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"Infinite" email addresses

If you need a temporary (or indeed permanent) additional email address, you can do that very easily with Gmail. Your email address normally consists of two parts, the first half is called the local part and is before the @ sign, followed by the domain part after the @ sign. So john.smith@rhsmith.umd.edu has a local part of john.smith and a domain part of rhsmith.umd.edu.

To create a new address just append a plus ("+") sign and any combination of words or numbers after the local part of your email address. For example, if your email was jsmith@rhsmith.umd.edu, you could send mail to:

jsmith+project@rhsmith.umd.edu or jsmith+admissions@rhsmith.umd.edu

If you couple the ability to create incoming email addresses with the ability to create mail filters, you have a powerful tool to help manage your email. The following steps show how to add a filter to a new email address of facultydemo+newaddress@rhsmith.umd.edu:

  1. Click the gear icon  in the upper right, then select Settings.
  2. Click the Filters tab.
  3. Click the Create a new filter link at the bottom of the page.
  4. On the filter options that appear we add facultydemo+newaddress@rhsmith.umd.edu to the To field (i.e. any message sent to this address)

  5. Click the Create filter with this search link at the bottom to continue
  6. Now we choose what to do with the emails that match this filter. In this example we are choosing to Skip the Inbo (Archive it) and to Apply the label (this instance, a label called NewAddressDemo). Functionally this is the same as moving the emails to the label (folder) called NewAddressDemo. If we want this to happen to emails already received you can check the box at the bottom that says Also apply filter to XX matching conversations so that it label is retroactively applied to old email.
  7. Click the Create Filter button. Any new emails sent to the facultydemo-newaddress@rhsmith.umd.edu will now be delivered direct to the label (folder) called NewAddressDemo(Note that because in this example we skipped the Inbox as part of the filtering process we would only know that there are new messages if we go check it manually).
You could also use a new address to sign-up for newsletters etc on other websites. Note that some websites won't let you register using an email address with a '+' sign in them. This is not a limitation of Gmail, but the website itself and there's nothing we can do about that.