Filters

Filters

Filters/ Rules in Zoho Mail help you to automatically organize your emails, by setting certain conditions and respective actions. You can set up multiple filters in Zoho Mail, based on several parameters. Additionally, filters also help you to automate certain actions like creating a task from an email, auto-forward certain emails based on conditions to a specific email address etc.

Filters / Rules - Auto classify or Auto Manage your emails

Filters in Zoho Mail help you to automatically sort incoming emails. You can define a set of conditions and the respective actions for those conditions. This helps you to save time and have an organized inbox, and makes sure that you don't miss important emails. You need to ensure that you create the required filters in the correct order so that the emails are correctly organized and are sorted based on your requirements. 

Zoho Mail also provides 'Smart Filters'. The Smart Filters when enabled, automatically classify the emails as Newsletters or Notifications, based on the information available in the headers. 

How Filters Work

Every incoming email you receive will be processed by your Filters on delivery. In Filters, you will define conditions for processing. There can be multiple conditions, and you have the option to choose whether all the conditions should be fulfilled or if any of the conditions can be fulfilled to process the actions provided in the Filter. 

Example:
1. If the sender is "boss@myorg.com", flag as Important and Move to "Priority items"

2. If the sender is "friend@email.com", Move to "Personal items" 

Apart from the sender criteria, you can also set up filters to differentiate emails that arrive at your different email aliases using the To/ Cc parameter. 

Conditions and Actions: 

Any custom filter has two parts: Conditions and Actions. In simpler terms, you define the criteria or conditions in the first part and provide a rule or an action, which should be carried out when the part 1 condition is fulfilled. 

Available Conditions/ Parameters:

You can set up multiple conditions and multiple actions based on your requirements. The conditions that can be associated with any filter, the operating parameters and the data type that has to be used with each condition are listed below: 

ConditionsOperating ParametersData Type
From

Contains, Does not contain, Begins with, Ends with

String

Is, Is not

Email Address

In, Not in

Autofill (My Contacts)

Subject

Contains, Does not contain, Begins with, Ends with, Is, Is not

String
To

Contains, Does not contain, Begins with, Ends with

String

Is, Is not, Only Me

Email Address

Cc

Contains, Does not contain, Begins with, Ends with

String
Is, Is not, Only Me

Email Address

To/Cc

Contains, Does not contain, Begins with, Ends with

String

Is, Is not, Only Me

Email Address

ContentContains, Does not containString
PriorityIs, Is lower than, Is higher thanSelect from given options
Attachment Name

Contains, Does not contain, Begins with, Ends with, Is, Is not

String
Attachment Type

Contains, Does not contain, Begins with, Ends with, Is, Is not

Attachment format as String (jpg, txt, pdf, csv, etc.)
Between Date and Time

Actions/ Rules that can be defined:

The Actions that can be automated are:

Managing your mailbox:

  • Move to Folder - You can select a folder and move the email to a specific folder. You can also create a new folder if you haven't already created one for a set of conditions.
  • Apply a selected Tag/Flag - You can choose a tag which can be applied to the email. 
  • Mark as Read/Unread - You can change the Read/ Unread state of the email. Ex: You can mark certain notifications as read, without adding them to the unread count. 
  • Delete the email - You can move email directly to Trash based on some conditions. Ex: It will be useful when some newsletters keep coming, even after unsubscribing several times. 
  • Delete after N days - This action deletes the emails that fall under the defined condition after the specified number of days. This action will be useful in cases where certain notifications are necessary at that point but are not meaningful after a few days.
    It is always advisable to use the 'Delete after N days' action with the 'Move to Folder' action because you will have an idea that emails in that particular folder will be deleted after the specified number of days. Also, make sure that this folder is named relevantly to convey that the folder content will be deleted after a few days. 
  • Forward the Mail (to a different email address) - Conditional Forwarding - Instead of forwarding all emails, you can define some conditions based on which only some emails can be forwarded. 
  • Don't add attachments to Attachment Viewer - Incoming attachments will not be added to the attachment viewer if this action is selected. If you decide that a record of certain attachments are enough in just emails, and don't have to be added to the attachment viewer, this action can be used. 

Processing your emails:

  • Add Mail as Notes - Add the entire email as a note, with the subject as Title and the email content as the Notes. 
  • Assign Mail as Task - Add the email as a Task, with the Subject as Title and email content as Description
  • Custom Functions - Customise the filter actions and conditions using the available parameters using Deluge scripting via Zoho Creator. Learn more.

Managing your attachments:

You can configure filters to upload the attachments from emails, that match your criteria, to certain file storage services or choose to not add attachments to Attachment Viewer using one of the following filter options

  • Add attachments to Dropbox
  • Add attachments to Google Drive
  • Add attachments to OneDrive
  • Add attachments to Box
  • Add attachments to Zoho Docs
  • Don't add attachments to Attachment Viewer - Attachments that part of your emails, will not be added to the Attachment Viewer if you select this action.

