6 Comments

Summary:

Google has announced that nested labels are now available in Gmail. It’s a really useful feature that provides an additional layer of organization for your inbox, and should be a welcome addition if you’re used to working with folders in other email clients.

Google has announced that nested labels are now available in Gmail. It’s a really useful feature that provides an extra layer of organization for your inbox, and should be a welcome addition if you’re used to working with folders in other email clients.

Nested labels are found in Labs, which can be accessed via Settings ->Labs. Scroll down to “Nested Labels,” hit the “Enable” button, then scroll to the bottom of the page and hit “Save Changes.”

You can now indicate label hierarchy by using slashes in the name of the label. For example, let’s say you had a top-level label “work,” and you wanted to add a sub-heading label called “web site project.” You’d simply create a label named “work/web site project.” Note that you can edit the names of existing labels (by clicking the “Manage Labels” link) to add an organizational structure to your existing labels.

On the right is a screenshot showing examples of my nested labels. I’ve used related label colors in order to accentuate the hierarchy — green and blue for work-related items, red and yellow for personal email.

An additional Labs feature, also announced yesterday, is “Message Sneak Peak,” which allows you to preview emails in a pop-up pane by right-clicking on them in your inbox. As with nested labels, to switch it on you’ll need to enable it via the “Settings” tab.

Let us know what you think of nested labels in the comments.

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  1. I think it’s excellent for all those folks who still want gmail to have folders… it makes only a minimal difference to me though.

  2. one more option…good organiztion tool. I jazz them up with color of option.

  3. This feature unfortunately doesn’t work with GTDInbox. Just a note for those that use it.

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  5. Nested folders are very useful for organization. Labels are useful, because files can have multiple labels. Nested folders is the best of both worlds. A file can “live” in multiple hierarchies. I want my OS’s filesystem to work this way.

    Two things to improve it further:
    1) When creating a “nested” label; that is, a label which is a “path”, the parent labels should be automagically created if they do not already exist, otherwise, the nesting is broken.
    2)An option to show all child items would be really useful. For example: currently, if I have items in ToDo/personal and ToDo/work, and I select the ToDo label, I get nothing. I should be able to see all items from parent and all child labels.

    Did I mention that I want my OS’s filesystem to work this way too? Having the ability for files to “live” inside multiple locations seems to me to be a killer app for modern OS’s.
    -Mike

  6. @IM2MIKEJONES

    I use Search Folders to accomplish this in my OS of choice (Mac OS X). I used to do it in Gnome years ago too. It’s great. I can have client files appear under their respective company folders, but I can also have a “folder” that shows me all “Illustrator or Photoshop” files (which many are naturally contained in respective client folders). It’s GREAT! Using custom search parameters to accomplish this is a lot like Gmail’s labels, which is probably why I like Gmail’s labels so much. It just makes sense. I begrudgingly used Outlook type folders for years, and the trouble is you have to remember WHERE you filed something. Is the design spec in the folder named for the client or the person that sent it to me? I would often have to resort to searching for things in Outlook, in spite of the fact that I had hundreds of folders and an anal filing system. Labels (or tags, as they’re called all around the web) are a great way to organize information without physically relocating files. It gives you multiple ways to view the same thing. I enabled the nested folders lab, just to try it out… but I suspect the only use I’ll get out of it is showing it to friends/co-workers that can’t seem to get used to the original labels Gmail provides.

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