Gmail Labels

Get Organized with Gmail Labels

Go from inbox chaos to inbox zero with Gmail labels. Use labels just like you would folders to keep all your emails organized. Here's how to create, edit, and nest Gmail labels to get your inbox under control.

catherine heath

Last updated: June 9, 2022

8 mins read

Email can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. And when you’re using Gmail as a customer service team, you might find yourself with more emails than you can handle.

It’s hard work managing emails in an inbox, as you’re likely to get hundreds of emails a day that all have different priorities and tasks associated with them. It can be difficult to keep track of all the incoming emails and sometimes important things get missed because they got lost in your inbox. Or you open an important email, close it to come back to later, and have trouble ever finding it again.

It’s a waste of time trawling through emails to find the right one and severely hampers productivity. If only there were a better way. Enter, Gmail labels.

If you’re using Gmail, then you should know that it has a handy feature to help you organize your emails: labeling. Labeling will save your life if you’re struggling to cope under a huge volume of emails.

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What are Gmail labels?

A Gmail label is a bit like a folder, except you can label your emails with more than one label so that it lives in multiple places in your inbox. A label is a tag that you add to your incoming, outgoing and draft emails to make them easy to categorize and find later.

You can access all your Gmail labels from the left sidebar. If you want to view your emails within a particular label, simply select the label to open it in the main view.  You can also use the gmail search box by typing `label:billing` to see all the emails with the `billing` label.

Labels are a powerful organizational tool that you can use to manage your emails instead of viewing them in a single chaotic list. For example, if you’re a customer service rep and you habitually deal with billing enquiries, you can create a label to tag all relevant emails as ‘billing’, so you have them all in one place should you need to go back to them again.

Labels in Gmail

How to manage labels in Gmail

It’s easy to manage your labels in Gmail. To navigate to an overview of your Gmail labels, open the Gmail app on your computer’s desktop and follow these instructions.

1. Select Settings from the gear icon on the top right hand side of the screen.

2. Select See all settings from the drop-down menu that opens.

Edit Gmail Labels

3. Select the Labels tab, which will open up a screen containing a list of all your Gmail labels.

4. From this screen, you can select whether to show or hide in the label or message list, delete the label, or edit it.

Edit Gmail Labels

How to create a label in Gmail

To make the most of labels in Gmail, you need to get started with creating some of your own. There are multiple ways to create a label in Gmail.

Here’s the first way:

1. Navigate to the left-hand sidebar containing all your labels.

2. Scroll to the bottom and select More.

3. Scroll to the bottom again and select Create new label. 

4. Enter your new label name and select Create. 

Create Label Sidebar

Here’s the second way:

1. Select or open any email in your Gmail inbox.

2. This will reveal a menu bar above your inbox containing a ‘tag’ icon, just below the search bar.

3. Select the ‘tag’ icon to open a drop-down menu that will give you the option to create a new label.

4. Select Create new and enter your new label name.

5. Select Create to finish creating your new label in Gmail.

When you create a new label in Gmail, it will automatically appear in the list of labels that you can apply to your emails.

Create Label in Email

How to delete labels in Gmail

Sometimes labels become obsolete and you don’t want to use them anymore. To keep your labels tidy, you should delete any labels that are no longer needed. Note that deleting a label does not delete the emails tagged with the label.

1. Select the gear icon to open up your Gmail Settings.

2. Select See all settings and navigate to the Labels tab.

3. Scroll down to your desired label and select remove. 

4. Confirm you want to remove your label by selecting Delete.

When you delete a label in Gmail, it will automatically be removed from the list of labels that you can apply to your emails.

How to add a label to an email

It’s easy enough to learn how to add a label to an email in Gmail. Remember, unlike folders, you can add multiple labels to the same email.

1. Select your desired email (or emails) from the main inbox.

2. Select the ‘tag’ icon that opens up just below the search bar.

3. Select your desired labels from the dropdown list that opens.

Add a Gmail Label

When you add a label to your email, it will still appear in your main inbox unless you drag and drop your email onto the left-hand sidebar. Another way to move your email out of the main inbox is to select your email and select the Move to icon where you will be presented with a list of your labels. Labeling your email in this way will move it out of the main inbox view.

How to add a label to an outgoing email

As well as adding labels to emails in your inbox, you can add labels to outgoing emails so that they and any subsequent conversations will be labeled accordingly.

1. Start composing a draft message.

2. Select the three dots on the bottom menu and select Labels from the menu that comes up.

3. Choose your label from the list that opens up and check the box to apply it to your email.

4. Close all of the menus by clicking on the body of your email.

5. Write your email and hit send to have your labels automatically applied to that email and any subsequent conversations.

