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Why won't Gmail let us have folders? The Label/Filter/Skip the Inbox system does not work. 1 Recommended Answer 45 Replies 63 Upvotes
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Years ago I setup rules in Gmail to route mail directly into folders and not show up in my Inbox. It just worked. Apparently sometime when I wasn't paying attention Google dropped the folder structure and went to "Labels." 
I followed the Help Center instructions for creating labels and filters, this process seems to work the way I remember it. I checked the box for "Archive - Skip the Inbox" because there are various senders I don't want to see in my Inbox. I thought it wasn't working because nothing moved from my Inbox. After reading similar questions in the Community Help I found out that the filters only apply to new emails. What? Under the old folder structure I could, for example, search a particular sender and Move To the chosen folder. 
What is worse is that even the new emails coming in are not skipping the Inbox - they still show up there. 
I don't think I'm doing something wrong as the instructions are really straightforward, I think it is designed to "work" this way. I really don't want to go back to a Thunderbird or Outlook because I rely on Gmail's portability, but the user experience for such a simple thing has become incredibly frustrating.

Additional: I think that the first reply to my question "solved" my question, but I realized I had left some important information out. I had added a second email into my Gmail (my ISP account) and to be able to see both inboxes I had to look at All Mail. It will have to be a separate search or question for me to try to figure out if there's a way to view All Inboxes. 

Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful replies. 
Erik
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 I too remember having different "folders" I could have mail from specific senders go directly to. Now I cant, for the life of me, figure out how to have all of my incoming "Groupon" emails route directly to my "Groupon" "label" or "folder"
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Now I cant, for the life of me, figure out how to have all of my incoming "Groupon" emails route directly to my "Groupon" "label" or "folder"
 
The same way it's always worked.   Go to Settings->Filters, create a filter for messages from a particular sender, specify what label to put it in, and use the "skip the inbox" option.
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I understand Sharon's frustration with this. Folders and Labels/Tags are very different thngs. In computing we put Files into Folders. We can Tag Files with metadata to make them easier to find. 

From Google's Gmail Help: "You can create labels that store your emails. Add as many labels as you want to an email. 
Note: Labels are different from folders. If you delete a message, it will be erased from every label that it’s attached to and your entire inbox."

Confusing.
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Thanks Erik.
All I am trying to do is get emails from specific sender addresses to appear under a specific label (marked as unread), instead of in the inbox, spam or trash.
Any idea what filters I should use for it to work?
It works when i use "Skip Inbox and Apply Label" for one email but a different incoming email always ends up in the trash?
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