How to Set Up Email Forwarding in Gmail

Graphic: Set up forwarding in Gmail.

There are a lot of reasons to forward emails from your Gmail account somewhere else. Maybe you started using a new email address or maybe you have a backup account that you forward emails from every account to.

Whatever the case, setting up email forwarding in Gmail isn’t very difficult if you follow the steps below.

Setting up Forwarding

1. Log in to Gmail.

2. Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of your inbox and select Settings.

3. Click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

4. Click Add a forwarding address.

Add a forwarding address button.

5. Enter the new email address you want these messages to forward to and click Next.

6. You’ll see a verification screen with the email address you just entered. Double-check this and click Proceed when you’re sure you typed it correctly.

Verification screen.

7. Gmail will send a confirmation email to the email address you entered before it will forward any messages for you. This is to make sure you entered the address correctly and that you indeed have ownership of the new email address.

When you receive the confirmation email, click the link included in it to complete the forwarding process. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the confirmation code from the email into the Forwarding section in your Gmail settings.

Confirmation link in email.

8. Once you’ve confirmed the forwarding process, you need to turn forwarding on (back on Gmail’s Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab) by choosing the Forward a copy of incoming mail… radio button.

Forwarding radio button.

Now that you’ve turned on forwarding there are some settings you can adjust.

Adjusting your forwarding settings

Here are the main forwarding settings and when to use them:

Keeping Things The Same — The first important setting you need to adjust is to tell Gmail what happens once it forwards a message. If you still plan on sending and receiving from this email account then you probably want to keep Gmail’s copy in the Inbox. This basically means that Gmail will forward emails while keeping the original untouched.

Backup Emails — If you are forwarding emails from this account and plan never to send or receive from it again — but you still want a backup version saved — you can choose to mark Gmail’s copy as read, which will leave it in the inbox, but marked as read, or to archive Gmail’s copy, which will move the forwarded messages to the All Mail folder in Gmail.

Never Turn Back — Finally, if you don’t want a record of these emails at all in this account you can choose to delete Gmail’s Copy. This means that just like a POP account, when Gmail forwards the email it will be removed from the server. This is the best option if you never plan on coming back to this account again.

Forwarding settings drop-down menu.

Once you’re done, make sure to click Save Changes at the bottom of the screen. You need to do this before going to any other tabs or else everything you just did will be lost.

You can change settings any time

All of these forwarding settings can be changed at any time, so if you decide you don’t want to use your new address and you want to come back to this one, you can do so easily.

If you’d rather only forward emails from specific people or with specific subject lines, you can set this up with a new filter, too. Once you know how to forward emails you can start using services like IFTTT or Evernote alongside your email and supercharge how you work.

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