How to remove a label from an email

You might have added a label to your email in Gmail and then changed your mind about using the label, or the label might no longer be relevant. Thankfully, it’s simple to remove labels from your emails.

1. Open your desired email in Gmail.

2. Select the ‘tag’ icon that opens up under the search bar.

3. Uncheck the label you want to remove from your email.

Read More: How to Clean Up Gmail

How to move labels in Gmail

Labels in Gmail are organized alphabetically and numerically, so you can’t change the order of your labels without renaming them.

To rename your label:

1. Open the left-hand sidebar and scroll down to the label you want to edit.

2. Hover the cursor over the label and select the three dots to open a drop-down menu.

3. Select edit from the drop-down menu.

4. You will be able to edit the label’s name and then select save to finish editing your label.

Alternatively, you can hide your labels in Gmail to stop the list from becoming cluttered, and you can only display the ones you regularly use.

1. Select the gear icon to open the Settings drop-down menu.

2. Select See all settings and navigate to the Labels tab

3. Scroll down to the label you want to edit, and select hide to move it under the More section under the left-hand sidebar.

How to change labels in Gmail

If you want to change the labels you have attached to your email then you can do this in the same way as you did for adding a new label.

1. Open or select the desired email in your inbox.

2. Select the ‘tag’ icon that opens up under the search bar.

2. Deselect the relevant labels in the drop-down list that appears and add the new labels you want to apply to your email.

How to change label color in Gmail

You can make your emails even more organized by changing the colors of your labels in Gmail. For example, you can set high priority emails to red, which will provide you with a strong visual cue when you’re looking through your emails.

1. Navigate to the left-hand sidebar and scroll to your desired label in the list that appears.

2. Select the three dot icon next to the label to open a drop-down menu and edit the label.

3. Select label color and select your desired color from the menu that appears, or choose a custom color.

Change Gmail Label Color

How to create nested labels in Gmail

Nested labels in Gmail function like subfolders. You can nest one label inside another which is called a ‘parent’. This keeps your emails more organized by showing the relationship they have to other labels.

To create a new nested label under an existing label:

1. Open the left-hand sidebar and scroll down to your desired parent label in the menu.

2. Select the three dots icon to open a drop-down menu and select Add sublabel. 

3. Enter the name of your new nested label and select Create. 

Alternatively, you might want to turn an existing label into a sublabel.

1. Open the left-hand sidebar and scroll down to your desired label in the menu.

2. Select the three dots icon to open a drop-down menu and select Edit. 

3. Choose which label your chosen label should be nested under and select Save. 

How to add a filter in Gmail

You can tell Gmail to automatically add a label to an email using filters. Filters are easy to set up and save you tons of time, rather than having to manually add a label to every email. It’s quick, easy, and allows you to automate your inbox categorization:

1. Select the gear icon and select See all settings.

2. Navigate to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.

3. Select Create new filter to apply a new filter.

4. Choose how you want the mail to be filtered – you choose by words included or the sender’s name.

5. Select Create Filter to bring up a new menu with a list of checkbox items.

6. Select Apply the label and choose your label that appears in the drop-down list.

7. Select Create Filter.

How many labels can you have in Gmail

On the left-hand side of the page, you can have up to 500 labels. If you have more than 500 labels, then the list will take longer to load.

Theoretically there is no limit to the number of labels you can have in Gmail. That being said, it’s not a good idea to have too many labels or you’ll find them too difficult to manage. If you find your list of labels getting too long, consider deleting some to keep your list tidy.

Gmail categories vs labels

Gmail has categories that are automatically applied to incoming messages so they are displayed in different tabs. Categories are Primary, Social, and Promotions. Gmail categorizes your email without any help from you so that’s why categories are distinct from labels.

Labels, on the other hand, are tags that you apply to your emails, either directly or through applying a filter. Labels are displayed on the left-hand sidebar while categories are displayed as tabs on the main inbox.

Wrapping up

Go from inbox chaos to inbox zero with Gmail labels. Use labels just like you would folders to keep all your emails organized. Add as many labels as you like to a single email to group it into more than one place.

This extraordinarily simple system allows you to organize your emails so you can attend to them at your leisure. No longer are important emails lost in the fog, but everything is where you expect it to be when you’ve applied labels to your incoming mail. Emails can be labeled as high priority so you know exactly where your attention should go first.

Save time and improve productivity with filters that allow you to automatically assign labels to your emails. Labels are your own unique filing system to bring order to a messy inbox by grouping related emails together. You’ll be able to handle a larger volume of emails with ease instead of being overwhelmed by a huge influx of emails.

catherine heath

Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She often writes case studies, help documentation and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at

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