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How to create folders in Gmail for sorting messages

Folders are a simple organizing tool. They’re effective and if you can take the time to create them, name them properly, and move items to them as and when they arrive, you will rarely lose files. Folders are a common enough concept on desktops but emails are also sorted into folders. Gmail is no exception though it doesn’t call its folders ‘folders’. Instead, they’re called labels, and they’re really easy to create. Here’s how you can create folders in Gmail.

Folders in Gmail

Open Gmail for web, and sign in. At the top right, you will see your profile picture. Under it, there’s a cogwheel button. Click it, and select Settings from the menu.

The Settings page has several different tabs. Go to the Labels tab and look for a button called ‘Create new label’. Click it.

You’ll get a window where you can enter the name of the label i.e., the folder you want to create, and an option to nest it under a different label. Nesting a label under another one is basically how you create a sub-folder but since this is an email service and not your desktop, nesting only goes one level deep. Click Create and the label will appear in the column on the left.

Labels are more than just folders; you can use them to automatically sort emails. They’re like rules that you can apply for emails that are coming in but unlike rules that the Mail app on macOS has, or that the Outlook desktop client has, these are fairly basic. Gmail calls them ‘filters’. To create a filter, you can select an email, and click the more options button at the top for the filter option.

As to why the folders are called labels, it might have to do with the language still going back to how emails or rather snail mail was stored back when it was common. It’s that or Gmail doesn’t see them strictly as folders and thus needed to differentiate them with a different name. Regardless, for desktop email clients that support it, when you connect a Gmail email these labels are imported as folders.

You can go back and edit a label whenever you want and if you’ve got one too many labels, you can assign a color to it. The labels are all sorted alphabetically so there’s no way to move a folder/label to the top of the list but an alphabetically sorted list is easy enough to use.

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