How to create folders in Gmail and use labels to organize your emails

  • You can create folders in Gmail using labels to store and organize your emails.
  • While Gmail doesn’t have “folders,” labels accomplish basically the same thing and organize your messages.
  • To use a Gmail label as you would a folder in Outlook or another service, you’ll have to use the “Move to” option on an email to group it under a specific label.
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Gmail uses labels as opposed to folders. However, labels function almost exactly the same way folders would on any other email service.

The trick for using labels as folders is to use the “Move to” option. This will move a message — or a thread of messages — out of your inbox and under the label.

This is useful for emails that you may want to store long term, but don’t necessarily want at the top of your inbox, such as wedding or vacation plans or an invitation for a party.

Here’s how to create a Gmail label on your computer or mobile device.

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How to create a label in Gmail using a computer

1. Open Gmail on your browser of choice on your PC or Mac computer. Make sure you’re signed into your account.

2. Click the gear icon in the upper-right hand corner of your screen.

3. Click “Settings.”

How to create folders in Gmail

Open your Gmail settings.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

4. Click the second tab at the top of the page called “Labels.”

5. Scroll down until you find the “Labels” subsection.

6. Click the small white “Create new label” button.

How to create folders in Gmail

Find your labels.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

7. This will open a pop-up. Enter a label name and if you’d like to nest the label under an already-existing one. If you would like to nest it, check the box next to it and choose a parent label from the dropdown menu.

8. Click the blue “Create” button when you’re done.

How to create folders in Gmail

Create a new label.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

You can also create a new label directly in your inbox. 

1. Right click on any message in your inbox to open a dropdown menu. 

2. Hover over the “Label as” option and then click “Create new.” 

How to create folders in Gmail

Click “Create new.”
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

3. This will open a pop-up to create a new label. Enter a new label name and click “Create” when you’re done.

How to create a label in Gmail using a mobile device

1. Open the Gmail app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Make sure you’re signed into your account.

2. Tap the three bars in the upper-left hand corner of your screen.

How to create folders in Gmail
Tap the menu icon.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

3. Scroll down until you find the “Labels” subsection. Tap “Create new” next to the “+” sign.

How to create folders in Gmail
Create a new label.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

4. This will open a pop-up. Type the name of your new label. Tap the blue “Done” option in the top-right corner.

How to create folders in Gmail
Name your label before using it as a folder.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

You can also create a new label by accessing the “Move to” menu — which is what you’d use anyway to transfer messages out of your inbox and into a label.

1. Start by opening an email and tapping the three dots in the top-right corner.

How to create folders in Gmail
Tap the three dots.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

2. Tap “Move to.”

How to create folders in Gmail
Move a message.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

3. Tap the “+” sign in the upper-right corner to create a new label. This will open the same screen where you can type your label name and then tap the blue “Done” option to complete the process.

How to create folders in Gmail
Create a new label to move your email to.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

How to move messages into a label in Gmail using a computer

Simply click and drag the message that you’d like to move into the label in the left sidebar. To move multiple messages at once, click the checkboxes next to the messages that you’d like to move and then drag them over using your mouse. 

You can also right-click on the email(s), hover over “Move to” and then select the label from the dropdown menu. 

How to create folders in Gmail

Right-click and then move your message using the dropdown menu.
Isabella Paoletto/Business Insider

How to move messages into a label in Gmail using a mobile device

Unfortunately you can’t move multiple emails at a time in the Gmail app, but to move an individual email, open it and then tap the three dots in the top-right corner. Tap “Move to” and then select the label in the pop-up menu.

How to create folders in Gmail
Move your message to the desired label.
Marissa Perino/Business Insider

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