Using Labels (Not Folders)

Gmail doesn’t use folders like GroupWise or Outlook, instead you have Labels. This allows you to categorize your email. Labels are like folders, but with a twist- you can apply several labels to an email then later find the email by clicking any of its labels from the left panel.

You can keep the emails in your inbox with a label or you can move emails in to a label, just like moving emails into folders.

You can also:

  • Open a label in the left sidebar to see all emails with that label.
  • Nest labels within labels. 
  • Search for all email with a label.
  • Customize labels with colours to easily identify an email.
  • See labels on email in your inbox to easily identify an email.
  • Use labels like email rules and move emails automatically.

The steps below will go through setting up Labels and how to use them, there is also a video at the bottom of this page that will go through the process too.

Create Labels

There are two methods to create or manage labels in Gmail, both can be seen below:

Create a label:

  1. In the top right, click Settings Settings.
  2. Click the Labels tab.
  3. Scroll to the Labels section and click Create new label.
  4. Enter the label name and click Create.
  5. You can also create nested labels, which are like subfolders

Add a color to a label:

  1. In the left panel, point to a label and click More.
  2. Point to Label color and choose a color. Or, click Add custom color.
  3. The change instantly applies to all email with that label.
  4. (Optional) To remove a label color, point to Label color and click Remove color.
  5. (Optional) To see all email with a particular label, in the left panel, click the label’s name.

Create a label from an email:

  1. From an email, click Labels Create new.
  2. Enter the label name and click Create.
  3. (Optional) Click Nest label under and choose an existing label to place it under.
  4. The new label automatically applies to your email.

Apply & Move Labels

Apply a label to an email.

  1. In your Inbox, tick the boxes next to the email you want to apply a label to.
  2. Click the Labels icon.
  3. Tick the boxes next to the labels you want to add and click Apply.

Alternatively, with an email open click the Labels icon and select the labels, then click Apply.

Move email out of your inbox to labels the same way you did with folders.

  1. In your inbox, tick the boxes next to the email you want to move into a label.
  2. Click Move to, indicated by a folder icon with an arrow inside.
  3. Click the label you want to move your email to.