Authenticating the storage services

  1. Login to Zoho Mail
  2. Click the Settings  icon.
  3. Go to Filters
  4. Open the Create Filter window.
  5. Enter the necessary criteria and click on Select Actions.
  6. Select the Add attachments to filter of your choice and click Choose Folder.
  7. Click the Authenticate button on the Authentication window that appears.
  8. If you are not already signed into the file storage service of your choice in your browser, you will be prompted to do so. 
  9. Once signed in, a consent window to allow access of your files will appear. Click Allow.
  10. The list of your files and folders will be displayed. You can choose the folder you want to upload your attachments to. The attachment will be saved to the root folder if no folder is specified.
Note:
  • The above Authentication steps are followed for Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive and Box filter options. Add Attachments to Zoho Docs filter option does not require the authentication process since you are already signed into your Zoho account.
  • Attachments upload size constraints are subjective to the size limits of the User's file storage accounts.

Create new filter

  1. Login to Zoho Mail
  2. Click the Settings  icon.
  3. Go to Filters
  4. If you have multiple email accounts configured, select the required account.
  5. Click the New Filter icon in the top right corner of the Filters tab.
  6. The Create Filter dialog box pops up on screen. You will have to fill in the Name, Filter Conditions and Actions in this dialog box.
  7. Provide a Name for the filter, to identify the filter.
  8. Choose whether you want to run the filter actions.
    • When any of the conditions match ('Or' based filter) - The actions are processed even if one of the conditions match.
    • When all the conditions match ('And' based filter) - The actions are processed only if all of the specified conditions match.
    • For all incoming messages - The actions are processed for all the incoming messages, irrespective of whether or not the conditions match.
  9. Choose the required parameter for the Conditions and provide the criteria for the particular parameter. 
  10. Select the matching pattern, to connect the parameter and the criteria you have provided. The available options vary according to the chosen parameter. 
    1. Ex: For parameter "From", the pattern can be "Contains", "Begins with", "Ends with" etc.. 
    2. For parameter "Priority", the matching pattern is "Is", "Higher than" and "Lower than"
  11. After adding the necessary conditions, choose the Actions that you want to set for your filter.
  12. For the ‘Move to Folder’, ‘Flag as’, and ‘Tag as’ actions select the suitable folder, tag or flag from the drop-down menu across the actions field.
  13. Select 'Stop Processing Other Filters' to stop the execution of other filters.
  14. Click Save to save your filter preferences.

Filter Examples:

Example 1: The below filter processes the emails sent by "boss@mydomain.com" and with Priority as "High", and moves the emails to the folder "Respond Immediately" and also flags them as "Important"
Match All Conditions:
ConditionsSender "is" boss@mydomain.com 
Priority is "High"
Actions: Move To Folder "Respond Immediately", Flag as "Important"

Example 2: The below filter processes the emails sent by "bill@mymobile.com" or "invoice@mydth.com" and moves the emails to the folder "To check and pay" and also create a Task from the email. 
Match any of the conditions:
Sender: "bill@mymobile.com" or
Sender: "invoice@mydth.com"
Actions: Move To Folder "
To check and pay"
Assign as Task Project "Monthly bills"

Create Filter from an email:

When you are reading a particular email, you can directly create a new filter based on the parameters in that email. This helps you to auto-classify the future emails similar to the one you are reading.

  1. Suppose, you are reading an email from 'information@importantalerts.com' with Subject 'Monthly Page View Statistics'.
  2. Click the More Actions icon in the top right corner of the mail view pane.
  3. Select Add To, and then choose Filters.
  4. The Create Filter dialog pops up on screen, with the parameters Sender/ Subject prefilled based on the current email.
  5. View the conditions, parameters, and other items in the filter and modify the details wherever required.
  6. Choose the required actions for the particular email.
  7. Click Create to create a new filter and have all new incoming emails processed by that filter.

Note:

To manage your mailbox better, you can also use the Smart Filters option for intelligent recommendations from Zoho Mail.

Match All Incoming Messages

The Match all Incoming messages option is useful when you want to perform an operation on all emails that you receive. You can set the condition type to 'No conditions. All incoming emails'.

This can be useful when you want to perform a particular action like adding a tag or flag to all incoming messages, irrespective of the conditions.

You need to be cautious when you select this option because actions like 'Delete' or 'Mark as Read' might turn out to be disastrous.

Creating and Managing Multiple Filters

Generally, you would have multiple filters to categorize the emails in your mailbox. Sometimes, while defining the conditions in your filters, there might be an overlap.

For example, assume that the condition in one of your filters is "From contains marketing@mydomain.com" and the condition in another one of your filters is "Subject contains Blog". When an email arrives in your mailbox from 'marketing@mydomain.com' with the subject as 'Features to be announced in the next Blog Post', this email will satisfy the conditions defined in both the above filters. In such cases, the filter with the higher priority is processed first, and then the next one is processed. Therefore, the sequence in which the filters are arranged plays a vital role in such emails.

