February 13, 2019

Forwarding to multiple addresses in Gmail

Reading time: 2 minutes

Gmail offers forwarding to one email at a time by default. Here’s how we got around it using forwarding addresses and filters.

A duotoned dark purple and beige version of the Apple email emoji (showing an 'E' on an envelope), in front of a bright green zig zag shape across the bottom

Producing Paradise is all about peering behind the magic curtain: we’re using this blog as a testing ground, and telling you how we make it work. I’m going to explain how we hacked our Gmail setup so we could share the main Producing Paradise email address, without having to log into a new account to check for new mail. Because who has time for that?

A free Gmail address suited us because we’re all familiar with the platform, and it means we can login from anywhere, on any device. It’s weareproducingparadise@gmail.com BTW, if you want to drop us a line 😉

We also didn’t need the email address to match our domain (like ‘hello@producingparadise.com’). This is a side hustle after all, and hosted email costs money.

So here’s what to do:

1. Create a Gmail account — the one you want to forward from
2. Log in and click the cog icon to get to the settings page
3. Go to ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ and click ‘Add a forwarding address’

Screenshot of Gmail Settings page on the 'Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab' showing the button to 'Add a forwarding address'

4. Add each of the forwarding addresses here — the ones you want to forward to
5. You’ll also need to verify each forwarding address before they can be used, to prove you own them
6. Once verified, go back to the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ page and make sure it looks like this:

Screenshot of Gmail Settings page on the 'Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab' showing the checkbox selected for 'Disable forwarding'

Noting:

  • Forwarding is disabled — because we’re going to make it work using ‘Filters’
  • POP and IMAP are disabled — because we don’t want anything we do in our personal email account to affect the original

7. Finally, go to ‘Filters and Blocked Addresses’ and click ‘Create a new filter’

8. Filters are a way to search through emails, but in this case we want the filter to apply to all emails, so we put “To: [main email address]” then “Create filter”

Screenshot of a Gmail filter creation form showing the 'To' field filled out with 'weareproducingparadise@gmail.com'

9. After that, you get to choose what happens to all filtered messages, so in this case: “Forward it” to the first forwarding address

Screenshot of the second step in Gmail filter creation, asking what to do with any email that is 'to:(weareproducingparadise@gmail.com)'

10. You’ll need to repeat this step and create a new filter for each of the forwarding addresses, until it looks something like this:

Screenshot of Gmail Settings page on the 'Filters and Blocked Addresses' tab saying 'The following filters are applied to all incoming mail:' then 'Matches: to:(weareproducingparadise@gmail.com) Do this: Forward to (Lilith's personal email address)'

Send an email to the original address to make sure it’s all doing what it’s supposed to.

The forwarded emails act as notifications, which can either be kept as a reminder of an action required (in your @Action folder, if you’re that way inclined) or deleted immediately (since they will still exist in the main Producing Paradise email account).

So far, this system is working for us! It took a bit of Googling and some annoying steps (like waiting for each person to verify their email address, since we weren’t altogether when setting it up) but now it’s in place we all get the Producing Paradise emails sent to our personal accounts so we’ll see them without having to log into a separate email account. And it made for another tidy little blog post, in the hope it may be helpful to someone in the future (…you, perhaps?).

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Jess Allison

Optimist. Traveller. Dreamer. Doer. Delivery Manager (ex Digital Producer). See what else I've written here.

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