Labels and Filters
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Gmail doesn’t use folders. Instead, to help you organize your mail more effectively, Gmail uses “labels.” Basically, labels do all the work folders do and give you an extra bonus: you can add more than one to a message. There is no limit to how many labels you can apply to an email. And, because Gmail aggregates all related email messages into “conversations,” when you label one message in the conversation, you automatically apply the label to all the messages in the conversation.
Filters are an automatic organization system that let you tell Gmail how to handle your email based on who it’s from, who it’s addressed to, or the subject or message content. Filters analyze emails as they receive and perform certain actions on the messages such as labeling, archiving, deleting, starring or forwarding your mail. Filters even keep messages you want out of spam. Once you set up a filter, Gmail does this all automatically based on a combination of keywords, sender, recipients and more.
Gmail does not have a limit to the number of filters you can create, so you can create as many filters as you want, like labeling emails from distribution lists, labeling emails from certain individuals and starring emails with attachments. Please note: You can create an unlimited number of filters, but only 20 filters can forward to other addresses. You can maximize your filtered forwarding by combining filters that send to the same address.