Gmail labels and how to use them

You can create and use labels to organize your email messages into categories, like work, family, to-do, read later, or any other category you want. Labels are private to you. They work like folders, but you can add more than one to a message or delete labels you don’t want.

Create a label

You’ll need to use your computer to create a Gmail label.

  1. On a computer, open Gmail and sign in.
  2. On the left, below your labels list, click More. If you don't see More, drag the gray dividing line down to show more labels.
  3. Click Create new label.
  4. Type the name of your new label.
  5. Click Create.

Apply one or more labels to a message

When you add a label to a conversation, it only applies to the messages already in that thread. When you search for labeled messages, you'll see any messages that match the label, along with their conversation thread.

  1. On a computer, open Gmail and sign in.
  2. Select the checkbox next to a message.
  3. At the top, click Label .
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To add one label to the message, click the one you want to add.
    • To add more than one label, check the boxes next to the ones you want, then click Apply.

You can also add a label to a message you’re writing.

  1. At the bottom right corner of the message, click More options .
  2. Click Label.
  3. Choose one or more of the labels.
Android Gmail app
  1. Open or select one or more messages.
  2. Touch the menu ( Menu or your device's menu button).
  3. Select Change labels.
  4. Check or uncheck labels.
  5. Touch OK.
iPhone or iPad
  1. Open the Gmail app.
  2. Open a message.
  3. At the top right, touch the down arrow .
  4. Touch Label.
  5. Check the box or boxes for the labels you’d like to add to the message.
  6. At the top right, touch Apply.

Organize your labels

Edit or delete a label
  1. On a computer, open Gmail.
  2. On the left side of the Gmail page, point your mouse at the labels.
  3. Next to the label you want to edit, click the down arrow that shows up.
  4. In the box that appears, edit the label.
  5. Optional: If you’d like to make this a sub-label inside one you’re already using, click the checkbox beside “Next label under” and pick the existing label you want.
  6. Click Save.
Change your label settings
  1. On a computer, open Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click the settings icon Settings.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click Labels.

Some settings you can change:

  • Choose which labels appear on the left side of your Gmail page
  • Set labels to appear only when they include unread messages
  • Choose which labels show up on your messages
  • Delete labels

Note: Gmail lets you use up to 5,000 labels. If you go over the limit you might have problems with Gmail.

Vivian is a Gmail expert and the author of this help page. Leave her feedback about this help page.

Was this article helpful?