The Create button becomes available. Click it.

    The browser window refreshes and the SEO Main Group label is added to the list and under the Labels section on the bottom left.

  4. In the white box enter SEO Tech Marketing Group then click Create.

    The browser window will refresh and on the bottom left a new label name will appear called SEO Tech Marketing Group.

So, so far we have created 2 labels for the SEO Tech Main Group and SEO Tech Marketing Group.

Now let’s get even more organized.

  1. In the white box enter SEO Website Dev Training then click Create.

    The browser window will refresh and on the bottom left a new label name will appear called SEO Website Dev Training. It will also appear in the labels list in the main part of the screen.

  2. In the white box enter SEO CSS Tutorials then click Ok.

    The browser window will refresh and a new label name will appear called SEO CSS Tutorials in the bottom left and in the labels list in the main part of the screen.

  3. Repeat steps to create the following labels:
    • SEO HTML Tutorials
    • SEO CSS

Now try it on your own. Create some more labels. You might want to organize them as follows:

  • SEO Main Group Guidelines
  • SEO Main Group Lesson Plan and Preparation
  • One label for each Lesson if you are keeping them all. If you do this one you can sort other people’s questions and answers to specific lessons into the appropriate label.

Ok, you have all these labels, now what?

Assuming you have not setup any filters yet in your Gmail and all your emails are just going to your Inbox:

B. Create Filters

  1. In the top right there is a link called Settings, click it.

    The browser window will refresh and the title will say Mail Settings in the main part of the window.

  2. Click the link called Filters.

    The browser window refreshes and the Filters tab is a different colour.

  3. Click the Create a new filter link.

    The Create a Filter page appears.

  4. The next section is where you set the conditions. We are going to set the condition to look at the Subject. In the box beside Subject enter [SEO CLASS].
  5. Click the Next Step button.
  6. Now we will set the action. Click the box beside Apply the label:

    Select SEO Main Group from the dropdown list.

  7. Click the Create Filter button.

    The Mail Settings page reappears with the Filters tab a different colour.

    Your new filter appears in the Filters list.

Now try it on your own. Create a filter for the Marketing Group and Website Development Group.

So far you have created labels and filters for the SEO Techniques Mail groups. But what do you do with the existing emails you have been saving?

Label Existing Mail

This part assumes that you still have all the SEO Techniques Mail in your Inbox without labels.

  1. Go to your Inbox.
  2. Click in all the small boxes beside the emails with [SEO CLASS]in the subject.
  3. At the bottom of the page is a dropdown box that says More Options.

    Select SEO Main Group from the list.

    The screen flickers.

Look at your Inbox, all the SEO Technique messages should now have a label to the left of the email subject line.

Click the SEO Tech Main Group label and all your messages for the main group should be there.

Repeat the process above for the Marketing Group mail ([Marketing Class] will be in the subject line) and Website Development Group mail ([WDT CLASS] will be in the subject line).

Now when you pick up your mail the messages should be filed in the appropriate folder.

How do you know you have mail from the group?

If you have new mail from the Main Group in the Labels List the SEO Tech Main Group label name will be bold and a number in brackets will appear to the right of the folder name. The same thing happens when you get mail from the Marketing and Web Development groups.

But what about the other labels you had me create? How do the messages get sorted into these labels?

Well there’s 2 ways:

  1. You can get fancy and create more rules that select messages with [WDT CLASSROOM] and Basic HTML 4.01 Tutorials in the subject (for example) and add the SEO HTML Tutorials label.
  2. You can click each label then repeat the Move Existing Mail instructions above to move messages to different labels.

I took the fancy route and it’s not working!

What you have to understand about email filters:

  • When your email program picks up your mail it first processes the filters in place. If none of the filters apply, the mail is filed in your Inbox.
  • When the criteria of a filter (conditions) are met the filter is applied (mail is given the label you told it to). That’s how the mail gets sorted into the label categories.
  • If you look at your filters list, the mail program starts at the top of the list and checks the message against each filter IN THE ORDER THAT THEY ARE LISTED. So if you have a filter “If the subject contains [WDT CLASSROOM] label it SEO Website Dev Group” before one like “If the subject contains [WDT CLASSROOM] Basic HTML 4.01 Tutorials then label it SEO HTML Tutorials” the email is going to be labelled with the SEO Website Dev Group label because that is the first filter that the conditions were met.

To rectify this problem:

We’ll use the SEO Web Dev Group and SEO HTML Tutorials example described above.

  1. Get back to the Filters page (Mail Settings, Filters).
  2. Select the filter name for the SEO Web Dev Group.
  3. Click the delete link to the right of this filter.

    The browser refreshes and the SEO Web Dev Group filter is gone.

  4. Redo the SEO Web Dev Group filter so it is below SEO HTML Tutorials filter.

If any of you have questions please ask. This will save you time and make life less confusing if implemented.

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2 Responses to “ Organize Gmail Emails ”

  1. “The browser window changes and the Labels tab is a different colour.”

    The original colour of the top bar where these links are is a kind of orange colour. When you click the Labels link the background colour behind the link changes to a cream/tan colour indicating that this has been selected.

  2. “What is the SEO Main group”
    This tutorial was originally written for a SEO class which has different sections.

    “is that a must to create a label with that name?”
    No. As indicated at the top of the tutorial, you can adjust the instructions to match your needs.

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