Gmail Doesn't Forward Sent Mail

By Josh Fredman

Gmail saves all your outgoing email in the
i Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

As of 2013, Google's Web-based email client Gmail does not provide a built-in way for you to forward sent email automatically. This doesn't mean you can't do it, however. You have a number of workarounds to choose from depending on your needs, though none of them is as simple as built-in automatic forwarding would be.

Manual BCC

Forwarding a message is just a special case of sending it. While you can't simultaneously forward a message when you send it, what you can do is add the forwardee to your list of recipients. For privacy or aesthetics, you can do this on the blind carbon copy line so that no other recipients will see it. Gmail offers an auto-complete feature, so although this isn't the same as full automation at least you only have to type a couple of characters into the BCC field for Gmail to figure out who you mean. If you want to forward to multiple people you can save yourself work by creating a mailing list for them and then BCCing that list. Also note that, if you simply want to forward messages back to your sender's account, Gmail already keeps permanent copies of your outgoing email in "Sent Messages."

Third-party Automatic BCC

While Gmail doesn't provide a native solution for automatically copying someone when you send a message, a number of third-party applications do. Most of them use Web browser extensions, meaning they may only work on some browsers, so check for compatibility with your browser before installing. Applications of this type include Gmail Auto BCC, BCC Me for Gmail and Auto BCC Gmail.

Using POP3

If you need to forward sent mail as a way of checking the outgoing messages of somebody like a child or employee, and if you have access to their Gmail account, then you can do this with minimal work by using POP3. POP3 stands for "Post Office Protocol," version 3. It's a way of downloading Gmail messages to your local computer so that you can use them in a local email client like Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook. All you have to do is go to the Gmail account's settings panel, click on "Forwarding and POP/IMAP," enable POP, and configure your local email client to download the messages. You only have to do this once, and thereafter you can check all outgoing and incoming mail.

Filters Won't Work

Gmail's own filters -- the most intuitive solution -- won't work. For example, you can't create a filter to forward outgoing messages. You can't create a filter to label outgoing messages and then create another filter to forward labeled ones. You also can't create a filter to search for messages from you and forward them. In fact, no filter-based solution works, because the Gmail filter only allows forwarding on incoming messages and not outgoing ones.