Google Apps: Gmail Labels


After introducing many small and medium sized businesses to Google Apps it became clear that most were only scratching the surface of the capabilities built into the Google products.

Google does an outstanding job of creating clear documentation explaining how each of the Google Apps work. We wanted to share how these innovative features can be used in your day to day business work flow.

We hope that these documents help you maximize the impact of your efforts by utilizing Apps to their full potential.

Google Apps Gmail has many great features that can simplify your email work flow and organization. One of these features is the labels, Google’s alternative to folders.

Most users are used to a traditional email client with a tree structure of folders and sub-folders. Almost all users manually maintain their folders by dragging messages from the inbox to their final resting place. Not only is this extremely time consuming, but it is also not uncommon for a message to get placed into the wrong folder. Filters are not commonly used to automatically place messages in folders because they are complicated to create and more importantly, users want the messages to come into the inbox first.

Labels can provide the same type of organization you get from traditional folders, but give you a few extra bonuses.

Gmail makes creating filters incredibly easy. You can either manually select messages or perform a search which selects messages, then click “filter messages like these”.


The filter can apply a label (which is the same as putting it into a folder) and still have it show up in the inbox as well.

You can’t be in two places at once. Traditional folders force you to decide where a message should be. Labels allow messages to appear in multiple labels, including the Inbox. So your filters can run automatically as messages arrive but are not lost in a folder where you won’t see them.

You can view all the messages with a label by clicking the label name along the left side of any Gmail page. For the screen shot below I choose the label Craig, you can see that all messages tagged with Craig are shown but if a message has more than one label it is available as well.


You can manually apply labels as well by manually dragging the label over one or more selected messages. In the screenshot below I dragged the label Wendy and applied it to the message.


If your users are using the Google Apps Sync Tool then their Outlook folder structure will reflect exactly on their Google Apps Gmail account as well.

The below image shows a typical Outlook folder structure before Google Apps. The Google Apps Sync Tool applies labels which are identical to their Outlook folder counterparts.

Outlook with Folders and Sub-Folders

Outlook with Folders and Sub-Folders

Google Apps Gmail with Labels

Google Apps Gmail with Labels

For more details on adding, creating and changing labels go here. For a great video that explains labels even more, go here.

MxToolBox is proud to be a certified Google Apps Reseller. We would be happy to talk with you to determine if Google Apps would be appropriate for your business. We help our clients with initial configuration, planning the migration of existing data, and deployment so that they can take full advantage of all the services and features provided by Google Apps. Please contact us at 866-MXTOOLBOX or

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