I’m considering migrating from Outlook to Gmail for everything, which would mean copying a ton of .pst files going back several years. Most of this is filed away in several sets of relatively extensive folders.

I’ve tested importing some of this into Gmail, which is slow, but seems to work okay. Gmail cleverly creates all the labels (folders) and nests them quite neatly. The problem is that there are so many labels it makes the whole labelling system unwieldy. This is because, when trying to Label (or Move to “folder”) a new email all the labels are shown in a “flat file” type interface. Is it possible to collapse the label list to the primary/root labels so that these can be opened when necessary? If not then this just about makes the move to Gmail a non-starter for me.

  • Can you just nest all the labels inside one big label called 'labels'
    – Kade
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 18:31
  • I'm thinking of the "Label as" and "Move to" icons at the top when email/s have been selected. These show the complete list of labels and I can't see that they can be collapsed. I would be possible to use the left side "navigation pane" where the labels can be nested by dragging the emails there, but unfortunately hovering over nested folders does not "un-nest" them, so this is not workable either.
    – userTony
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


I'm afraid, no, there's not a way to compress that list. You'll either need to reduce the number of labels you have or use some local JavaScript trickery to modify the list locally in your browser.

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