Quick tips for managing your Gmail labels and filters

popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
While doing a recent cleanup and consolidation of my Gmail labels and filters I noticed an issue that's good to be aware of when managing your lists. I wanted to reduce my number of labels so that they are all viewable when I am on smaller monitors such as my laptop screen. For example I consolidated all of my Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube style sites into a single Social Networking label. If you delete a label before you update your filters it's a lot harder to go back and cleanup your filters since the filters start losing parts of the filtering rules as you are deleting the labels.

The common sense order for doing a label and filter cleanup is :
  • Create all new labels that you need
  • Update all filters so that labels you plan to delete are no longer used
  • Delete all unused labels after your filters have been updated
It is safe to rename a label at any time. Go to your Gmail settings and click the labels tab. Double click on a label to update the name. Any filters referencing that label will be automatically updated to use the new label name.
 
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Big Dan

EQ Forum Moderator
A neat thing I figured out is if you use a slash in your label like: Business/Marketing it shows up as a subfolder via IMAP. It's not very useful though as Gmail with automaticly use the full label on the web interface.
 

popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
There is also a lab for nested labels. Do you have that enabled?

Gmail - Nested Labels.JPG
 
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popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
Something else I've done recently is to set most of my labels to only show when there are unread emails.

Gmail Labels - Show if Unread.JPG

There are some labels I click into that have saved emails, but most I delete as I'm reading them (unless I star them) so this helps to keep my left navigation less cluttered.

BTW, I do have 1 nested label for "forum errors" under my "forums" label so I can quickly delete big batches of db errors w/o needing to scan through and pick out other emails that I have not read yet.
 
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popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
I also like to use the +extension feature when registering on web sites so I can easily kill an address I don't to receive email To: anymore. For example, if your username is username@gmail.com, you can sign up at a website with username+website@gmail.com and filter against email To: that address. It's too bad not every web site allows that and gets confused thinking the plus sign is an illegal character.
 
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