I want to sort the labels in my own order instead of the default abc order, so that, for example, the label named bills should come up first.

Any way to do that?


2 Answers 2


I see two options. One of these may meet your need:

  1. Use the old trick of starting the label name with an underscore. That puts it at the top of the list. If you have more labels you want near the top, it will put them in alphabetical order. You would also use a combination of underscore and a number to force the order you want so that _1Zoo will come before _2bills

  2. Use multiple inboxes. This will let you put the extra inbox above, below or to the right of your main inbox. I use multiple inbox to display specific labels. Use the search query "is:bills" (without the quotes) to put all emails with that label in the extra inbox. You turn on multiple inboxes under the labs section of the settings page.

  • 2
    I use option 1, but I use a variety of punctuation (! $ *) to group some labels together.
    – ale
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 13:34
  • 2
    I find that the greater-than symbol > looks best, but that's obviously a personal choice.
    – user13779
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 21:30
  • I use a . myself, but like all of the above suggestions! Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 6:12

Gmail sorts in ASCII table order. This appears to be alphabetical order because the in the table, the numbers come before the upper case and the lower case come after those. But there are many printable characters in between. You can use them as prefixes to get clever with the sort order.

The ASCII characters in order are:


The ASCII table can be printed like so:

$ printf '%b' $(printf '\\x%x' {33..126})

$ printf '%b' $(printf '\\x%x' {33..47})

$ printf '%b' $(printf '\\x%x' {48..57})

$ printf '%b' $(printf '\\x%x' {58..64})

$ printf '%b' $(printf '\\x%x' {65..90})

$ printf '%b' $(printf '\\x%x' {91..96})

$ printf '%b' $(printf '\\x%x' {97..122})

$ printf '%b' $(printf '\\x%x' {123..126})

  • Except that Gmail does not care about capitals and has one simple order: (1) all non-alfanumeric, then A-Z/a-z.
    – SPRBRN
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 15:07

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