Sometimes I am searching for messages from a specific sender and when I get the results and select all messages I cannot move them to "Folders". I can only move them to "Labels" which is not what I want because they will appear in "Labels" and in the Inbox as well which defeats the purpose of organizing messages in folders. How do I do what I want?

Also how do I sort messages by "Unread" in inbox and in search results? I also would like to sort by "Date" after sorting by "Unread".


3 Answers 3

  • The biggest disappointment many people have in Gmail is when we try to sort messages. There was never any way to sort by anything. It's always default to descending date. If you need to browse your mailbox in a different way, get IMAP and an email client. While I kinda agree with this approach, sometimes I do miss at least being able to sort dates in reversal order (oldest first).

    You can try and suggest it as a new feature. It's even already pre-suggested there! Maybe some time in the future we'll have it.

  • The Move To drop down is there just because too many people were too lazy to re-learn how to manage their mailbox and requested folders. It's just a hack that actually does 2 commands at once: insert label "foo" and remove current label - which can be inbox, a system label. Similarly, Archive is a hack to remove inbox label.

Now, if you, reader, are willing to understand why Gmail is so different and so many people like it... Keep reading, including every link. ;-)

You really should learn more about Gmail labels. It's not just how to use them. It's a whole different organizational approach. In the long run you will enjoy much better if you structure your mails with labels rather than folders because there really is no need for folders once you get used to it - at least for a regular person mailbox. And, by the way, the idea is keeping the inbox empty through archiving.

Try to re-think how you handle your mailbox in general. There's no need to use a lot of old resources-on-how-to-find-mails such as folders and sorting because you can simply search. And so labels are all about adding keywords to most relevant items or to highlight them in another way.

The disadvantage labels used to have is that with too many of them, the labels menu can get messy for browsing (like you would browse folders). But that was "fixed" with nested labels. Actually a much better fix is using less labels or hiding the less used ones. We hardly ever need that many.

  • 1
    Okay but why when i searched for something, i do not see "Archive" any longer?
    – Boris_yo
    May 9, 2011 at 5:21
  • @Boris What do you mean? The only "Archive" I can see on gmail is the button right beside Report Spam and it is always there.
    – cregox
    May 9, 2011 at 14:49
  • Does anyone know if there's a reason why the folderize option disappears when performing a search? As you said in your answer, it does 2 commands at once, that's why it's extremely useful IMHO Oct 16, 2015 at 22:02
  • If you mean page size, @fabriced, "there's an app for that" webapps.stackexchange.com/a/56999/4616 - but I highly recommend simply switching to Inbox. ;)
    – cregox
    Oct 17, 2015 at 4:19

Gmail uses labels, they don't use folders, you'll need a different email program for that.

The Move To dropdown, is just a combination of labeling and archiving. Archiving in Gmail, just hides your email by removing the inbox system label.

  • 2
    Then what is this? Move To and Labels are not same thing.
    – Boris_yo
    May 5, 2011 at 23:31
  • 1
    @boris, edited in more to answer. May 5, 2011 at 23:34
  • Okay but why when i searched for something, i do not see "Archive" any longer?
    – Boris_yo
    May 9, 2011 at 11:04
  • @Boris, To see the archived emails you can just search, or choose the "All Mail" link from the label list on the left (after you dropdown the list). May 9, 2011 at 14:59
  • @Boris_yo: All "Archive" does is remove the Inbox label.
    – ale
    May 9, 2011 at 18:06

If you search for "label:unread" (without quotes,) Gmail will pull up all the unread messages. Similarly searching for "label:starred" (without quotes) will pull up all the starred messages. In my case, I need to search for "label:unread label:inbox" so that I don't pull up all the unread messages in my other folders.

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