I like Gmail for a lot of reasons, but one reason in particular is the ability to use the + character to create new unique email address aliases. I cannot remember how many years ago I found this feature or indeed how I found it, but several conversations over the past few months have highlighted that many Gmail users still don’t know about the feature.
There are a couple of ways I use the alias feature in Gmail:
- Organising Mail – By creating filter rules for each alias I can auto label my mail into categories such as Work, Newsletters or Finances.
- Manage My Children’s Accounts – When I need to create a separate account for one of my children I can use an alias instead of having to check another inbox.
- Managing Multiple Accounts – For free trials or services with limits I can signup multiple times using aliases under one Gmail account (though I obviously only do this where the terms and conditions allow!)
So how do you take advantage of this alias feature?
Quite simply you just give people your email address with the label you want added to the end of the username portion. For example, if my email address is email@example.com (it isn’t so please don’t email it) then I would sign up to newsletters with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some more examples would be:
Once you are receiving mail to your alias addresses it’s easy to add filter rules in Gmail to add a label, star or categorise based on the alias address. For more info see the “Use Gmail Alias” section at the bottom of this page and here for instructions on how to create filters.