Google Cloud Apps Admins

Create and apply Gmail labels

Written by Joey Allen (Google Admin) | October 1, 2013

Use labels to categorize your messages. Labels are like folders, but with a twist: You can apply multiple labels to a message, so you can "store" a single copy of a message in multiple labels.  Labels are great for managing high volume Gmail accounts and provide excellent future reference.

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 messages in your Inbox, to quickly identify different types of messages


Make your labels easy to identify by applying different colors to them. Here’s how labels look in your Inbox:



To create a label


  1. Select or open any message to display the Labels icon in the toolbar:


  2. Click the Labels icon and then click Manage labels:


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Alternatively, you can click the Gear icon and then Settings > Labels.


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

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    Use the Nest label under option if you want to add a sub-label to an existing label. For example, you might add a sub-label for each day of the week under a parent label called “To Do.”


    To change the color of a label

    1. In your Labels list on the left, hover over the label and then click the down arrow that appears:

    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 from the label by clicking
      Remove color below the color palette.


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    Not enough colors? Click Add custom color for more options.

    To apply a label to messages (and keep them in the Inbox)


    1. Select the check box next to the messages you want to label, then click the Labels icon:


    1. Select the label name from the Labels drop-down menu and click Apply. You can select more than one label:


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    You can create a new label or search your label list by typing a label name in the search box at the top.


    To apply a label to messages and move them out of the Inbox


    If you want to move messages out of your Inbox at the same time that you apply one new label to them, use the Move to menu instead of the Labels menu:


    1. Select (or open) the message or messages you want to move.

    2. Click the Move to icon and select a label.


    Alternatively, you can just drag the message to the label:


    1. Click and hold near the box to the left of the message...


    2. … and then drag the message to a label’s name.

    To move messages out of your Inbox without applying a new label


    1. Select one or more messages in your Inbox.

    2. Click the Archive icon in the toolbar:


    To view a labeled message that you’ve archived, just click the label in the left pane. (If you have a lot of labels, you might need to click More or scroll down to see your label.)


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    If you archive unlabeled messages, you can still find them under the system label called All Mail.