How to Create Folders, Subfolders, and Nested Labels in Gmail

Use labels and folders to keep your email organized

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In Gmail, not only can you create folders to stay organized, but you can also set up subfolders and nested labels to keep your labels sorted.

Stay Organized With Gmail Folders

Stay organized with one label or folder for mom, one for dad, one label for this project, and another folder for that.

Gmail's labels are incredibly useful for organizing emails. You can add any conversation to any number of labels and create as many labels as you need.

Of course, you'll want to organize those labels or folders. 

Create Folders, Subfolders, and Nested Labels

To set up a subfolder or nested label in Gmail:

  1. Click the Settings gear icon near the top right corner of the Gmail screen.
  2. Follow the Settings link in the menu that comes up.
  3. Go to the Labels tab.
  4. To create a new nested label:
    1. Click Create new label in the Labels section.
    2. Type the new label's desired name under Please enter a new label name.
    3. Check Nest label under: and select a label from the drop-down menu.
  5. To move an existing label beneath another label:
    1. In the section of the Labels tab, click Edit in the Actions column for the label you want to move.
    2. Check Nest label under: and select a destination from the drop-down menu.
  6. Click Create or Save.

Move a Gmail Folder to the Top or Turn It Into a Subfolder

To move any label and make it the subfolder of another or to move it to the top level:

  1. In the Labels tab, click Edit in the Actions column for the label you want to move.
  2. To move the label beneath another label:
    1. Make sure Nest label under: is checked.
    2. Select the label under which you want to move the label from the drop-down menu.
  3. To move the label to the top, make sure Nest label under: is not checked.
  4. Click Save.

A parent label becomes bold in Gmail when any of its sub-labels contain an unread message.