The Gmail Logo.

Did you know you can customize your Gmail address and make it easier to read? It can also help you track who sends you messages. We’ll walk you through the process.

Add Periods to Your Email Address

You can place a period (.) between any of the characters in your email address username. Gmail doesn’t acknowledge it as a character in the username; it completely ignores it.

It can be helpful to use this character in long, multiple-word email addresses. It separates the string of characters and makes the address easier to read.

For example, if your email is firstnamelastname@gmail.com, you can type it as firstname.lastname@gmail.com, and Gmail still sees it as the original address. If you want, you can also type, f.i.r.s.t.n.a.m.e.l.a.s.t.n.a.m.e@gmail.com, but that’s a bit excessive.

Do keep in mind, though, you can’t type a period at the beginning or end of your username, or use them consecutively.

Append with a Plus Sign

You can also use a plus sign (+) sign to append any number of words or numbers to the end of your username. Just like the period, Gmail ignores the plus sign and anything that follows it so you can customize and create an endless supply of email addresses.

This trick is especially great for newsletters and websites that require an email address to sign up because you can add the site name to help organize your inbox.

For example, if you wanted to sign up for the How-To Geek newsletter, firstname@gmail.com turns into firstname+howtogeek@gmail.com. The newsletter still comes to your inbox as it normally would, but it appears to have been sent to “firstname+howtogeek@gmail.com.”

You can also use the plus sign between multiple words like this: firstname+how+to+geek+newsletter@gmail.com.

You might want to use the plus sign in your address if you suspect an organization might sell your information. Because this trick puts the name of the company you signed up with after your username, you’ll know where any spam email is coming from if it contains that keyword.

Organize Your Inbox with Custom Email Addresses

Now comes the fun part—organizing your inbox with the custom emails you used to sign up for different newsletters or subscriptions. Really, all you’re doing is setting up a filter that looks for the custom email, and then puts a label on it so you can find it easier.

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Fire up your browser, head to your Gmail inbox, click the Settings gear, and then click “Settings.”

Click the Settings gear, and then click "Settings."

Next, click “Filters and Blocked Addresses,” and then select “Create a New Filter.”

Click "Filters and Blocked Addresses," and then click "Create a New Filter."

Type your customized email address in the “To” section, and then click “Create Filter” to proceed.

Type your email address in the "To" section, and then click "Create Filter."

Click the checkbox next to “Apply the Label,” click “Choose Label,” and then select “New Label” from the drop-down menu.

Click the checkbox next to "Apply the Label," click "Choose Label," and then select "New Label."

Type a name for your label, and then click “Create.”

Type a name for your label, and then click "Create."

The label you type here will help you differentiate it from the other emails in your inbox. You can view all of the labeled emails in the side panel of your inbox.

The side panel in Gmail.

Finally, add any other filters you want to apply, and then click “Create Filter.”

Click the checkbox next to any other filters you want to apply, and then click "Create Filter."

Any filters you apply to incoming emails are displayed here. To edit or delete a filter, click the appropriate link beside it.

Click "Edit" or "Delete" next to a filter.


Now, you can create a filter for each of your custom email addresses, so your email will be automatically labeled, archived, deleted, etc., according to your selections.

Brady Gavin Brady Gavin
Brady Gavin has been immersed in technology for 15 years and has written over 150 detailed tutorials and explainers. He's covered everything from Windows 10 registry hacks to Chrome browser tips. Brady has a diploma in Computer Science from Camosun College in Victoria, BC.  
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