Create Drive labels for your organization

Supported editions for this feature: Business Standard and Business Plus; Enterprise Standard and Enterprise Plus; Education Standard and Education Plus; Essentials, Enterprise Essentials, and Enterprise Essentials Plus; G Suite Business.  Compare your edition

To apply Drive labels to files, go here instead.

As an administrator, you can create labels for users to apply to files in Drive. You can create up to 150 labels, including one badged label. You create labels in the labels manager in Drive, not your Admin console.

Avoid confidential information in label names, field names, and selection options. Labels can be viewed by any admin in your organization with the Manage Labels privilege. They could also be visible to everyone in your organization if the label's permissions are set that way.

Before you begin:

  1. Turn on Drive labels for your organization.
  2. Learn about label best practices.

Step 1. Create a label

  1. On your computer, go to the labels manager at

    Requires having the Manage Labels privilege.

  2. Click New label.
  3. To create a standard label:
    1. Click a standard label template or click Create New.
    2. Enter or update the label name.
    3. (Optional) Add a description.
    4. Choose whether the label is copied when the file is copied.
    5. (Optional) Add a field. A label can contain up to 10 fields. For details, go on to the next section.
  4. To create your one badged label:
    1. Choose a badged label
    2. Choose to start from an example, or from scratch.
    3. Update the title.
    4. (Optional) Add a description or a learn more URL that points to your organization’s internal documentation about the label.
    5. Choose whether the label is required to be filled out by end users.
    6. Customize options, and assign a color.

Step 2. (Optional) Add fields to a standard label

You can add up to 10 fields to labels to allow more granular classification. For example, a Department label could have a field with a list of options such as Finance, Engineering, and Legal.

  1. With the label open in the labels manager (, click Add Fields.
  2. Click to set the number of each type of field you want to add. At the right, Drive shows you a preview of the fields. For details about field types, review the table that follows these steps.


    1. We recommend that you minimize the number of fields in a label to encourage consistent use. Users are more likely to apply labels and edit field values if it's quick and easy.
    2. Data-protection rules can use only badged labels or labels with the Options List field type. Other field types aren’t supported.
  3. Click Add fields.
  4. Click a field to configure options, such as the field name, what options are available, the format of a date field, or if multiple selections are allowed.
  5. (Optional) Make the field required by checking Require users to pick an option. Important: Drive highlights labels with required fields to encourage completion, but doesn’t enforce it. Users can still use Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. If users don’t select an option, they see a notification and the required field is highlighted.

If you add an extra field or field option, you can delete them before you publish the label. For the field or field option you want to delete, click Moreand thenDelete.

Review the new fields carefully. After you publish the label, you can’t change the field type. For Options list or Person fields, you can’t change whether users can pick multiple values.

Field types

Field What users can do Addtional details
Options list Pick one or more options from a list
  • No more than 200 options
  • Optional configuration: Allow multiple selections
  • If multi-select is allowed, users can select no more than 10
Number Enter a numerical value Only whole numbers
Date Pick a calendar date Date format can be set to Long: Month DD, YYYY, or Short: MM/DD/YY
Text Enter text in a text box No more than 100 characters allowed
Person Pick a person from their Workspace contacts
  • Optional configuration: Allow multiple sections
  • If multi-select is allowed, users can select no more than 10

Step 3. Set who can view or use a label

By default, everyone in your organization can view and apply labels. Edit label permissions to control who can view, apply, edit field values, and search by the label. For example:

  • To allow users outside your organization, or groups containing outside users, to view and use labels, add these users and groups under Advanced permissions.
  • To test a new label, you can set Restricted access at first and give only a test group access to the label. After testing, you can change permissions so everyone can use the label.
  • If a label contains confidential information, you can set Restricted access so that only users who should have access to that information can view or use the label.


  • File permissions still apply. For example, if a user has view-only access to a file, they can only view labels applied to that file, even if they’re allowed to apply and set those labels.
  • Any user with a Google account can be granted permission to view or apply labels. However, labels can only be applied to items that are owned by users with a license that supports Drive labels or items in shared drives.

To set label permissions:

  1. If it’s not open already, open the labels manager ( and click the label.
  2. At the top, click Permissions.
  3. Select the permission level for your organization:
    1. Can apply labels and set values–Users can apply, set values, and search for this label on flies they can edit.
    2. Can view this label–Users can view and search for the label on files they can view or comment on.
    3. Restricted access–Only users and groups you specify can view or apply labels. You can choose the permissions for each user or group in the next step.
  4. (Optional) Add permissions for specific users and groups:
    1. Under Advanced permissions, begin entering a user or group account and select the account.
    2. Select the permission level for that account.
  5. Click Save.

Step 4. Publish a label

New labels are created in a "draft" state so you can review how your label will appear to users before making it available.

To publish a label:

  1. If it’s not open already, open the labels manager ( and click the label.
  2. Review the label and any fields. Important: Field type and the option to allow multiple selections for a field can’t be changed after the label is published.
  3. Click Publish.
  4. Confirm that you want to publish the label by clicking Publish.

Users with permissions to view or use the label now have access. and you can use the label to classify and protect data (described in the next section).

When you edit a label, changes are saved as a draft. To make your edits available to users, you must publish the label again.

Step 5. (Optional) Use labels to classify and protect data

If your Google Workspace edition supports data loss prevention (DLP) for Drive, you can set up rules to automatically apply labels to content created by certain users (data classification) and to block sharing of content with specific labels (DLP).

If your edition supports Google Vault, you can set Drive retention rules based on labels applied to the file.


  • When you use a label for Data classification, DLP, or Vault retention rules, the label’s settings are locked in the label manager. This prevents edits to labels that could break business policies.
  • ​​When you use a label in DLP or retention rules, the label can’t be disabled or deleted. Label managers can see that the label is used in a rule in the Rules column of the table of labels. However, they can’t see details of the rule that uses the label unless they have the required admin privileges.

Automatically apply labels to new files

You can set up Data classification so that labels are automatically applied to files when they're created or ownership is transferred, based on the owner's organizational unit or group. For example, if you have a legal team and you want all their files to have a “Legal” label, you can make that label apply to all new content created by users in that group. You can also set a default field value for fields with a selection. For example, you can automatically add the label “File Sensitivity” with the value “Confidential” to files created by users in the group “Legal.”

Only labels with an options list field can be used for Data classification.

To set up data classification:

  1. If it’s not open already, open the labels manager ( and click the label.
  2. In the Apply labels to new files section, click Set up.
  3. Follow the steps in Apply classification labels to new files automatically.

Label-based data loss protection (DLP) rules

You can define rules that apply only to items with a specific label or field. For example, you can create a data-protection rule that scans for credit card numbers and social security numbers in documents. If a match is found, a label, such as Sensitive File, is applied, the field value is set to Confidential, and external sharing is blocked.

Data-protection rules can use badged labels or standard labels with the Options List field type. Other field types aren’t supported.

To set up a DLP rule:

  1. If it’s not open already, open the labels manager ( and click the label.
  2. In the Data protection rules section, click Manage.
  3. Follow the steps in Create DLP for Drive rules and custom content detectors.

Label-based retention with Google Vault

You can define retention rules that prevent an item from being deleted, or require that an item be deleted, based on a Drive label and any field values. For examples and to learn more, see Retain Drive files with Vault.

Next steps

Now that you have labels your organization can use:

  1. Teach your users how to apply labels and use them to search for files.
  2. Learn how to edit, disable, delete, and monitor labels.
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