How do I use labels in Google Mail?

2014-05-19 19:29

Understanding Labels

Labels in Google Apps are similar to folders in other e-mail systems, but they give you an extra bonus: you can add more than one label to a conversation. Conceptually, consider that all of your messages are “floating” in one giant repository, and that you apply labels to them so that you can view them in categories similar to opening a folder. Even the “Inbox” is really just a label – not an actual place. Archiving a message essentially strips off the Inbox of the label. If your message has no other labels associated with it, the only way to find it will be to search or to click “All Mail.”

The labels that come standard with Google mail include Inbox, Drafts, Sent Mail, Spam, and Trash. Those labels – plus any that you have created yourself – will appear to the left of the screen. If you have more than a few, you will need to click the “More” link at the left to display them.

Click on the label from the list to display the messages that have that label associated with them. Remember that, since multiple labels are possible, applying a label will not necessarily remove the message from your Inbox.

Creating Labels

You can create your own labels as follows:

  1. Click the “Labels” drop-down menu above the message body from within a message. It may look like a price tag.
  2. Select “Create new.” If you want the label to be a sub-label under an existing one, select that one from the drop-down list.
  3. Type the name of your new label and click “Ok.”

Applying Labels to Messages

To add a label to a message, there are two primary ways:

  • Using the “Labels” button (looks like a price tab) or,
  • Using the “Move to” button (looks like a folder).

The difference between these two methods is that the Labels button will allow you to add a label to a message but will not strip off the Inbox label, so the message will remain in your Inbox but also be visible by clicking on the label that you add. Using the Move to button will add the label to the message but will remove the Inbox label so that the message will no longer be in your Inbox. This second method is much more like moving something to a folder in other systems. If you want to apply multiple labels to a message, use the Labels button to add any subsequent labels.

When using the Labels button, click on it, click in the check boxes next to the label(s) you want to add; across down as needed. When using the Move to button, click the label that you want your message to be moved to. Later, you can go back and add more labels with the Labels button.

Removing Labels from Messages

If you no longer want a message to appear with a specific label – including Inbox – you can remove it as follows:

  1. Open the message.
  2. Look for the labels that apply to the message to the right of the message title. Click the “X” to the right of the label that you want to remove.

Managing Labels

Using the “Manage Labels” option, you can rename and delete labels as explained below. To access “Manage Labels”:

  1. Click the “Labels” menu.
  2. Select “Manage labels.”
  3. You can also create a label from this screen.

To delete a label:

  1. Click remove next to the label you want to delete.
  2. Confirm that you’d like to remove the label by clicking “OK.”

Removing a label does not delete the messages previously categorized with that label. As explained previously, if you remove all of the labels from a message, it will essentially be archived, and you will need to either search for it or to click “All mail” to see it listed.

Changing label Colors

  1. In your Labels list, click the square to the left of a label.
  2. Select a color from the palette that appears. Changes will be instantly reflected in Google Mail. You can remove a color by selecting “Remove color” at the bottom of the color palette.



By Jenna Cooper, Edited by Carol Sabbar

Tags: email, Google
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