Using labels in Gmail is a great way to organize email in your inbox. By creating custom labels, you can quickly find what you're looking for and make managing email so much simpler.
In this video, Scott Friesen shows you how to create labels in Gmail. He also gives you step-by-step instructions on how to use labels to help you be more efficient with your inbox.
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If you want to be more effective with managing all of your emails, you need to get familiar with labels. So in this video, I'm going to show you everything you need to know about how to use and create labels right here within Gmail. Here on the left-hand side of my screen, you can see that I am using several labels. And within my messages themselves, you can see that I've applied several of these labels. This can make it so much easier for me to find the information that I'm looking for and to highlight certain messages such as these two urgent emails. So, what exactly are labels? Well, labels are an awful lot like folders, allowing you to categorize your messages. However, unlike standard file folders, you can apply labels to as many emails as you like, meaning that a single email here can have as many labels and doesn't have to reside or be assigned to a single folder. This can give you a lot more flexibility when it comes to managing all of your messages. So to create a label, all we need to do is come over here and hit the plus symbol to the right of Labels. The first thing we need to do is give this a name. And in this case, I'm going to title this Manager because maybe I want to identify all of the messages which are being sent from my manager. Now, in this case, I'm going to leave this checkbox unchecked, but we'll come back and address how we can nest and create sub-labels a little later on. At this stage, I'm going to select Create. And now here on the left-hand side, in alphabetical order, you can see my new label presented as Manager. Now, perhaps the first thing you'll want to do before you start using that label is to change the color. As you can see in the examples here, having distinct and different colors can really make things stand out. So in this case, I'm going to select the three dots and my very first option here is to choose a label color. In this case, I'm going to select this blue color so it can stand out from some of the other labels that I'm currently using. And you may also notice by selecting these three dots, you have other options available to you here as well. For example, by default, when you create a label, it will always show in the label list and it will always show in the message list, meaning when you've opened up an email and you want to apply a label, but you can always come here to adjust those settings. You can select the Edit button if you need to rename that label and if you'd like to remove a label or add a sub-label. So in this case, let's go ahead and add this label to a couple of our messages. Now, there's a few ways in which we can do so. Perhaps one of the easiest is to just simply drag that label onto a message. So if I click and drag, I can just apply that label to this message here. Let's do that one more time and I'm going to apply it to this message down below. So that is perhaps the easiest way to apply labels. Now, we can also do it in the reverse order, but if you click and drag a message from your inbox into a label, not only will it apply the label, but it will remove it from the inbox. So for example, I'm going to take a look at this "We have news for you" email. I'm going to click, I'm going to drag it over my Manager label, but it's telling me that it's actually going to move this conversation in addition to applying that label. You can now see that that message is gone. But if I click on the Manager label, it is now waiting for me here, along with the other two emails, which I've applied that label. You'll also notice that when you click on the label here on the left-hand side now that we're only viewing those messages with those labels, the label will not appear on the front of the email. That's because Gmail assumes that you know that these are all Manager emails. And at the very top in our search bar, it's going to tell us this as well. But if I was to open up any of these emails, you can see that this label is applied at the top of the screen. And that leads us to the third way of applying labels right here within Gmail. If I open up this email and I start to read it, perhaps I've decided that yes, I'd like to apply a particular label. Now, I could go over here and drag this label onto this email once again. And if you ever need to remove a label, all you need to do is select the X here, but I could also come to the top of the screen. This is especially useful if I have a very long list of labels. If I select the label icon, not only will it give me a full list and allow me to apply multiple labels at once, but I can also search for a particular label. So if I start entering in the words UR, it's going to filter that down to my Urgent label. I'm going to select that and select Apply. Once again, you can apply multiple labels at once. So if I want to apply my Manager and my Newsletters label to this as well, I can do so and have three different labels apply to a single email. Returning back to our inbox, we can also apply labels to multiple messages. So for example, if I come over here to the left-hand side and start to select let's say these three messages and maybe one more down below, I can come up to the top of the screen and again select that label icon. I'm going to start typing in the name of the label I want, that Manager label, and hit Apply. Now I've applied that label to four messages at once, which has made it that much easier rather than going into each one one at a time. Returning to our inbox, let's take a look at a few more ways in how labels can help us stay organized within Gmail. Under the Labels menu, you will notice that there is a number beside some of my labels. Just like your inbox will tell you how many unread messages you have, your labels will do the same thing. So for example, if I click on my Action Required even before I enter into this label menu, it's telling me that I have six unread messages. Clicking on this will actually show that I have a total of nine, but there are three in which I have read already. These numbers can be a helpful indicator as to how often or when you should be checking in on some of your labels. But another way which labels can be useful is if we create nested labels, sometimes also referred to as sub-labels. So within Newsletters, I have an awful lot of things going on. So maybe I would like to segment this out in a few more ways. What we can do is come up here to Labels. And in this case, I'm going to call one Golf Digest because perhaps I receive a number of golf-related newsletters. This time, I am going to check the nest label under and I'm going to select Newsletters because I want this label to appear within the Newsletters label category. I'm going to select Create and now on the left-hand side, you can see that I have Golf Digest listed here. Now, you can add as many nested labels as you like. And if it gets a little too busy, you can always collapse that menu so now the Golf Digest has been minimized, but I can expand it at any time. Let's go back to my inbox and I'm going to apply this label to a message which I have not applied a label to yet just to show you how it will be displayed. Here, you can see that two labels will not be assigned, but it will actually show both of the labels. If I click on this message itself, you can see that it will show the parent or top-level label Newsletters slash the name of that sub-label. Now, you can nest other labels within other labels, so these can sometimes get a little lengthy, but it can be a great way to segment out different pieces of information. Now, despite all of your efforts, it can be rather difficult to reduce the amount of spam and unwanted email you receive. But there's a reason why I only have eight messages here in my inbox and not 152, like I did just a few days ago. And that's because I'm using SaneBox, the easy and simple way to better manage your email inbox. With SaneBox, SaneBox gives you some very customizable folders that actually learn from your behavior. So rather than just adding a new label, like I would typically do here within Gmail, SaneBox has actually added some customizable folders which have some pretty special powers with them. So for example, there's a lot of email that I don't want to start here in my inbox. Rather than creating a number of individual filters, what I can do is train SaneBox to send certain messages to the SaneLater folder where I can come and review these messages whenever I need to. And if something ends up here in my inbox that I want to see in the SaneLater folder going forward, all I need to do is drag it over and it will learn from my behavior. 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