Organizing mail with labels in Gmail

Many time I get requests for tutorial like post of various Gmail features. I blogged about, how we organize our mail with Outlook.com before. This post is about Gmail’s label. Label is like folder in Gmail. We can organize mails using labels in Gmail.

Difference between folder and label

In my previous post I pointed out the difference between folder and label. Folder is where we can store physically our mail. Label is like tag for our mail. We can attach labels in mail. One mail can be store in one folder. But more than one labels can be attached with one mail.

Organizing with label in Gmail

New Label
New Label

Gmail do not support folder. All we need to create label to organize mails. There are some built in labels in Gmail like Updates, Social, Promotions and Forums. Gmail call this built in labels category. You can create your custom label and attach them to mail. To create custom label, you need to go Settings –> Labels –> click on Create new label button –> give a meaning full name of your label –> click on Create button. You can see your newly created label at the left side bar area.

After creating label you can tag your existing mails with it. Select your existing mails –> go to Labels icon at the top toolbar –> select label from the drop down list –> click on apply. Now when you select your label from the left sidebar, you can see the mails tagged with it.

New Filter Gmail
New Filter Gmail

You do not need to do this last step manually every time to tag your mail with label. The good news is this can be automated. For this you need to create filter in Gmail. You can set rule through filter so that Gmail can automatically tag your incoming mails to appropriate label. For example you can tell that, if incoming mail come from one of my project team member then tag that mail to my project label. To create a filter, go to Settings –> click on filter –> click on Create new filter button –> give your rule –> click on Create filter with this search link –> now select a label of your choice –> click on Create filter button. After that when new mail will come to your inbox which matched your filter rule, Gmail automatically tag them to appropriate label as set by you.

Label can be nested. You can create label inside another label. For example suppose you have a label called Project. Now inside that you can create other labels with your project name. In that case all your project related labels are under a parent label. When you tag a mail with a label, Gmail will show the name of the label with your mail when you are in Inbox view.

Summary

Gmail do not support folder. You need to create label to organize mail. There are some built in labels. You can create custom label and  tag them with your existing mail as well as incoming mail (with filter).

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