Monday, November 24, 2014

Gmail (Pirate Email) Labels

Google email is focussed around searching and filtering. Understanding this will help you have a better email experience. Gmail uses labels to help categorize things in searching.
In today's post I'll start with some background on Gmail (Part 1) and do a how-to on Labels (Part 2).

Part 1 - Some background on Gmail

All of the labels in google are listed right under the compose button on the left side of the Gmail window. By default, Google shows you only a few of the labels the system created.

To get the concept, start with this basic idea: Google puts all of your email in one large bucket. EVERYTHING is in one container (All Mail). You will probably need to click on the More link to see your All Mail link.

When new mail comes in Gmail labels it with the Inbox tag - I can see that label (and others) when I click on the All Mail link on the left.

When I click on Inbox in the list of Labels (on the left) Gmail shows me everything labeled with Inbox (though the "Inbox" label does not show on the email because I am only viewing items labeled with "Inbox").

Click on the image below to see a larger view and see the side-by-side comparison of All Mail and my inbox.
Notice the first three messages are the same message, but on the left (in All Mail) the new items are labeled with the "Inbox" tag.
On the left notice that there are additional messages that are no longer marked with the Inbox Label - they don't show on the right.

Part 2 - Labels

Now that you understand labels let me show you how to manage them. Click on the More link on the left and scroll to the bottom of the list of labels.

Click on the Manage Labels link.

The Labels tab will open. (You can also get to this page from Settings > Labels.)

From here you may need to scroll down to find the Create new label button.

Once you click the button you will see a New Label box open. To add a label type the name and click the Create button.

Your label will appear in the list of labels on the left side of the screen. Here I have highlighted my School Chats label

To NEST a label (like a sub-folder) type the name, select the parent label from the drop-down list, and click the Create button

Nested labels appear in the list with a triangle to the left of the parent label. Here you can see the Pirate Admin Mail has a nested folder called Server Health

You have several options for applying the labels - here are two.
1. You can drag the mail to the label on the left.

2. You can select the email or emails you want to label and click the label button at the top of the screen.
As you can see you can select multiple labels for a single email, as well as manage the labels from this menu.

You can decide what shows in the label list click on Manage Labels from the label menu on the left. Here we see the Labels tab of the settings.

Here you can choose what shows above and below the More link in the label list. If you choose to hide a label (under the Show in label list heading) you will need to click the More link to see it. You can also adjust which labels appear in the message list by choosing show or hide under the Show in message list heading.

Finally, to customize the look of your label click on the arrow to the right of the label (the arrow only appears when you hover over it).

From here you can adjust the color settings, where the label shows, as well as edit the label.

Have fun labeling your mail. In the next few weeks I will post a lesson on filtering, which works well once you are familiar with labels.

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