With the addition of circles to Gmail, I'd like to be able filter emails from members of various circles, ostensibly to apply a label to those emails. I know I can open a circle and see all the emails involving those contacts, but it's still multiple clicks from there to label those emails. I would much rather have Gmail do it automatically for me. How can I do this? Is it even possible yet?

  • 2
    You weren't able to filter based on a Contact group before, and it doesn't look like they've added it now that Circles are more-or-less groups. So, as of right now, the answer is: it's not possible.
    – ale
    Dec 9, 2011 at 18:48
  • 2
    The circle is the label. In the sidebar, click the down-arrow next to the circle name and select In message list: Show. Dec 9, 2011 at 18:48
  • Until it gets a little deeper integration, I'm won't be satisfied. Besides, there's more reasons than labeling to have filtering on circles (and contact groups for that matter).
    – MBraedley
    Dec 9, 2011 at 21:36

4 Answers 4


Currently this is not possible, but I am pretty sure it will be. The fact that Circles are even in your Gmail and Google Search Results (Search Plus Your World) represents Google aim to merge all into one single product. I would like to imagine what we are experiencing now is some sort of hybrid beta feature.

Based on the current setup


I would like to assume that hopefully in the future that we should be seeing something like

circle:circlename available in search and the filters


According to Google Help circle:circlename is now available as a search operator and can be used in filters.

  • 1
    For me, if I click on a circle in the sidebar, it will show, e.g., circle:friends in the search box and return the correct conversations; BUT if I type circle:friends in the searchbox, or any other circle, it returns 0 results! Bug!
    – d0g
    Jun 8, 2013 at 0:54
  • I found what @Ze'ev said to still be true, but if I clicked on the circle to reach the correct view, then I could use the dropdown to create a filter with that, no problem. Nov 25, 2014 at 23:23
  • great option is also has:circle
    – Kyborek
    May 17, 2016 at 12:52

The trick is that you need to use the "includes these words" input box for the circle filter. Full directions below, or skip to #4 if you are at the filter creation popup screen.

  1. Go to the Gmail 'Settings' menu
  2. Click the "Filters and Blocked Addresses Tab"
  3. Scroll to the bottom and click "Create a new filter"
  4. In the "includes these words" box, put in the value "circle: YourCirleNameHere". Note that this appears to be case sensitive.

From there you can fill in the rest of the filter settings to label or do whatever action you want with the circle's messages


First of all select the circle you want the person in. Then select any of the mail of that person and filter messages which have come from that person. After that create a filter and check "Skip the Inbox" and "Also apply filter to matching conversations." This will send all emails from that person into that circle and from the next time any mail from that person will skip the inbox and go directly into that circle.

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