I have more than 100 labels in my Gmail account. They are currently displayed as a long list on the left side of the screen, and it's becoming quite difficult to use. Is there a way I can group certain labels? For example, I'm subscribed to a number programming mailing lists and want to group those labels as "Mailing lists" and collapse them, like folders in a file-system.
One thing I do to "group" some labels together without using nested labels is to prepend them with the same punctuation character.
+ _ ! | \ etc.
Then I can get my most important labels bubbled to the top and mostly ignore alphabetization.
!Dad !Mom !Work \Listserve1 \Zymurgy _Facebook _Twitter Bob Steve WoW
Sorry, probably not the answer you were looking for, but here are the rules that work well for me:
- Simplify your life.
- Do not have 100+ labels. Use a few, well chosen, simple, labels. I have around 10.
- Use "search". Since the "search" in gmail is astoundingly fast, usually you do not need to use labels. Use the search in gmail to find the email messages that you need.
After many years of managing multiple projects from the office and the field and trying the many many folder/label method, I follow this system:
- Pri 1
- Pri 2
- Pri 3
- Archive (Everything else...)
Then you put anything that requires action or is awaiting action in the Priority folders/labels. Then you never forget things and can set goals like: Complete/answer all Pri 1 before the day ends, etc. When new mail comes in, send it to the priority it warrants and stay on task. Magic.
Reference is for any e-mail you find yourself pulling up often for info repeatedly. Guiding direction from the boss, list of dates for something or a collection of hyperlinks to important stuff.
Also, if a message comes in with a junk subject, change it when you reply to something relevant (i.e. "Pictures!!" to "Christmas 2010 Pictures") and search will treat you well.
When managing your info cuts too deeply into actually doing something.... what's the point?
Among the solutions which GMail offers are:
- Drag rarely-used labels into the "more" folder.
- Enable the "Hide read labels" feature in Labs, so only labels containing unread messages are shown.
- Enable the "Nested Labels" ability in Labs (as mentioned in other posts).
Regarding mailing lists: if you haven't already done so, it might be worth checking if any of them are available as RSS feeds instead of e-mails. If so, you can shift some of the burden to Google Reader.
And if none of the above are sufficient, then I have to agree with joyjit's answer: if the problem is that you have too many labels, then you need to reduce the number of labels! :-)
Instead of using _ and | or ! as label starters, you can use emojis:🕙✅‼️*️⃣⚠️➡️ etc. The nice thing about these characters is that they can have a graphical meaning, like the checkbox for a todo list. The order in which they appear, it's trial and error.
All these tricks are about getting the label on top of the list. I want some of them to be on the bottom and haven't figured that out, except for using Z-labelname, which is an ugly solution.