How To Automatically Label Emails In Gmail

Email management is one of the most common complaints of the modern employee. Whether you’re managing work emails, personal ones or whatever, maintaining control over a bulging inbox is definitely a 21st century problem. Gmail does have tools to help with that, one of which is labeling. It’s a useful tool for sorting important emails from those that can wait. This tutorial is going to show you how to automatically label emails in Gmail for better inbox management.


Email Basics

Labels in Gmail are like filters. A label marks a particular email with a tag and you can use filters to order them. You can apply multiple labels to an email and then sort them automatically into folders. So when an email arrives, it can be tagged and then automatically sorted into a folder while a copy is left in your Inbox or archived from view.

If you have a busy inbox, having your emails sorted into logical categories can help managing it much more efficient. You could have all personal emails labeled, have emails from your boss labeled, work orders labeled and create labels for all kinds of reasons.

Using automatic label emails in Gmail

You can create as many Gmail labels as you like and apply multiple labels to any email. It’s a very flexible system that does a lot to help manage busy inboxes and organize your emails into any order you like.

Here’s how to use them:

  1. Log into Gmail and select More from the left menu.
  2. Select Create New Label at the bottom of the menu.
  3. Give your label a name and set up its position, either as a folder or nested within another folder.
  4. Select Create to finish.
  5. Open your inbox and select a mail of the type you want to filter.
  6. Select the three dot menu icon at the top right of the email and select Filter Emails Like This.
  7. Enter a criteria for the label/filter.
  8. Select Create Filter.

You can use the from, to and subject fields as filters or include or exclude words. You can even filter emails by size or whether it has an attachment or not.

For example, I have a label for junk mail that Gmail’s own filters don’t pick up. In Step 7 above, I add the word ‘Unsubscribe’ to the ‘Includes the Words’ criteria to label and filter all marketing emails. That does depend on the email having an unsubscribe section within it but most legitimate marketing mails include that even if it’s a fake link.

Then, as every marketing email arrives, Gmail applies the label and sends it to a folder called My Junk. I can then go through it at my leisure to filter out the good ones from the bad.

Using Gmail labels efficiently

As you can see from the above, Gmail labels have huge potential in terms of inbox management. You can sort by any criteria you would typically expect in email from within the app itself. Those emails will then be filtered into folders and either remain in your inbox or be removed once filtered.

Mark emails as important with a label

Say you’re a freelancer and always want emails from clients to be prioritized. You can use a label to mark them as important and send them directly to a priority folder. I use this method to make sure I am always on top of client emails and don’t leave them waiting for too long. You could do the same for your boss, manager, significant other, mom or whoever.

  1. Create a new label as above and call it something meaningful.
  2. Select the gear icon at the top right of your inbox and select Settings.
  3. Select the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab and Create New Filter.
  4. Name your new filter and add the email addresses of your priority sender in the From section.
  5. Select Create Filter.
  6. Select to Apply the Label in the actions window and select the label you have created. You can also select to Skip the Inbox and have the email sent straight to your priority email folder if you like.
  7. Select Create Filter once done.

You can use as many or as few of those options as you see fit to efficiently label emails and send them to a priority folder. If you have a busy inbox, you may want those emails to skip it altogether and be sent directly to a folder of your choice. Whichever works best for you. All you need to do now is get into the habit of checking that folder regularly as well as your inbox!