Instead of folders, Gmail uses labels, which are similar to folders but with distinct differences.
- You can apply more than one label to any given message.
- Messages with more than one label will appear under all labels.
- You can search for messages by label.
View a video about Gmail Labels (Part 1, Basics):
Gmail Labels (Part 2, Labels' extended functionality);
For best mail performance, try to limit your total number of labels to under 500. For a full explanation of labels, see Gmail’s introduction to labels. Note that any given message can have more than one label. Messages in the inbox have an inbox label, which is why they appear in the inbox. When you add a label, the inbox label is retained so that you will be able to find it in under multiple labels. The inbox label remains unless you choose to remove it (so that the message appears in two places).
To create a new label:
- Go to the gear icon and select Settings.
- Go to the Labels tab and choose Create New Label.
- Enter the name of the Label, and choose a label to nest it under if applicable.
- Click Create.
In this part of settings, you can also edit, remove, and show/hide existing labels.
To add a label to a message or messages:
- Select the message or messages you want to label (click the checkbox to the left of each message). If there is only one message you can check that box or simply view that message.
- A menu will be displayed above the inbox. Click on the Label icon.
- Select the label or labels you want to apply by checking the checkbox.
- Choose Apply.
When you add a label, your message remains in the inbox but now it also has the additional label that you have applied (note that it has an Inbox label). To move a message (so that it appears only under the label and not in the inbox), you want to move that message.
Tip: You can also drag a label to a message and vice versa. Just click and drag. Tip: You can also drag a label to a message and vice versa. Just click and drag.
To move a message to a label and remove it from the inbox (so that it appears only under the label you designate):
1. Select the message or messages you want to label (click the checkbox to the left of each message). If there is only one message you can check that box or simply view that message.
2. A menu will be displayed above the inbox. Click on the Folder icon .
3. Select the folder you want and click on it. The message will be removed from the inbox and will appear under the label you specify.
To manage labels:
Go to the dropdown menu under the Label iconor under the Gear icon select Settings and then Labels. Both methods take you to the same screen. Here you can:
- create new labels
- show or hide system or user-created labels (a toggle)
- edit labels
To make changes to a particular label:
- Go to the labels listed along the left-hand side of the screen.
- Click the dropdown button/triangle:
The dropdown button will reveal the menu shown below. Note that color coding labels is an option that does not appear elsewhere.