Organizing Your Gmail Inbox With 'Labels'
By default, Gmail, much like any web-based mail, provides standard 'labels', sometimes called 'folders' in other email programs, such as INBOX, SENT MAIL, DRAFTS, and TRASH.
If you use the same email address for a long period of time, it's easy to fill your inbox with hundreds of emails you wish to keep, which are normally organized by most recent to less recent. This can result in clicking through several pages of emails to find an email you need from a year ago.
Gmail provides a 'Labels' system to help organize the inbox and enable users to find emails they need to keep over time quickly and efficiently.
For example, I have a favorite charitable organization I give to regularly, and when I donate I will receive a confirmation email with the amount I gave, check number, the date of the gift, etc. If I have been giving to this organization for several years, and I need to find the second gift I ever donated to them, I could easily waste a lot of time weeding through emails.
With Gmail's 'Labels' system however, I can create a folder called 'Giving', and each time I receive my confirmation email, I simply check the box next to the email, and move it to the 'Giving' label, where I can find any of my statments quickly.
You can create custom labels with any name you want, such as a label for emails only from a specific contact, or concering a certain subject, such as an event, project, or emails only from co-workers or classmates.
CREATING CUSTOM LABELS
At the top right hand corner of the Gmail window click SETTINGS.
In the SETTINGS menu, the second sub-heading from the left, click LABELS.
The first heading under LABELS is called SYSTEM LABELS. Under SYSTEM labels you will see the default Gmail labels. These default labels cannot be changed or removed, but you do have the option of whether or not they appear in the Gmail menu on the left of the Gmail window. To the right of each label, click 'show' or 'hide' to customize what default Gmail labels appear in your menu.
The second heading under LABELS is called LABELS. From this menu you can create custom labels to help organize your inbox. In the LABELS menu you also have the option to 'show', 'hide', or 'remove', which allows you to delete a custom label from your Gmail menu. You can also choose to 'show all' or 'hide all' created labels in your Gmail menu.
The SYSTEM LABELS and LABELS headings will be separated by a horizontal line in your main Gmail menu.
CREATING A NEW LABEL
To create a new label, type the name of label you want to create in the text box to the right of the LABELS heading. Now click the create button. Look in your Gmail menu on the left of your window. Your newly created label should now appear.
USING YOUR NEW LABELS
In your Gmail Inbox, check the checkbox of the email you want to move to your created label. Any emails with a check in the checkbox will be moved to the new label.
At the top of the inbox, click the MOVE TO button. A drop-down menu will appear listing your created labels.
Click the name of the label where you want to store the email.
Click the name of the folder you just chose in your Gmail menu. The email you moved should now appear.
Gmail organizes your created labels alphabetically by label name.