Creating and Using Folders in Gmail

April 1, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Organizing emails is simple – if you only have a few. The problems start when you begin receiving more and more and your inbox starts to get a bit full.

There are two ways in which you can deal with this in Gmail, enabling you to maintain a tidy inbox with vital emails stored away in appropriate folders or using labels. Whichever method you choose depends on how you interface with Gmail, but regardless of this finding the messages in question will be easy – either open the folder with messages of a certain subject in, or use the Search Mail function.

Creating and Using Folders in Gmail

Creating Folders in Gmail

If you are viewing your Gmail account in an email client such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird or Windows Live Mail, you will be able to create folders into which you can save or drag messages.

Creating the folder on your computer won’t necessary copy the folder and its contents to the web-based view of your Gmail account, however – to do this you will need to ensure you have your Gmail account setup as IMAP rather than POP.

To proceed with creating folders in your email client for your Gmail account, open the email client and left click on the inbox to select it. Right-click and in the context menu select New Folder…. This will then allow you to assign a name to the folder so that you can identify it – it is always sensible to name it appropriately so that it describes the contents.

You are now ready to start using the folder. You can move messages to it in several ways – for instance you can left-click and drag a message from the inbox view into the folder tree view on the left-hand side of your email client, or you can right-click the message and use the Move option to specify a new folder for it to sit in.

Using Labels as Folders

All of the above is only of any use if you access your Gmail account in an email client. If you collect messages via the web browser interface things are a little different – rather than using folders, you will need to use labels.

Begin by logging into your Gmail account in the web browser. There are two ways you can add a label, the first is via the Create new label link on the left, where you can add a label name and click OK to confirm it.

The second method is to use the Labels drop-down menu and then select Manage labels. This will display a new screen in which you can add labels with the Create a new label field and toggle how they will be displayed.

With your labels created, return to the inbox; you can move emails into folders and labels by left clicking them on their left-most side (you will see a small grid of 8 squares) and dragging to their new home. You can also check the box on multiple emails and use the Move to menu option.

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