How to Use Gmail Folders to Keep Your Inbox Organized

How to Use Gmail Folders to Keep Your Inbox Organized

When you don’t know how to create folders in Gmail, your inbox controls you.

Each time a new message arrives, you’re more disorganized than ever.

Folders help you streamline your inbox and boost email productivity.

It’s time to take control and change your inbox from a cluttered mess to a picture of success.

Below are the simple tricks to organizing your old messages plus a bonus way to create folders for future emails.

chart-barBoost reply ratesWhich email messaging works best for you? Find out now and start getting higher reply rates

How to Create Folders in Gmail in 30 Seconds

First thing’s first: In Gmail, folders are referred to as labels.

Now, this part’s easy. Like, really easy.

To create a label, all you have to do is go to the left side of your inbox and click More. From there, you’ll see the option Create new label. In the pop-up window, name your label:

how to create folders in gmail

Just like that.

Note: You’ll also notice the option to Nest label under — where you can create new subfolders.

Let’s say, for example, you have a main folder for Google Alerts and you’d like to organize alert emails by month. You could create a label “Google Alerts” and then subfolders like  “January” and “February” to nest each month underneath.

Another way to create labels is by going through Settings:

  1. Click the Settings icon.
  2. Go to the Labels tab.
  3. At the bottom, click Create New Label.
  4. Name the label.
  5. Click Save.

how to create folders in gmail

Use These Inbox Hacks For Your Incoming Messages

How to Quickly Add a Label to a Message Sent To You

Now let’s go over how to create folders in Gmail for messages already in your inbox:

  1. Open the message.
  2. Click the Label button (It has a tag icon).
  3. Check off each label to want to add, or type a new label.

how to create folders in gmail

Pro tip: Add labels to multiple messages by selecting the emails from your inbox view and then clicking the Label button.

Want your templated emails to be even more effective? Email tracking will notify you when a recipient reads your emails, clicks a link, and views attachments.

How to Automatically Label an Email Based on Search Criteria

This part’s awesome.

If you want to know how to create folders in Gmail but don’t want to do the work each time, this is for you.

Click the down caret in the Google search bar, you can create automatic labels based on criteria.

Once you determine your criteria, click Create filter with this search (bottom right corner) then apply the label by clicking the Choose label drop-down:

how to create folders in gmail

clockIncrease inbox productivityAll-in-one suite of time-saving tools

How to Turn a Nest Label Into a Parent Label

  1. In Settings, click Edit in the actions column (for the label you want to move).
  2. Make sure Nest label under is not checked.
  3. Click Save.

how to create folders in gmail

Keep Your Sent Messages Organized With These Tricks

How to Manage Your Gmail Labels With Ease

Once you create labels, you may need to tweak them.

Whether you need to rename a label, hide one that you don’t want to delete, or remove a label altogether, there’s a simple solution for that within the Labels tab of Settings.

You can get there by either clicking More on the left-side of your inbox (then Manage Labels), or through Setting then Labels (as mentioned in previous step).

From this screen, you’ll see your labels (and sub-labels) listed with the option to show or hide them in the label list or message list.

From here, you can also remove or edit your labels:

how to create folders in gmail

How to Add a Label to a Message You’re Sending

This trick comes in handy when you’re sending outgoing messages that you want to be labeled:

  1. Click Compose.
  2. In the bottom right corner, click More options.
  3. Click Label.
  4. Choose a label to add.

how to create folders in gmail

Bonus: How to Create Folders For Future Emails

What if I told you that you could set up folders for future emails that would save you time writing and searching for old emails?

That’s why we created a tool that does it for you. It’s called Templates, and it appears as a button in your inbox.

The end picture: Your future emails are already written for you — they wait for you to add custom info and press “send.”

Here are some benefits of having a template library:

  • Quick, easy organization: Categorize your messaging (cold emails, follow-up, break up etc.) for fast reference.
  • Pre-filled messaging: The information you keep typing is already there for you, with placeholders for the info that changes. What it means for you? Less mistakes, more time saved. It’s a win-win.

Here’s how you can get started with templates:

  1. Get Yesware in your inbox (completely free, 60-second setup).
  2. Click on the Templates module.
  3. Create and save templates (or steal free ones from our blog — Bookmark this page for later).
mailTired of re-writing emails?Save your top-performing emails as templates

5 Folder Ideas To Keep Your Inbox Up-To-Date 

Your email habits say a lot about you.

Whether you’re a “zero inbox” type or totally unbothered by emails piling, you still need a way to keep organized.

Once you know how to create folders in Gmail, you can take it a step further and set up your labels for all future emails so you don’t need to worry about it down the road.

Here are 5 folders you can use to make your inbox a simple to-do list:

  1. Inbox: Unless you respond immediately and are waiting for an immediate response, there should be no emails here.
  2. Today: Time-sensitive. Requires a quick response.
  3. This week: Needs to stay top of mind by the end of the week.
  4. This month: Needs a longer-term response.
  5. FYI: An email that you may need to reference later. Purely informational.

Pro tip: Set a reminder email for Friday to respond to emails in the “This Week” inbox.

However, the way you organize your emails depends on what is most helpful for you.

After all, it’s your inbox.

Get started by listing out a few categories that your messages might fall into and start there. Remember, you can always delete or change labels if the methods aren’t working.

Extra Guides to Help Keep Your Inbox Organized:

Get sales tips and strategies delivered straight to your inbox.

Yesware will help you generate more sales right from your inbox. Try our Outlook add-on or Gmail Chrome extension for free, forever!

Hit your number every month

Get Yesware for free

Works on Outlook or Gmail (+ many more integrations)

Related Articles

Sales, deal management, and communication tips for your inbox