Filter Sequence

When multiple filters are created, the sequence in which your filters are arranged is important for it to work the way you want.

When you receive a new email, Zoho Mail applies filters in the order it appears on your Filters page. The filters whose conditions match with the email are applied to the email and the relevant actions are processed. The filter numbered 1 is applied first and the rest are processed in the order listed on the screen.

To change the order of the filters, drag and drop the filter to the desired position. You will be asked if you want to change the order of the filters, click ok.

If you want certain emails to be processed only by one filter, even if it satisfies the conditions in several filters, you will have to select the Stop Processing other Filters check box. In that case, only that filter will be applied to the message. The rest of the filters will be skipped. 

Stop processing other Filters

When you have multiple filters, the filters are processed from top to bottom, in the sequence, they appear on your screen. When an email satisfies the first filter, it is processed by the first filter and is checked for the next filter in the sequence. But, if you check the 'Stop processing other Filters' checkbox, the rest of the filters are skipped. Only the first filter whose conditions match with the email is processed. 

If 'Stop processing other Filters' is not checked, the email passes through the rest of the filters as well, based on the conditions of each filter.

However, actions like Move To Folder, Delete Message, Mark As Read, Add flag, Filter based forwarding are one time actions and if the same action is set in the forthcoming filters, it gets overridden.

Example: Consider that you have 4 filters with conditions set on the basis of the subject of the email. The subject conditions specified on each filter are 'Important' with action 'Move to Folder', 'Marketing' with action 'Apply Tag', 'Announcement' with action 'Add Flag' and 'Blog' with two actions 'Move to Folder' and 'Add Tag'. Suppose you receive an email with the subject, "Important announcement about Blogs - Attn: Marketing team", then all the four filters will be processed sequentially. But the action 'Move to folder' will be done based on the action set in the topmost filter. The last filter action 'Move to folder' will be skipped, but the tag specified in the last filter will be processed, provided all the filters have 'Stop processing other Filters' unchecked. If 'Stop Processing other Filters' is checked, only the topmost filter in the sequence will be applied to the email.

Hence, check the option Stop Processing Other Filters and rearrange the sequence of filters as per your preference to have the optimum effect of filters.

Run Through Filter

Once a filter is created, the incoming emails undergo the filter processing and are classified accordingly. However, the emails received before the creation of the filter will not be processed. To process the previously received emails in a particular folder, using a newly created Filter, you can use the Run through Filter option.

  1. Login to Zoho Mail
  2. Click the Settings  icon.
  3. Go to Filters
  4. If you have multiple email accounts configured, select the required account.
  5. The filters associated with that account get listed on the screen.
  6. Place your cursor over the filter for which you want to process the emails.
  7. On hovering over the respective filter, you can see the relevant options to Run through, edit or delete.
  8. Click the Run Through Filter icon. 
  9. The folders in your mailbox will be listed. Select the folder whose emails you want to classify with this filter.
  10. The emails in the selected folder will be processed according to the filter parameters and classified.

Disable Filter

You can disable a filter by clicking on the tick mark in the status column. Once disabled, this filter will not be applied to the incoming messages. If required, it can be enabled later by clicking on the tick mark again.

Import/Export Filter

You might want to use the same set of filters that you've created for a particular account in other POP accounts too. In such cases, you can use the option export/import filters in Zoho Mail to recreate the same condition and action settings for other accounts too.

Import Filter

  1. Login to Zoho Mail
  2. Click the Settings  icon.
  3. Go to Filters
  4. If you have multiple email accounts configured, select the required account.
  5. Click Import option given in the top left corner.
  6. Browse and select the '.dat' file containing the filter rules.
  7. Click Open after selecting the .dat filter rules file.
  8. The new filters will be created based on the rules specified in the file.
  9. If the folder structure mentioned in the rules file does not exist in the account, the folder structure will be created when the filter is imported.

Export Filter

  1. Login to Zoho Mail
  2. Click the Settings  icon.
  3. Go to Filters
  4. If you have multiple email accounts configured, select the required account.
  5. The filters associated with this account get listed on the screen.
  6. Choose Export option given in the top left corner.
  7. All the existing filters under that account will be exported as a .dat file.

If you want to export only certain filters, select the checkbox to the left of the respective filters. Now, click Export. The selected filters will be exported as a .dat file.

Delete Filter

To delete multiple filters in one go, select the checkbox to the left of the respective filter and click Delete option given in the top left corner.

To delete individual filters, hover over the respective filter and click the ‘Delete’ icon across the filter.

Smart Filters

In addition to the Filters that you generally create, Zoho Mail also provides the Smart Filters option. Smart Filters help you to classify emails automatically as Newsletters and Notifications. Further, there are Smart Filter Actions to create tasks directly from filters based on certain conditions.

Generally, the automated emails can be broadly classified as ‘Notifications’ and ‘Newsletters’. The Smart filters in Zoho Mail can automatically detect the Notifications and Newsletters, based on certain header information.

Learn more about Smart Filters here.

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