Hiding and Showing Labels in Gmail

Reduce clutter by showing only those messages that matter

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In Gmail, every label has its use and function, but there's no need to see labels you rarely use. Hiding labels is a simple matter in Gmail, as is restoring them when you want to see them again.

How to Hide or Show Labels in Gmail

Use the Labels settings menu to show or hide relevant labels:

  1. Open Gmail in a browser window. Select the Settings cog in the upper right area of the screen.

    Gmail Inbox in a web browser
  2. Choose Settings in the drop-down menu.

    Location of Gmail Settings option
  3. Select the Labels tab at the top of the Settings screen to display the Labels settings.

    The Gmail Settings screen in a browser
  4. Click show or hide for each label in the lengthy list. The settings window lists all labels. The first group contains system labels. The second group contains categories—the tabs many people see along the top row of the inbox. The third group contains your custom labels.

    The Labels screen in Gmail Settings

    You can use this shortcut link while logged in to Gmail to go directly to the Labels settings screen.

  5. Select show or hide for each system label. For categories and your custom labels, you can show or hide the labels in the label list (on the left side of the Gmail screen) or the message list or both. For your custom labels, you can flag them to show only if messages are unread.

    Gmail's Labels settings window screenshot
  6. Close the settings screen when you're done. All changes you make take effect immediately, so there's no need to save or confirm your updates.

The changes you make govern your entire Gmail account, but if you access Gmail through an IMAP-enabled mail program, your label settings won't govern which "folders" (labels) you see in the mail client. In the settings window, you can control which labels appear as folders in IMAP by checking the show in IMAP feature. This setting complements but isn't the same as hiding labels within Gmail itself.