GMail Filters: Archive Everything but Important Mail

Posted By Hoyt Summers Pittman

A friend of mine, Jeff Hilimire, came to me with a problem a few weeks ago. He wanted to figure out how to make GMail archive all of his messages that weren’t marked important. On his phone’s email application he would receive a notification for (and download of) each message that he received but was only interested in “Important” (as defined by GMail’s Priority Inbox feature) ones.

This turned out to be rather easy, but it wasn’t intuitive.

Creating the Filter

Gmail lacks the ability to create a filter which is “All messages” (as far as I could tell). However, I could create a filter for all messages which weren’t from me which was useful enough. In the search box enter the term from:(-me). Then run your search and create the filter to archive everything.

filter1

Protecting Priority Mail

In your settings you can tell GMail to not filter your important messages. This is found under the inbox tab of your settings page. Settings is available through the gear icon in the top right corner of the GMail interface. In the “Filtered mail” section select “Override filters”

filter2

Now you should have all of your messages be archived unless they are marked “Important”.

Mar 31st, 2013

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