Applying labels to messages

You can add a label to your messages in several ways:

  • When viewing your Inbox, select the checkbox next to those messages, click the Labels  button, and click the label you want.
  • When viewing a message/folder, click and drag a label from the left side, and drop it on the message. If you want the message removed from your Inbox, drag the message to the label instead.
  • When writing a new message, click More options drop-down arrow More options in the bottom right corner of the compose window, click Label, and then select one of your labels.

When you add a label to a conversation, it only applies to the messages already in that conversation – not to messages sent after you applied the label. When you search for labeled messages, you'll see any messages that match the label, along with their conversation thread. However, you won't be able to search for an individual message in the thread that doesn't have that label.

Editing and deleting labels

  • Hover your cursor over the label on the left side of your Gmail page, and click the down-arrow that appears next to that label. A menu appears where you can change the label's color and edit its settings, or click Edit to change the label's name. In that menu, you can also click Remove label to delete the label from your list and remove it from all messages that were tagged with that label.
  • You can also edit and delete labels in the Labels tab of your Gmail Settings.

Label settings
You can control some of the settings for your labels on your Labels tab Get there by clicking the gear icon , select Settings, then Labels. Here are a few examples:

  • Choose which labels appear in your list on the left: In the "Show in label list" column, click the "show" or "hide" link next to each label to choose whether it will be shown in the left panel of your Gmail pages. You can also set labels to appear only when they contain unread messages (otherwise, they will be hidden). 
  • Choose which labels appear on your messages: In the "Show in message list" column, you can choose whether you'll see each label displayed next to its messages' subject lines. Click hide if you don't want to see that label name when you look at the messages it contains.

Note: Gmail supports a maximum of 5,000 labels, including sub-labels and IMAP keywords. If you exceed this limit, you may find that your Gmail experience is slower, and you may get an error. We suggest removing the labels that you might not be using anymore (deleting labels won't delete messages).