Techie Tip of the Week: Creating Email Aliases Using the + Key

Many email providers, including Stanford, Gmail, and Hotmail, allow you to use an email address by simply adding a + sign at the end of your username and then adding text before the @ symbol.

For example, if your email address is jdoe@stanford.edu, you could use the alias jdoe+test@stanford.edu.

Regardless of the letters or numbers you put at the end of the + sign, the email will be sent to your Stanford email address (or Gmail or Hotmail, if you use those email providers).

So why would you use this?

Suppose you’re a professor in the Psychology department. You teach classes in psych1, psych2, and psych3. You could tell your students that your email address is:

  • jdoe+psych1@stanford.edu for the students in Psych1
  • jdoe+psych2@stanford.edu for the students in Psych2
  • jdoe+psych3@stanford.edu for the students in Psych3

Then, using email filters (rules), you could divert email sent to jdoe+psych1@stanford.edu to a folder or tag named psych1.

Or, you could use the email address jdoe+banking@stanford.edu when you sign up at banking sites, jdoe+socialmedia@stanford.edu when you sign up for social media sites, etc.

Best part? You don’t need to sign up for anything to use this service — you can just go ahead and use it!

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