Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

You There…. Filter Your Gmail

filter gmail (1)
You There…. Filter Your Gmail

filter gmail (1)

Filter Gmail

G Suite users, it’s essential you are master of filtering your Gmail! Your productivity (and may I add happiness) will increase exponentially!

Search Gmail

Gmail is by Google so obviously, Gmail has a search box. Search for a name, email address, subject line, or text from an email.  From your search, we will create a filter.
Search box in Gmail

Look for Patterns

to create an effective filter you need to identify patterns that you can tell Gmail to look for. Many emails generated from a product have some standard verbiage in the subject line or email body. What is generic and what is personalized? Identify the generic elements of emails so you can set filters for them.

Tiny Arrow

In the search box is a tiny arrow to allow you to create a search filter. Click on the arrow to reveal ways that Gmail can identify your emails. For example, when Google Classroom sends out emails when students leave a Private Comment the subject line always says “added a private comment on.” So in the “Subject” box, I would put that exact phrase to help Gmail identify all of those types of emails.
Create a Filter

Has the Words

Notice the difference between “Subject” and “Has the words.” By default, when doing a search in Gmail it searches the email subject line and all of the text in the email. You are defaulting to “Has the words.”
search both the subject line and email text

If you want to search only the subject line make sure you have clicked on the tiny arrow and put your search terms into the “Subject” box.


It is important that I do not miss emails from the office secretary. I filter for any emails sent FROM her email address.
Emails sent from


You may be closely working with a parent and email with that parent frequently. Create a filter for emails you sent TO that parent and create another filter for emails FROM that parent.

Create Filter With This Search

Notice in the bottom right of the search design box is blue lettering that says “Create filter with this search.” If you simply press enter Gmail will search for emails with the criteria you specified. If you instead want to create a filter, click on the blue letters.
Create a filter with this search

What Do You Want To Do With These Emails?

I know, I know, you want to send all of them to the trash! Ha! For some you do. Others you may need to select other actions.
Filter options

  • Skip the Inbox: When you want to look at it LATER on your own terms.
  • Mark as read
  • Star it: What emails are super important and you can’t miss?
  • Apply the label: This is the same as putting it into a folder. You most likely want this option!
  • Forward it: Who else needs to see these emails?
  • Delete it: Yup, I like this one!
  • Never send it to Spam: When an email has been sent to spam accidentally, create a filter to keep that from happening again.
  • Send canned response: Note to have an automated reply you need to turn on canned responses in the lab settings.  
  • Always mark it as important: If you use Priority Inbox you want to train Gmail as to what emails are important and which ones are not.
  • Never mark it as important
  • Categorize as: These categories are pre chosen. If you want customized categories apply a label.

Apply the Label

Labels are like folders. You can find your labels on the left hand side of your Gmail. Click on the label to see all emails with that label. For example, when I get a late work notification from Google Classroom. I label it as Google Classroom. I label it as Late Work and filter it to skip the inbox. This way when I’m sitting down to review late work I can click on the late work label on the left hand side and manage those emails when I’m ready for them.
latework label

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