Filters are a fabulous tool in Gmail that allow you to tag and autofile incoming email messages. This is great for lists that you may subscribe to (from Societies, from Rootsweb, etc.). This quick tip will show you how to quickly create a filter using a message in your inbox.
In this case, I am creating a filter for the monthly e-newsletter I receive from the California Genealogical Society.
After opening the message you want to create a filter for, begin by selecting "Filter messages like these" from the "More Actions" drop-down menu:
Gmail will take you to the screen below, where you can input the criteria Gmail will use to apply the filter to incoming messages. Gmail will autopopulate the "From" field with the email address from which the message was sent. Since I receive more than just these newsletters from this address, I have chosen to include the subject line associated with these newsletters as an additional criterion. Obviously, the more fields you fill-in, the more specific the filter will be.
After filling in the criteria for the filter, click on "Next Step", and you will be taken to a screen where you will tell Gmail what to do with any incoming mail that matches the criteria you just outlined:
"Skip the Inbox" means that incoming mail to which your filter is applied will not appear in the inbox at all, they will immediately be archived. If you choose to skip the inbox, be sure to apply a label to your message, as this will allow you to find the filtered messages easily, by browsing tags.
You'll also find that upon reaching this screen, Gmail will have searched and will display messages that match your filter settings. You can apply your filter settings on this page to apply to those messages Gmail found by clicking the "Also apply filter to the X messages displayed below".
Congratulations, you've quickly and easily made your email life a little neater, a little simpler, and a littler more organized!
You can read more about filters, labels, and using Gmail as a searchable mailing list archive in this post and this post.