Have you always wanted to maintain Inbox Zero, but found yourself falling short as email upon email piled up in your inbox? Are you not a fan of Gmail’s new tab system? If so, then filters may be the solution to your problem. Filters allow you to tell your email service exactly where you want specific emails to go.
The emails that clutter your inbox the most are the ones that are from automated sources – newsletters, notifications, press releases, social media updates, and so forth. They are (for the most part), all emails that do not need your immediate attention.
There are services, such as Unroll.me, that can help you unsubscribe from email subscriptions you are no longer interested. Their service doesn’t catch all of the automated emails out there, and they can’t catch all of the emails from those people who conveniently add you to their list without permission.
This is where the following filters can help. They can catch most emails from automated sources. I have these set in Gmail to skip the inbox and go to a specific label called Automated. To do this, you start by using the search box in Gmail to search for the phrase, then click on the dropdown arrow next to the blue search button to show search options. At the bottom, you’ll see the link to create filter with this search. Then you will set up the filter like this, or with your own specifications.
(I’ll also how how to do this in other email programs too further down in the post.)
Without further ado, here are the filters I find most useful to catch emails sent through automated means.
"to view this email as a web page, go here."
"having trouble reading this email"
"having trouble viewing this email"
"email not displaying correctly"
"unsubscribe | change subscriber options"
"unsubscribe from this list"
"update subscription preferences"
"follow the URL below to update your preferences or opt-out"
"if you would rather not receive future communications from"
"if you would like to unsubscribe"
"to ensure that you continue receiving our emails, please add us to your address book or safe list."
"unsubscribe from these emails"
"unsubscribe from our emails"
"unsubscribe please click"
"unsubscribe from future"
"you can unsubscribe here"
"to unsubscribe or change subscriber options"
"this message was sent to email@example.com" (replace with your email address)
"this email has been sent to you by"
"to opt out"
"opt out using TrueRemove"
"do not reply to this email"
"view this email in a browser"
"please do not reply to this message."
"if you no longer wish to receive our emails"
"if you do not wish to receive email from"
"no longer receive this newsletter"
"do not want to receive any newsletters"
"to remove this e-mail address from"
"removed from this mailing list"
"manage your email settings"
"edit your subscription"
"you may unsubscribe"
"you can unsubscribe"
"powered by YMLP"
"update your contact information"
"update your contact details"
"change your subscription settings"
"manage your subscription"
"manage your subscriptions"
"update Email Address or Unsubscribe"
"this email was sent by"
"this email was intended for"
"you received this email because"
"you received this e-mail because"
"you are receiving this message"
"prefer not to receive invites from"
If you are looking to filter out all of the social media network updates from your inbox, use the following for the top social networks. If you belong to other social networks, look at the from email address to determine what @network.com to use in your filter.
Last, but not least, if you want to filter out some of those impersonalized messages, you can add these phrases to your filter list.
These will filter some advertising requests too – be warned! But they will also filter out those “guest bloggers” who know nothing about your site.
Be sure to review the search results for each phrase prior to setting up the filter. You may find that automated updates and notifications from your favorite shopping sites, social media tools, analytics platforms, and other services end up in the mix. Some of these will also catch new newsletters you sign up for, so if you don’t see your free ebook link in your inbox, it might be filtered by one of the phrases above. You also might want to create a special filter from specific sources and add them to a particular label or star them to make sure you don’t miss their emails.
Since I’m a Gmail user, I wanted to show how these work in Gmail. But these filters are not limited to Gmail – look at your email provider to see what kind of filtering options you can use. Yahoo, for example, allows you to search for phrases within your emails using the search box and set up filters similarly under the settings.
Outlook also allows you to search for emails with specific text under the Advanced Search and set up filters, also known as rules, under your preferences.
What filters do you use to ensure you have the most manageable inbox possible? Please share your favorites in the comments!