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When I'm looking at the list view in Gmail and select a checkbox of an email - up the top I have a drop-down button with a folder icon appears. Clicking on it gives a "move to" and a list of folders.

I get the same icon when I'm inside a single email.

But when I'm looking at search results - I don't get it. All I get is the 'label as' button.

If I click on a single email and am 'inside it' then I get the 'move to' button as well. But the search results don't have it.

My question is: How do I 'move to folder' in Gmail search results?

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It seems to me that "Move to" is not available with search results because of the way it works.

In the places where it is available, using "Move to" removes the label that's being viewed (or "inbox") and adds the label that you "move" the messages to. It's a compromise for people who are too used to working with folders rather than labels.

When you've done a general search, you may have many disparate labels on the messages. "Move to" would remove all of them in favor of the new one chosen. I'll bet that most people don't want to do that (Principle of Least Astonishment) and so, you need to be explicit about the labels you want to add and remove from the "Label" menu.

(My weak memory seems to think that "Move to" used to be available everywhere, so now that it's not, it's likely that they got a ton of questions about it on their product forums and decided to change things a bit. I may be completely misremembering, however.)

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Moving multiple messages to another folder from a list of search results is super easy and fast. You just need to do a couple more clicks than the "Move To" option elsewhere in Gmail:

  1. Select the conversations you want to move from the search results page.
  2. Apply the LABEL that you want to move the conversations to from the "Label" icon (now they're labeled, but not yet 'moved to' that new 'folder'.)
  3. Click the "Archive" icon (in the same bar of icons as "Label" above the message list), and you're done.

Don't ask me why Gmail doesn't just put a "Move To" icon above its search results. It would save a lot of headaches! But the directions I just listed are exactly the same process that Gmail uses behind the scenes when you use "Move To" anywhere else in Gmail. Every time you move a message from, say, the Inbox to another so-called 'folder', all that happens is Gmail adds the desired label and removes the 'Inbox' label. "Archiving" simply removes a message from 'Inbox' without moving it to 'Trash'.

See others' posts above for a more thorough explanation of why/how this works. Gmail's 'folders' aren't actually folders--it all works with labels. Even the Inbox is just a label, the one that Gmail 'opens to' when signing in; it's the label that Gmail applies by default to incoming messages.

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It works exactly as expected.

If you have zero emails selected you only see: check boxes, refresh and more buttons.

If you have one or more emails selected you see : check boxes, Archive, Spam, Delete, Move to inbox, Labels, and more buttons.

Until you have selected some emails the software doesn't give you options. Without selecting one or more emails commands such as Archive or move to folder don't make sense.

If you want to move all of the emails, the check box button is a pull sown which has several options including All.

Update:

Two situations are possible:

  • when searching and working with the results. The software gives you a labels button. You can add or remove any number of labels to the selected messages.
  • If you click on a label and then select one or more messages then you can get to the "Move to" button. That button strips off the current label, and then adds the specified label. If there is more than one label, then the label being removed is the active label. In fact they even give you a button to remove the active label without having to add a label.
  • But in search results, if you only have one selected - then you don't have 'move to folder'. In regular folder view you do have 'move to folder'. – hawkeye Dec 26 '16 at 11:27

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