Home » Setting Up Gmail Filters to Forward All Mail Except a Specific Address

Setting Up Gmail Filters to Forward All Mail Except a Specific Address

Setting up filters in Gmail can be a real game-changer, especially when you want to organize your emails efficiently. However, recreating a filter after accidentally deleting it can be a tricky task, especially when dealing with specific conditions like forwarding all mail except those sent to a particular address. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to achieve this, even if the syntax seems a bit elusive.

1. Understanding the Old Filter

Begin by analyzing the old filter you had, focusing on the syntax it used. In your case, it seems to be “Matches: -{listname@example.com} Do this: Forward to otheraccount@gmail.com.” Understanding this structure is crucial for recreating the filter successfully.

2. Navigating to Gmail Settings

Access your Gmail account and locate the settings option. It’s usually represented by a gear icon. Click on it to open the settings menu.

3. Finding Filters and Blocked Addresses

Within the settings menu, navigate to the “See all settings” option. Look for “Filters and Blocked Addresses.” This is where you’ll be managing your email filters.

4. Creating a New Filter

Click on “Create a new filter” to start the process. This will open a form where you can define the conditions for your filter.

5. Utilizing the Right Syntax

Since your old filter used a different syntax, make sure to utilize the correct one. In your case, it’s “-to:address.” This tells Gmail to match all emails except those sent to the specified address.

6. Testing with Minuses

Experiment with using minuses in the “to:” field. Based on your information, you’ve tried “-address” and “-to:address.” Keep testing until you find the right combination that matches your old filter’s behavior.

7. Security Code Hassle

If the process involves getting a security code each time, ensure you have access to your mobile device. This added layer of security is there to protect your account, so be patient through this step.

8. Verifying the Summary

After creating the filter, check the summary to confirm that it aligns with your old filter’s structure. The summary should read something like “Matches: -to:address Do this: Forward to otheraccount@gmail.com.”


Congratulations! You’ve successfully recreated the filter to forward all mail except that sent to a certain address. Managing Gmail filters might seem tedious, but with the right syntax and a bit of patience, you can regain control over your email organization.


  1. Can I set up multiple filters in Gmail?
    • Absolutely! Gmail allows you to create multiple filters to cater to different conditions and criteria.
  2. What should I do if the filter still doesn’t work?
    • Double-check the syntax and ensure that you haven’t missed any steps. If issues persist, consider reaching out to Gmail support for assistance.
  3. Is it possible to forward emails to multiple addresses with one filter?
    • Gmail filters currently support forwarding to a single address. To forward to multiple addresses, create separate filters.
  4. Can I edit a filter once it’s created?
    • Yes, you can edit filters. Simply go to the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” section, locate the filter, and click on “edit.”
  5. Why does Gmail require a security code during the filter creation process?
    • The security code is an added layer of protection to ensure that only authorized users can make changes to email filters. It enhances the security of your Gmail account.
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