Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

What may be happening is that the email gets sent and then the mailing list turns around and sends it back to you - so it shows up in your inbox again.

I'm getting double copies of some mails in my inbox. Mails to another result simply and correctly with the message in the Sent folder. However, I have various groups where I choose to be one of the group so any "reply alls" or other examination of the list include me as a member. Whenever I use such a list, I get two copies in my inbox as well as the sent copy. Cause and cure?

In this excerpt from Answercast #69, I look at reasons that could be causing Gmail to display double messages from a list membership.

Double emails

Well, the cause is I think relatively simple.

It is certainly possible that you could be on that mailing list, on that group, twice. That certainly is something that's easy to check for. Make sure that your email address is actually on that mailing list or on that group exactly and only once.

Double emails in Gmail

More than likely though, I suspect something else. Now, I believe that you are coming to me, yes, from a Gmail address. So, here's what could potentially be happening.

When you send an email using Gmail, it actually puts the sent mail into your Sent mail folder; and it may also show up in your Inbox as a new mail. That's simply on the act of sending the message. You haven't even received it yet; it's only been sent.

I see this periodically when I send things to various email lists. I don't know if it's intentional, but the fact is, emails will sometimes show up in my inbox if I'm replying to a group list when I hit Send.

Now, what then may happen is that the email gets sent, goes out to wherever the mailing list is handled, and the mailing list then turns around and sends it back to you - so it shows up in your inbox again. Now, in my experience, Gmail is very good about reconciling those two. In other words, I don't get two copies; but exactly how it does that is unclear. The fact is that the copy that you sent and the copy that you then receive (by virtue of being on the email list) should be for all intents and purposes the same.

I won't say that they're identical because the headers will change. The headers on the email that you sent out will not include all of the additional headers that get placed in the normal processing of that email as it goes to the mailing list and back to you.

So, that's the only thing I can think of that's happening. Somehow, there's enough of a difference that's added by the email processing software (the mailing list that you're sending to) that allows Google to miss the fact that what you just sent is in fact what you just received from the mailing list you sent it to.

So, I hope that makes a little bit of sense. In other words, what you're seeing is your outgoing copy first and then later your incoming copy by virtue of being on that mailing list.

Stop duplicate emails

What to do about it? Well, in my case, I'd be really tempted to simply live with it. It's easy enough to delete things.

If you feel strongly that this an annoyance you want to get rid of, I would look into setting up an inbox rule using a filter in Gmail. That would allow you to somehow identify the mail that's going out and then automatically delete it - so that the only one that's left is the final copy as it was sent to the entire mailing list.

That's the best explanation I can come up with. It's what it sounds like. It's what came to mind to me as you described what's going on here. I don't really have a great solution for making it go away, but fortunately, aside from a double message in your inbox that's easy to delete, it's relatively benign.

Article C6016 - November 11, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Peter B
November 13, 2012 1:29 PM

Another possibility (since you are in more than one group) is if you send to 2 of the groups you are in (or even include one of these groups within another). When you send to these, you will receive 2 copies. I get this at work regularly.

Vanya Marin
November 13, 2012 4:12 PM

Another possibility - i figured this thing happening to me with my gmail account when sending from iPad....
Turns out that iPad's e-mail program, by default, sends every email to recepient's address and to your own, but yours is unnoticable while sending mail - it is hidden in, again, hidden Bcc: line....
It can be turned off in settings, though...
Maybe there's something like that going on with you, if you - like many ppl, use third party e-mail program for your gmail account...

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.