I’ve collected a pretty long list of email addresses over the years. There are the two or three I created as a teenager, with usernames like email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, and the other accounts I created as I outgrew my old usernames or found a new email service to try. While I’m happy to let most of those go, I still get important messages that I don’t want to miss in some of my less-used accounts. I’m just not up to checking four or five email addresses throughout the day, though. It’s not the work of keeping up with so many logins, it’s that I’ll forget to check them at all for days on end.
The solution, then, is to create a single, unified inbox that collects all of my emails in one place. All of my emails flow into one inbox, and I can respond using any email address. Creating a unified inbox that collects all of your emails isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and I’ll show you how to make it happen.
Use Gmail to Forward Email
Log into the Gmail account from which you’d like to forward email. In practice, this would be a secondary email account that you use less. All of the email from this account will be funnelled into another email account, likely your primary account checked much more frequently. In this tutorial, I’m forwarding email from one Gmail account to another, but Gmail can forward to any email service.
In the secondary Gmail account, click the gear icon to the right and select Settings.
Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab and locate the Forwarding settings.
Click Add a Forwarding Address, and enter your primary email address. Click Proceed to continue.
Gmail will send a verification email to the primary email address entered.
Tip: If your primary email address is also a Gmail account, log in by clicking the user image in the top right of the Gmail window and choosing Add Account. Connecting the two accounts in this way will allow you to quickly switch back and forth between accounts during the confirmation process without logging in or out.
In the confirmation email, you’ll find a confirmation code and confirmation link. Enter the confirmation code in the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab in the secondary Gmail account, or click the confirmation link in the email. The secondary Gmail account is now forwarding to the primary email address.
Send Email as Another Account
That’s great, but what would make this really run smoothly is if email sent from a Gmail address could appear as if it’s coming from another email account. I’ll show you how to send email from other email providers in Gmail.
In Gmail, click the gear icon to the right and select Settings. Choose the Accounts and Imports tab.
Within Send Mail As, click Add Another Email Address You Own.
Enter the secondary email address. You may also edit the displayed name and specify a different reply-to address.
When prompted by Gmail, send the verification message to the secondary email address. In the verification email, you’ll find a confirmation code and confirmation link.
Enter the confirmation code in the Verification window in Gmail, or click the confirmation link in the email.
The Gmail account may now send email as the secondary email account. Repeat the process for all of the email addresses you’d like to use in Gmail.
When complete, there will be a new From dropdown in the Compose New Message window. Repeat this process for as many email addresses as you own.
Set a Default Send Mail As Address
While you can select from which address you’d like to send email in the Compose New Message window, it may happen that you more often want to send email from your Outlook or Yahoo email addresses than from your Gmail email address.
In that case, it makes sense to set another email address as the default Send Mail As address in Gmail.
Again, click the gear icon to the right of the Gmail window and select Settings. Choose the Accounts and Imports tab. Displayed here are all of the email addresses with which you can send email within Gmail.
Click Make Default next to the email address you will use most often to send email.
Next time you compose a new email, the default Send Mail As address will be automatically selected in the From field.
Organize Email Sent to Different Addresses
In an inbox of thirty messages, it may not be obvious what’s important and what isn’t, which emails were sent to each address. Gmail filters and labels can help keep all of those different email addresses straight in your inbox.
Click the gear icon to the right of the Gmail window and select Settings. This time, select the Filters tab.
Select Create a New Filter at the bottom of the window.
There are many options for your filter, but for this tutorial, you only need to complete one of the fields. In the To field, enter a secondary email address that is being forwarded to your primary Gmail account. Click Create Filter With This Search.
Gmail can do a lot with a filtered message, and it’s best if you decide how you want to receive your forwarded messages yourself. Would you like them all marked as read and archived, or should they be starred as important?
I’m going to allow Gmail to handle the forwarded messages as usual, but I want to add a label so I know to which account the message was sent. Click the Apply the Label checkbox and choose a label from the list.
If you haven’t created a label to handle forwarded messages from the secondary email address yet, select New Label.
Enter a name for your label and click Create.
If any previously received messages meet the filter’s criteria, you may also apply the filter to those messages, too.
Click Create Filter when you’re done. All messages addressed to the secondary email address will receive the new label.
While it may seem like you have to abandon old email accounts or schedule time to check various accounts still in use, with a little effort, you can get all of your email in one Gmail inbox. If you have any trouble combining your email accounts in Gmail, be sure to leave a comment below and we'll help you figure out how to get it working.