Gmail Labels: Complete Guide to Keeping Your Inbox Organized
Gmail Labels: Complete Guide to Keeping Your Inbox Organized
Last updated:
May 2, 2024
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The average employee spends nearly 20 percent of each workday searching for information, and receives about 121 emails. After sifting through priorities and attachments, reading and responding to those emails takes even more time. Luckily, we have a secret weapon that combats unwanted inbox clutter with productive solutions: Gmail labels are your best way to organize Gmail.

Gmail labels provide quick organization, reducing the time required to retrieve information. This guide takes you through the organization process step-by-step for a neat, actionable, and well-organized inbox. 

Skip ahead for the answer you need now:

If your team spends hours on email each day, Gmelius can help you get organized. Sign up for Gmelius through Google to access our features and Gmail integrations!

1. What are Gmail Labels?

In Gmail, team members can create a label to categorize emails that are sent, received, or drafted. In other words, labels are a simple way to organize and declutter your inbox.

Gmail Labels are accessible from the left sidebar, displayed with an arrow-shaped icon (more on how to color them later).

Gmail Labels

Gmail Labels vs. folders

Much like folders, labels group relevant emails together. But Gmail users can add multiple labels to one email for extra flexibility—unlike email folders. 

For instance, sales teams can use email labels to organize their shared inbox by creating different labels, such as "Leads," “Contacts,” and “Deals.” Project managers, on the other hand, might create one label for a given project and another to classify emails from an external vendor.

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2. How to create a Label

Creating a label is simple. Any logged-in Gmail user has 3 options:

  1. From inside an email, select the "Label As" icon at the top of the window. Then select "Create New Label" and name the label accordingly.
  2. From the left-hand menu, select "Create New Label," enter the name of the category and, if required, subcategory. 
  3. From the top right window corner, select the gear icon and then "Settings" from the drop-down menu. Next, select "Labels" and then "Create New Label."
Gmail Create New Label

3. How to Share Gmail Labels

Email solutions have great utility for many, however, they were originally designed for individual use. This creates serious obstacles for modern teams working collaboratively across departments, offices, locations, and time zones. With Gmelius, you can share your labels with your team. Teams can create and share existing labels with other team members or external contacts. All members included in a shared label have access to the emails—and full email threads (including future replies)---filed under the label. Sharing labels can encourage transparency and accountability around team emails, which further support efficient and successful team collaboration. 

And if your team is on Slack, you can even use the Gmelius Slack integration to create a full sync between shared labels and your chosen Slack channels.

Gmelius <> Slack IntegratIon

For further details with screenshots follow the article on how to create a shared label.

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4. How to Automatically Add Gmail Labels with Filters

While you can always add a label manually, automating the process will save you a ton of time. Depending on your use case, there are multiple ways to add labels to emails automatically.

Use Filters to Add a Label

You can add a label using a filter. It"s quick, easy, and allows you to automate your inbox categories:

  1. Inside Gmail, click the gear icon and select "Settings."
  2. Next, click "Filters and Blocked Addresses" from the top.
  3. Select "Create" to apply a new filter.
  4. Select how you'd like the mail to be filtered. For example, you could use specific words or the sender’s name. 
  5. Click "Create Filter" with this search.
  6. Check "Skip the Inbox" and "Apply" to apply the label.
  7. Click "Create Filter."
Gmail Create new filter

Add or remove labels in bulk

You can also add or remove labels easily from multiple emails in one go by following these easy steps:

  1. Select the emails from which you’d like to add or remove labels. 
  2. Click the "Label As" icon from the top. 
  3. Either select or deselect any labels. 
  4. Click "Apply."
Add or remove labels in bulk

Use the “Move to” button to apply a label

The “Move to” button allows users to archive emails in a few clicks. 

  1. Open or select the email(s) you would like to move. 
  2. Select the "Move To" icon from the top. 
  3. Select the destination folder or label under which you‘d like to move the email(s). 

To move more than one email, simply select multiple emails and drag them into a chosen label from your Gmail inbox.

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Move Conversations to

Add labels to outgoing emails

Adding labels to outgoing emails allows teams to keep a thorough record of information stored in an organized place. To do so:

  1. Compose a message from your Gmail account
  2. Select the "More Options" icon (the three stacked dots on the right side) in the toolbar at the bottom of the compose window. 
  3. Choose "Labels" from the new menu that opens.
  4. Another menu will pop up with the available labels; check the one(s) you want to use. Or select "Create New" and enter your new label name.
  5. You can also choose to "star" the message from the same menu if required.
  6. Select the body of your message again to close all of the menus.
  7. Compose your message and hit send as usual. The label(s) that you chose will be applied to the message and any ongoing email chain.
Add labels

Add Labels and Create Templates Using Advanced Automation 

Gmail is arguably the most feature-packed email provider on the market. However, to achieve the most effective results, you need advanced automation features like email templates and sequences. Gmelius allows users to create, share, and send personalized email templates and automated follow-up sequences based on the recipients’ interactions. 

