How do I automatically forward Gmail emails to another email account?

How do I automatically forward Gmail emails to another email account? cover image
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Unlike other popular web based email services, Gmail lets you forward emails to another account. Why would you want to do that? Maybe you find checking different web based accounts cumbersome or maybe you want to collect all your emails at one place.

In any case, forwarding emails from Gmail to another account is a very simple affair. Once you set this up, your incoming Gmail emails will automatically be sent to the other account and you can choose to keep a copy of the original, completely delete it or archive it. Furthermore, instead of forwarding all incoming emails, you can create filters that will dispatch only the messages that “fit-the-bill”, as it were.

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But we delve into this a little deeper; I would like you to know of the option of downloading Gmail emails – a better alternative to forwarding for many people. And the best way to do this is to use an email client such as Windows Live mail or the popular Outlook Express. However, the big difference between the two – forwarding and download – is that the latter requires you to access the computer on which you’ve installed and configured the email program. What if you’re on a holiday and chose (intentionally or unintentionally) to leave you old faithful system behind? Anyway, my job was to tell you of the assorted methods you have at your disposal; your choice will obviously be dictated by your needs and requirements.

Setting up the Gmail forward options

Log in to your Gmail account and then click on the Settings link near the top right. Go to the Forwarding and POP / IMAP tab and in the first (Forwarding) section, click on the “Forward a copy of incoming mail to …” radio button. Now enter the email account address at which you would like to receive all the forwarded Gmail email messages – refer image below.

Gmail email forwarding options

From the drop down menu, you can choose to retain, delete or archive the original Gmail email message.

Gmail email forwarding drop down selection

And the options don’t end here – with Gmail filters, you can select (automatically, of course) and forward emails from Gmail to the other email account. Cool!

Forwarding email messages from Gmail account using filters

The simple steps detailed above will forward ALL incoming emails from your Gmail account to the email address you specify with the preference of keeping, deleting or archiving the original. However, Gmail provides more powerful and advanced forwarding options by the use of filters.

Under the Filters tab of Gmail settings, click on the Create a new filter link – refer image below.

Gmail filters tab under the account settings

Gmail now provides you six options for searching your email and these will govern which emails will be forwarded.

The six options for searching emails and creating a filter in Gmail

For instance, if I want all emails from my friend Jonathan to be forwarded, I need to simply enter jonathan in the From: text field. You are also conveniently provided a Test Search button to verify your search criteria.

Once you enter or select your criteria for the Gmail filter, click on the Test Search button to see how it works

When you’ve tested the filter (using Test Search), click on the Next Step >> button.

As you can see, in addition to forwarding, Gmail filters can be used for a variety of purposes like applying labels, adding a star to the message, deleting etc. To forward the filtered email messages, check the Forward it to: checkbox and enter an email address – refer image below.

Select the forwarding action, enter an email address and hit the Create Filter button

To complete the process, click on the Create Filter button. FYI, your filter can be used not only on new incoming emails messages to your Gmail account but also the ones lying in your inbox. So if you want older messages to be forwarded too, put a check mark in the Also apply filter to [X] conversations below box.

Forward emails or configure Gmail account in email clients?

I received an interesting question the other day –“Should one forward Gmail emails to another address or configure Gmail account in an email client?”

Well, the answer depends on what you want to do with the email messages. For instance, if you want to collect and store emails on your computer, configure your Gmail account in your favourite email client – refer Gmail configuration in Outlook Express or setup and configure Gmail on Windows Live Mail for step by step instructions. Also, I suppose, setting up Gmail account separately on the email program is better than having Gmail emails forward to an account that is already configured in that email program.

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