Organize email

Gmail makes it easy to organize and keep on top of your manager's email (as well as your own) with labels, filters, archiving, starring, and more.

Create & apply labels

You may be used to organizing emails in folders, but in Gmail, you can quickly organize your conversations by applying labels. The conversation can remain in your Inbox with the label clearly shown. Here's an example:

As shown in the example, if a conversation falls under more than one topic, you can give it multiple labels (such as Follow up and HR).

To access all the conversation within a label, just click the label name in the left pane of your Inbox:

Create a new label

  1. Click the Labels drop-down.
  2. Select Create new.

You can also create a new label by expanding More in the left pane, at the bottom of your list of labels. Then click Create new label and follow the instructions above.

Apply a label to a message

  1. If you’re looking at your list of messages in your Inbox, check the box next to the message(s) you want to label. If you’ve already clicked on a message, skip to step 2.
  2. Select the label name from the Labels drop-down menu. (Note that you can select more than one label.)

Tip: If you want to move the messages out of your Inbox at the same time you apply a label to them, select the messages, and then select a label in the Move to drop-down menu.

See the Gmail Tips & Tricks section below to learn how to drag and drop labels.

Change the color of a label

  1. In your labels list on the left, click the square to the right of a label.
  2. Select a color from the palette that appears. The change is instantly applied to all messages with that label.

Organize labels

If you have a long list of labels, you can make viewing them easier by resizing your list of labels or hiding infrequently used labels.

Resize labels vs. chat list

If you want to see more labels in relation to your chat list, you can drag the horizontal bar down to change the relative size of each list.

If you have a lot of labels, move your cursor anywhere over them to automatically expand the list. After browsing labels, move your cursor away and the list contracts.

Hide a single label

You can clean up your list of labels by hiding ones you rarely use. To do a quick drag and drop for one label:

  1. Click on the label you want to move, and holding down the left mouse button, drag the label over the More drop-down. Note that the name changes to Less when you place your cursor over it.

  1. Release the mouse button to move the label out of the main list.

If you want the label to appear in your main list of labels again, just click More, and holding down the left mouse button, drag the label back anywhere on the main list.

Hide multiple labels

To hide multiple infrequently used labels:

  1. Select Settings from the gear drop-down.
  2. Click the Labels tab.
  3. Scroll to your infrequently used labels, and click hide next to each label.

Archive email

If you'd like to move a labeled conversation out of your Inbox, just check the box next to the conversation, and click the Archive button. (Don’t worry--this does not delete your conversation. It just moves it out of your Inbox.)

Whether or not a labeled conversation is archived, you can list all conversations that have a specific label by clicking the label name in the left pane of your Inbox -- similar to opening a folder of messages. Unlike with folders, if you've applied more than one label to a message, you can retrieve the message by clicking any of those labels.