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Switch to labels from folders

In other email programs, you might have stored email in folders. In Gmail, you use labels to categorize your email. Labels are like folders, but with a twist—you can apply several labels to an email, then later find the email by clicking any of its labels from the left panel. You can also search by label.

Use labels to...

  • Track the status of people's tasks. For example, create the labels Laura: In Progress and Laura: Done to indicate email that Laura is working on or has completed.
  • Organize email by nesting labels like subfolders. For example, create the label Tasks. Under Tasks, create nested labels by person.
  • Identify email that needs follow-up.
  • Identify email that can be read later.

Access labels on the left.

Create a label

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. On the left, scroll down, then click More.
  3. Click Create new label.
  4. Name your label.
  5. Click Create.

Label messages in your inbox

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Select the messages.
  3. At the top, click Labels.
  4. Select a label, or create a new one.

Apply a label to email in your inbox.

Create rules to filter your email

You can manage your incoming mail using Gmail’s filters for example, to send email to a label, or automatically archive, delete, or star incoming mail.

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. In the search box at the top, click Show search options photos tune .
  3. Enter your search criteria. If you want to check that your search worked correctly, see what emails show up by clicking Search. 
  4. At the bottom of the search window, click Create filter.
  5. Choose what you’d like the filter to do.
  6. Click Create filter.

Note: When you create a filter to forward messages, only new messages will be affected. ​Additionally, when someone replies to a message you've filtered, the reply will only be filtered if it meets the same search criteria. 

Tip: Try these Gmail filters for work or school.

Click arrow to create a filter.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center

Star important email

When you star email in Gmail, you mark them as important. This helps you remember to look at them later.

Star an email 

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. From your inbox, go to the left of the message, then click Star . If the message is open, click More and then Add Star.
  3. If you have multiple stars, keep clicking the star icon until you see the one you want to use.

See your starred messages

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. On the left side of the page, click Starred. You may need to click More first.

Tip: To find starred messages, you can also use search operators in Gmail.

  • To find all starred messages, enter is:starred.
  • To find messages with a specific star, enter has: followed by the star's name. The names are based on your current star options in use:
    • has:yellow-star
    • has:orange-star
    • has:red-star
    • has:purple-star
    • has:blue-star
    • has:green-star
    • has:red-bang
    • has:orange-guillemet
    • has:yellow-bang
    • has:green-check
    • has:blue-info
    • has:purple-question

Flag email with a star.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center

Search for messages

Search your email, chats, or spaces

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. At the top, in the search box, enter your search criteria.
  3. Press Enter.
  4. (Chat in Gmail enabled only) Choose where to search by clicking Mail, Conversations, or Spaces:
    • Mail searches your email.
    • Conversations searches existing messages in chats and spaces.
    • Spaces searches the names of spaces that you have joined and spaces that you can join. 

Enter keywords. Advanced search suggestions are displayed.

Narrow your email search

At the top of your inbox, search for one or more keywords that appear anywhere in the email—in the subject, body, or sender name. 

If you’re looking for something specific, click Show search options to use advanced search.

Example: Search for:

  • Senders—Example: From:(sam@your-company.com)
  • Date ranges—Example: after:2019/3/29 before:2019/4/5
  • Keywords—Example: Company confidential
  • Message attributes, such as attachments—Example: has:attachment

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center

Archive email instead of deleting

Archived email messages move out of your inbox but stay under All Mail, so that you can find them later.

Archive an email

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. Open the message you want to archive.
  3. At the top, click Archive .

Tips:

Find archived messages

Important: When you search in Gmail, your results include archived messages. Learn more about search in Gmail.

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. On the left, click More.
  3. Click All Mail.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center

Delete email permanently

When you delete a message, it stays in your trash for 30 days. After 30 days, the message is permanently deleted from your account and can't be recovered.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. On the left of each message you want to delete, check the box.
  3. At the top, click Delete .

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center


Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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