How To: Get Organized with Multiple Inboxes in Gmail

gmail_multipleinboxes_thumbmaybeIf you want to get a better grip on your Gmail inbox (whether it be to handle multiple email accounts or simply to organize messages better), you may find Gmail Labs’ Multiple Inboxes feature useful.  Multiple Inboxes splits your Gmail window into separate inboxes, allowing you to apply unique filters to each one.

Multiple Inboxes provides a great way to separate multiple email accounts, allowing you to keep your personal inbox clean without losing messages from your other accounts.

Using Multiple Inboxes

Step 1: Activate Multiple Inboxes in Gmail Labs.


Step 2: By default, you will have multiple inboxes for starred messages and drafts only.  To change these or add new inboxes, click Settings (located in the top right) then click the Multiple inboxes tab.


You can now specify up to four additional inboxes to be displayed in Gmail.  To choose which messages are displayed in an inbox, you can enter standard Gmail search queries in the ‘Search query’ box.

Here are a few examples of search queries:

  • To create an inbox that displays only messages with attachments, use the query:  has:attachment
  • To display only unread messages:  is:unread
  • To display messages from a specific sender:  from:SENDER’S_ADDRESS (replace with a real email address)
  • To display messages with a specific label:  label:YOUR_LABEL
  • If you’re using multiple accounts, you can display account-specific messages by using:  to:YOUR_ACCOUNT_ADDRESS
    • In my case, I wanted to sort all messages to @techerator email addresses.  To do this, I used the query  to:* (the * denotes a wildcard).


At the bottom of the settings page, you can configure how many messages per inbox are displayed (the default is 9) and where the multiple inboxes are displayed.

Step 3: (optional) Now that you have multiple inboxes configured, you may want to remove redundant messages from your primary inbox which can be achieved easily using Gmail’s filters.

Click the Create a filter link, located at the top of your Gmail inbox (to the right of the ‘Search the Web’ button).


Configure the filter to be the same as the query (or queries) you used for your multiple inboxes.  In my case, I want all messages to addresses hidden from my main inbox and displayed in my multiple inboxes.  To do this, I entered * in the To: field.

If you want to see what the filter captures, click the ‘Test Search’ button.  When satisfied with your results, click the Next Step button.


In the next screen, check the Skip the Inbox (Archive It) button and then click the Create Filter button.  If you want this action to be applied retroactively to current messages that meet your filter criteria, click the ‘Also apply filter to…’ box.  Messages that apply to your filter will no longer be displayed in your primary inbox, but will be displayed in your multiple inbox instead.

gmail_multipleinboxes_skipinboxMultiple Inboxes for Gmail provides a great solution to getting your inbox organized, and helps keep important messages from getting lost in the noise of your everyday correspondence.

Have a good email configuration?  Share it in the comments!  [Gmail Multiple Inboxes]

How To: Automatically Forward Emails to Multiple Recipients in Gmail

I recently found the need to have one of Techerator’s email accounts automatically forward emails to multiple recipients for notifications.  Gmail has built-in email forwarding (to a single email address), but there is a very simple trick to forward to multiple addresses.

  1. In Gmail, click the ‘Create a filter’ link at the top, near the search box.
  2. You can now create a filter to only forward select messages, or if you want to forward all messages you can enter the current account’s email address in the ‘To:’ field (in this example, it would be  Click ‘Next Step’.
  3. In the next screen, check the Forward it to: box and enter one of the desired email addresses in the box.  Don’t worry, we’ll add the other addresses in the next step.  Click Create Filter.
  4. Repeat this process for any additional email addresses you want to forward messages to.  Be sure to keep your filter settings the same to avoid any incongruities.

How To: Set Gmail as the Default Email Handler in Firefox

gmail_logoIf you’re an avid Gmail user, you may wish to set it as the default email handler in Firefox.  By setting it as the default, Firefox will automatically open the Gmail composition window when you click any mailto: links or click the Send Link button in the right-click menu.


  1. In Firefox, click Tools –> Options.
  2. Click the Applications tab and type mailto in the search box.
  3. Open the dropdown menu in the Action column and select Use Gmail.
  4. Click OK, Gmail will now be set to handle email composition.

If you’d like to test it out, feel free to click here to send me an email.

Gmail Labs Adds Google Web Search, Never Leave Gmail Again

Let’s face it: Gmail is fantastic and Gmail Labs keeps adding features we didn’t realize we couldn’t live without.  New to Gmail Labs this week is the Google Search “experiment” which allows you to perform a Google web search through a sidebar widget – all without ever leaving Gmail.  The next time you’re in the middle of writing an email and can’t remember the definition of the word ‘Luddite’, you can easily look up the answer without missing a step.

For those of you that are new to Gmail Labs, they are additional features that Gmail offers on an experimental basis with the disclaimer that they may “change, break, dissapear at any time”.  However, most of these features are so useful that they will no doubt be included in future versions of Gmail.

Adding Google Search in Gmail is very easy.  Head over to the Google Labs tab under Settings (you’ll have to log in to Gmail) and scroll down to the “Google Search”  experiment.  Click the Enable button and select Save Changes at the bottom of the page.


Once Google Search has been enabled, you will now have access to the Google Search sidebar widget (shown below) anywhere in Gmail.


When you perform a Google Search using the sidebar widget, the results will load in a Google Chat-esque box which displays in the corner of your screen and can be minimized or moved into its own separate window.


Each result contains a drop-down box that gives you options based on what you are currently doing in Gmail.  If you’re reading an email, you can choose to begin a reply to that email with a link to the search result.  If you’re writing a message (as shown above), you can paste the result in the email or past just the URL.  If you’re currently in Google Chat via Gmail, you can send the result through chat.

One additional tip: If you’ve added several Google Labs features to your sidebar, you may find it getting pretty cluttered.  To deal with this, you can enable the “Navbar drag and drop” feature in Gmail Labs which allows you to easily drag-and-drop widgets anywhere you like in the sidebar.

What are your favorite Gmail Labs features?  What are some features you’d like to see in the future?  Tell us about it in the comments.

How To: Automatically Hide Labels in Gmail

Hide Gmail LabelsFirefox Only:  Although Gmail’s labels can be extremely useful for organizing and increasing your email productivity, they can become quite a nuisance if you have several labels applied to a message.  When this happens, the labels take over the space that usually displays the message preview, and makes your inbox start to look cluttered and disorganized.

You can automatically hide Gmail’s labels (until you move your mouse over the message) by adding installing the Hide Labels in Message Row script for Greasemonkey. [What’s Greasemonkey? Check out our guide.]

Have any Greasemonkey scripts for Gmail you enjoy?  Share them in the comments.

UPDATE 04/23/09: The Better Gmail 2 add-on for Firefox now has built-in support for the Hide Labels in Message Row script.