Folders vs. Labels
Apps mail doesn't use folders. Instead, to help you organize your mail more effectively, Apps mail uses "labels".
Basically, labels do all the work folders do and give you an extra bonus: you can add more than one to a message.
There is no limit to how many labels you can apply to an email. And, because Apps mail aggregates all related email messages into "conversations", when you label one message in the conversation, you automatically apply the labels to all the messages in the conversation.
You can view all the messages related to a label by clicking on the label name in the left side of your Apps mail window.
Suppose you receive an email from a student about his final research paper. With a folder system, you have only one choice where to "file" your email message - under "Students" or under "Research Projects" With labels, you can create several categories of organization and apply multiple labels onto an email. In this case, the email can have both the "Students" label where you keep emails from students and the "Research Projects" label where you keep emails regarding research projects. Now, to access the message, you can click on either of the labels you applied. If you click "Students" you will see all the messages that you have tagged with the "Students" label. If you click "Research Papers," you will see only the messages you have tagged with the "Research Paper" label.
Here's a breakdown of why we think labels are better than folders:
A conversation can have more than one label
You can only put a message in one folder
A conversation can be in several locations (Inbox, All Mail, Sent Mail, etc.) at once, making it easier to find later
You have to remember where you filed a message to retrieve it
You can search conversations by label
You can't always do folder-specific searches
If you delete a label, you do not delete the messages associated with it.
Apps mail has created several labels automatically with your account. These include
- Inbox shows your conversations (the number in parentheses indicates how many unread conversations you have).
- Starred shows you only messages you've marked with a star (use stars to mean whatever you'd like). Assign stars to special conversations or messages, or use them as a visual reminder that you need to follow-up on a message or conversation later. To apply a star, click the "star" next to a message or if you use keyboard shortcuts, use 's'.
- Chats lists your archived Chat conversations.
- Sent Mail shows messages you've sent.
- Drafts houses messages you've started and saved to work on later.
- All Mail is all the mail you have sent or received, regardless if it is still in the inbox or not.
- Spam is where we send the messages we think are suspicious.
- Trash is where messages you delete end up; you can empty the trash whenever you feel like it.
Please note: You cannot change the names of these labels, but you can choose which labels display along the left side of your mailbox.
Once you've created a label, you can view all the messages with that label by searching, or by clicking the label name along the left side of any Apps mail page.
You can start using labels to organize your email to make it easier to find the messages related to topics of your choosing. You could create labels for messages sent from parents or students in different classes, a label for emails coming from a core group of people like the Planning committee, labels for transactions, enewsletters, etc. Think of labels as a way to navigate through your inbox by category instead of chronologically as it is typically listed.
To start organizing and categorizing your email, create a label:
- Click the Labels drop-down menu or if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled, type 'l'.
- Enter the name of your new label and click Ok.
- You can also go to Settings and click the Labels tab.
- Enter name of your new label in the "Create a label" box and click Create.
If you'd like to keep organized, you can remove a labeled conversation from your inbox by archiving it and view it later by clicking All Mail, or by clicking the label name along the left side of any Apps mail page (it may be in the 'More' section of your labels).
You can also change a label name without impacting the messages associated with the label. All the messages categorized under your old label name will now be categorized under your new label.
You can edit a label through both the Labels list or the Labels tab of your Gmail Settings.
To edit a label through your Labels list, follow these steps:
- Click the square to the right of a label in your Labels list.
- A color palette and label options menu opens. Click Edit
- Enter the new label name, and click OK.
To edit a label through the Labels tab of your Apps mail Settings, follow these steps:
- Click the Settings link on the top of any Apps mail page.
- Select the Labels tab.
- Hover over the current label name and click on the name. A cursor should appear that allows you to edit the current label name.
- Click away from the label name and the edited name will be saved and updated.
All the messages categorized under your old label name are now categorized under your new label. And, if the label you've edited is part of a filter, Gmail automatically updates your filter settings so new messages are categorized with the new label's name.
Reference Folders vs labels