To do so, first, install Gmelius and create an email template using the "Label As" function. Once a template is selected in the compose window, the label will be applied automatically.

Gmelius Templates in Gmail

Sequences can also be used as an advanced automation feature. When creating an automated sequence, you can direct Gmelius to add labels at certain stages in the workflow.


All email templates, sequences, and conversations sync in real-time across your entire team and all their devices, so once you receive a reply, you"ll find the email under your chosen label.

5. How to Edit Labels

Once you create a label in Gmail, you can also edit its color, name, and visibility. 

To edit the label, follow these steps:

  1. On a computer, open Gmail (labels cannot be edited from the Gmail app).
  2. On the left side of the page, hover your cursor over your label's name.
  3. Click the down arrow from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click "Edit."
  5. Make changes to your label.
  6. Click "Save."
Edit label in Gmail

6. How to Create Nested Gmail Labels

For more complex projects, users can nest labels within higher-level (parent) categories. For instance, if your firm provides accounting and tax services, you can create a parent label for "tax" and sub-labels for each customer you're serving.

Here’s how to set up a nested label in Gmail: 

  1. Select the gears icon in the window's top-right corner, and choose "Settings" from the drop-down menu. 
  2. Select "Labels" if the Labels tab isn’t displayed. 
  3. Select "Create New Label" and enter a new label name. 
  4. Select a higher-level label in the drop-down menu inside the "Nest" label section. 
  5. If you need to move an existing sub-label to a different higher-level label, navigate to the "Labels" section and find the label you would like to change. 
  6. Select "Edit" in the Actions column. 
  7. Choose a new higher-level label from the drop-down menu in the "Nest" label. 
  8. Click "Create" or "Save."
Gmail Settings Create new label

To un-nest a label, follow these steps:

  1. In the "Labels" section, find the sub-label you want to convert. 
  2. In the Actions column, select "Edit."
  3. Deselect the "Nest" label. 
  4. Select "Save."

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7. How to Search Within Labels

Searching with multiple filters can be intimidating, but you can achieve a lot if you have the right queries in place. For instance, you can search for all emails under one label sent by a specific email address.

To search, follow these steps: 

  1. In the search bar at the top of Gmail, enter the "label: label_title".
  2. Use the up and down arrow keys to highlight the label you want to open.
  3. Click "Enter" to view the emails in that label.
  4. Press the spacebar after the label name and enter the text that you want to search for within the label. For instance, if you"d like to only see emails from one email address, enter the label: "label_title email_address".

8. How to Manage Tasks Using Gmail Labels

Gmail labels offer many unique options to organize tasks. With Gmelius, teams can manage tasks and projects with labels, as our unique platform offers a project management suite from within Gmail. Teams can turn labels into Kanban boards directly in Gmail. Emails become task cards to visualize easily, and you can move them from one column to another to help drive tasks to completion.

With powerful automation features, team members can set rules to place tasks in the right column automatically, so you don’t need to drag and drop task cards manually. Team members can also turn a label into a Kanban board.

Gmelius Kanban Board in Gmail

You can even integrate your Kanban boards with Trello using Gmelius. Our Gmail to Trello 2-way integration allows you to sync your boards in real-time to reduce data dispersion or communication gaps. 

Gmelius Kanban Board in Gmail <> Trello

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If your team already has a tailored board on Trello, but would like the option to work from Gmail, you can import your Trello boards inside Gmail using Gmelius.

To learn more about our 2-way Gmail to Trello integration, read this article.

Gmail Labels are a great feature of Gmail’s functionality that allows you to customize and organize your workflow by project, by client, and more! However, Gmail alone doesn’t do everything. Fortunately, the powerful combination of Gmail and Gmelius empowers teams to be more productive, save time, and improve transparency and alignment. 

Ready to organize your inbox using Gmail labels? Check out our features and integrations and learn how Gmelius is built to improve team communication and collaboration. Ready to get started? Sign up today!

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Cut to the chase...
Get started with the world's first shared inbox that lives in Gmail.
Cut to the chase...
Turn your most effective emails into smart templates you can share with your team in Gmail.

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