How to Create a Gmail Alias

Use additional names for your Gmail account

Gmail is the most widely used free email service available on the web. It's easy to use, has a clear layout, and comes with range of useful features. One of these features is the ability to create aliases for your Gmail address. Although it's not widely known that you can do this, it's very convenient for people who want to use more than one address without having to actually use more than one account.

There are, in fact, two ways of creating a Gmail alias, and this guide covers both of them. The first—the "temporary" method—involves always using your main email address, but adding one or more special characters. This creates what looks like a new email address that Gmail recognizes as your original address.

The other, "permanent" method involves changing your Gmail settings so that you actually direct mail that's been sent to another address to your primary Gmail address, too.

Creating a filter for your alias

How to Temporarily Add an Alias to Gmail

When signing up with a new website or online service, simply insert a period somewhere in your normal Gmail address. If your address is, say, "johndoe@gmail.com", typing "john.doe@gmail.com" creates an instant alias. You can insert the period anywhere you like, and you can insert as many as you like. For example, "j.o.h.n.d.o.e@gmail.com" works just fine.

As strange as such aliases look to the casual observer, Gmail treats them as identical to your original address. Anything sent to "j.o.h.n.d.o.e@gmail.com" will actually be sent to “johndoe@gmail.com."

You also can create a temporary alias using a plus sign to the end of the address. For example, "johndoe+@gmail.com" is a temporary alias, although "john+doe@gmail" isn't (messages sent to such an address will fail). You can type any gobbledegook after the plus sign, such as "johndoe+fsnsfsfwwgnj@gmail.com," and mail sent to this still goes to your address.

Of course, you might wonder what the point of this is. One useful trick involving temporary aliases is to create filters that put emails sent to, say, "john.doe@gmail.com" in a folder other than your inbox. This way, you can prevent your inbox from buckling under the weight of too many promotional emails.

To create a filter for a temporary alias:

  1. Open your Gmail account by navigating to mail.google.com.

  2. Click the triangular Search options icon on the right-hand side of the search bar.

    Search options icon in Gmail
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears, type the temporary alias' address into the To field.

  4. Click Create filter.

    Create filter in Gmail
  5. Scroll down and select the Choose category dropdown submenu.

  6. Click the category to which you'd like the emails to be sent, such as Promotions.

    Choose filter category in Gmail
  7. Click Create filter.

    Create filter button in Gmail

How to Permanently Add an Alias to Gmail

The other way of creating a Gmail alias is a little different, but it's useful if you already have multiple email addresses and would like a time-saving way of checking all your mail in one place.

In this example, suppose you have two email addresses, "johndoe@gmail.com" and "janedoe@gmail.com." Here's how to add the latter as a permanent alias of the former, so that mail sent to "janedoe@gmail.com" is also sent to "johndoe@gmail.com."

Adding another email address
  1. In Gmail, click the Settings cogwheel in the top-right corner of the screen.

    Gmail Settings button
  2. Click See all settings.

    See all settings in Gmail
  3. Click the Accounts and Import tab.

    Gmail Accounts and Import tab
  4. Scroll down to the Check mail from other accounts subsection, and click Add a mail account.

    Add a mail account to check in Gmail
  5. Enter the email address you'd like to add as an alias (e.g. "janedoe@gmail.com").

    Add a mail account to check in Gmail
  6. Click Next.

  7. Click Next.

  8. Enter the password for the address you'd like to add (this is the password you use to login to that address and its account).

  9. Click Add Account.

This enables you to view mail sent to the alias address. Continue with the following steps to enable sending of mail from the alias address using your original Gmail account.

  1. Ensure that Yes, I want to be able to send mail as janedoe@gmail.com checkbox is checked (it usually is, but click it if it isn't).

  2. Click Next.

  3. Ensure that Treat as an alias checkbox is checked (although it usually is).

  4. Click Next Step.

  5. Click Send Verification.

  6. Log into the email account you'd like to add as a permanent alias.

  7. Open the email sent from the Gmail Team regarding confirmation of the alias. The subject heading will be something like "Gmail Confirmation — Send Mail as janedoe@gmail.com."

  8. Click the verification link enclosed in the email to complete the adding-an-alias process.

  9. Click Confirm.

Once you've done this, you'll then be able to specify who your emails are from when writing them. This field will be visible at the top of your draft emails, above the To field.