How to Label Outgoing Emails While Composing Them in Gmail

Labels for Art vs Craft Show

Allison McDonald/CC BY-SA 2.0

Gmail makes it fast and easy to apply labels to the emails you get so that those belonging together stay together, even when their subjects and senders and conversations do not.

What about the emails you send, though? To make them appear together with the other labeled messages (even when their subjects and conversations do not belong), you'll have to go to the Sent Mail label after delivery, check the messages and apply all desired tags or stars.

Fortunately, that's only one way to label or star outgoing mail. Gmail also allows you to tag and apply stars as you compose.

Label Outgoing Emails While Composing Them in Gmail

To add labels to an email you are composing in Gmail or star it (and have the labels or starring retained for all replies and other messages in the conversation):

  • Start with a new message in Gmail (clicking Compose or pressing C).
  • Click More options in the toolbar at the bottom.
  • To apply a label or more than one:
    • Make sure all labels you want to add are checked under Label as:.
      • You can use the search field to focus on only certain labels.
      • To add a new label:
        • Type the new label's name in the search field under Label as:.
        • Click ___ (create new).
      • To add or remove a single label:
        • Click its name in the list.
      • To add or remove more than one label:
        • Click the label's checkbox in the list.
  • To star the message:
    • Click Add star until the star you want to use shows in the list. Click again until an empty star appears to remove starring from the outgoing email.

Labels and stars will be applied to the entire conversation if your message starts one.

To apply labels and stars when replying and forwarding, tack them onto the conversation before or after sending your reply.

Label Outgoing Emails While Composing Them in Gmail (Using 'Old Compose')

To apply a label or star an email you are writing in Gmail (using an older composition screen):

  • Start a new message in Gmail.
  • Click the Labels button.
  • To add labels:
    • Make sure all desired labels appear checked by clicking their checkboxes.
    • To apply more than one label, make sure you click the checkbox, not the labels.
    • To apply or remove but one label, click its name.
  • To star the outgoing message:
    • Click Add star until the desired star appears.
    • Click Add star until an empty star appears to send the message not starred.
  • Continue composing and eventually send the message.

All applied labels will appear with the conversation you've started in your Gmail. Message recipients do not see the labels and stars applied to outgoing mail.

To apply labels when you compose a reply or forward in Gmail:

  • Click the Labels button for the conversation.
  • Make sure all desired labels are checked.
  • Click Apply.
    • To apply or remove an individual label directly, you can also click the label's name instead of its checkbox.

Note that you cannot star an outgoing email reply or forward as you compose it.