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If I have multiple filters that match the same email do they all get processed? If so, in what order are they processed? What if the first filter matched modifies the email to make it match (or no longer match) a different filter?

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up vote 21 down vote accepted

I just tried it, and it seems that they happen in the order they are defined in the list:

If you have:

  1. Star email message from:foo
  2. Apply label to is:starred

... then it will apply the label to the message. If you reverse the order, it won't.

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The caveat is that when you have multiple filters that skip the inbox, filters are processed in order but each mail is subject to all the filters before it is processed. – brianbaligad Aug 28 '12 at 17:19

The only exception to bbodiens comment (I was just about to post almost exactly the same answer!!) is that one would expect a 'marked as read' and 'archived' message to essentially skip further filtering, but this is not the case.

To test this i set up two test filters, one that labels incoming mail with the subject 'testing' as test1 and archives it, and a second filter on 'testing' that labels test2.

The mail was archived AND labeled twice, so it appears that filters are concurrent.

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Bad test and incorrect conclusion -1 – Dan Rosenstark Nov 29 '10 at 20:58
I find that my filters are concurrent as well .. @Yar, can you explain how to avoid this? – farinspace Aug 19 '13 at 14:56
@farinspace isn't there a thing on the filters to "not process further filters" or something? – Dan Rosenstark Sep 18 '13 at 16:21
@Yar I would love to know where I can find that setting. – sxu Feb 20 '14 at 17:27
@sxu there's no way to do that, unfortunately, it turns out. The filters all apply, sequentially, unless something moves to the trash. – Dan Rosenstark Mar 17 '15 at 21:59

I have two filters, A and B, and two labels, A and B. If filter A is applicable to an email then I wanted label A to be applied to the email and for that email to skip the inbox and be archived.

I also want to do the same thing with filter B, but I don't want label B to be applied if label A has been applied.

It turns out this can be done.

  1. In filter B adjust the filter so it reads -label:[FilterA] AND [ rest of filter B ]. This will cause filter B to by bypassed if label A has been applied.

  2. Make sure filter B is listed AFTER filter A in the list. If this is not the case just open filter B and re-save it.

Note that Gmail may throw up a message about using "label" as a filter is not recommended because it cause the filter to not be applied to any incoming messages. I just ignored it, this seemed to work.

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Awesome, this is what I wanted to know! – Hiro2k Mar 20 at 9:51

Any and all GMail filter rules that match will run and do their thing.

I'm not sure it's possible to create rules that potentially conflict. The filter criteria available are:

  • From
  • To
  • Subject
  • Containing words
  • Doesn't contain words
  • Has attachment

You can't affect any of these with the filter actions that are available, so I don't see how one rule could run and then affect the message in a way that would stop it matching another filter that it would have previously matched.

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you can add a label to a message and have a filter which uses label:, see this question. – Senseful Jul 7 '10 at 22:25
See also my answer which shows an example of this. – Senseful Aug 3 '10 at 0:00

I ran into a funky bug where the order of filters made a difference:

Filter #1: Apply label "Foo" to mail from "foo-sender"

Filter #2: Apply label "Bar" to all mail EXCEPT for mail from "foo-sender".

If I fully specify the email address in the filter definition, including the domain ("foo-sender@domain.com"), then the order doesn't matter. But if I just give the username without the domain in the filter definition (just plain "foo-sender"), then both labels are incorrectly applied to mail from "foo-sender". It only works if I reverse the order of the filters.

I think this is just a bug, not a feature.

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From Gmail help:

Fun fact: these actions will take place in the order they're listed -- for example, you could choose to Forward matching messages to a specific email address, then Delete the messages.

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This "fun fact" is not about the order of multiple filters, but about the order of multiple actions within the same filter. It does appear that the filters are processed in the order listed, but the documentation does not say that. – ᴡᴏʀᴅs Aug 2 '15 at 17:26
-1. As @NormalHuman noted, this "answer" doesn't answer the question. – Rubén Aug 4 '15 at 2:26

If you have your filters set to be marked by labels an email will be label with all that match.

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I think these two filters in this order will cause the email to remain in the inbox:

if From foo@bar.com then Skip the Inbox. if From @bar.com then Never send it to Spam.

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Even though this answer is a bit off-topic, thanks for putting it here. I ran into this exact non-intuitive behavior. – dpb Dec 12 '14 at 18:16

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