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Labels (like folders)

Instead of organizing messages in folders, you can organize your Gmail conversations by applying labels. The conversation remains in your Inbox with the label clearly shown. You can list all conversations associated with a label, similar to opening a folder of messages. But unlike with folders, you can view all conversations in your Inbox at once.

If you have more than 100 labels, either because you created them or they appeared after migrating from another email system, you may find that your Gmail experience is slower. We suggest removing the labels that you might not be using anymore (this action won't delete the messages that were assigned those labels).

Use labels to categorize your messages. Labels are like folders, but with a twist: You can apply multiple labels to message, so you can "store" a single copy of a message in multiple labels. You can also:

  • Open a label on the left side of your Mail window to see all messages with that label
  • Search for all messages with a label
  • See labels on your messages in your Inbox, so you can quickly identify different types of messages
Make your labels easy to identify by applying different colors to them.

To create a label:

1. Click the Labels drop-down menu and choose Manage labels:

Tip: Alternatively, you can click Settings > Labels.

2. Under Labels, in the Create a new label field, type the name of your new label, and then click Create:

To change the color of a label:

1. In your Labels list on the left, click the square to the left of a label. For example:

2. Select a color from the palette that appears. The change is instantly applied to all messages with that label:

You can remove a color by clicking Remove color below the color palette.

Tip: Not enough colors? Try the Custom Label Colors feature in Gmail Labs (available if your Google Apps administrator has enabled labs for your domain). In the upper-right corner of your Mail window, click Settings > Labs.

To apply a label to a message:

1. Select the check box next to the messages you want to label, and then select the label name from the Labels drop-down menu. (Note that you can select more than one label.)

2. Click Apply.

Tip: If you want to move the messages out of your Inbox at the same time you apply a label to them, select the messages, and then select a label in the Move to drop-down menu.

Or, just click and hold in the gray area to the left of the message...

...and drag it to a label's name:

To move labeled messages out of your Inbox:

1. Select one or more labeled messages in your Inbox.
2. Click Archive.

To view a labeled message you archived, just click the label on the left.