At work today I was organizing my gmail and I was really appreciating Gmail labels and ran into a problem I was able to navigate through. Originally I’d taken a minimalistic approach and I tried to put all email in one of about 4 labels, one of which was Current Projects. Originally this worked well until I found I had several emails from several projects under this label at which point the label became meaningless.
REORGANIZE GMAIL LABELS: DETAILS
In this case I wanted to expand Current Projects into clients, so let’s use ficitonal Acme Corp, Best Enterprises and Client Management LLC. Here ar the steps and workarounds when you run into trouble reorganizing your emails into new labels.
To start I clicked Current Projects label showing me all of the emails I need to assign new labels. From the I did a search to find all emails for Best Enterprises, so I could click the All link to highlight all of the emails I found via search for this client, then assign it to the new label “Best Ent.” After the new label was assigned I could then select More Actions > Remove > Current Projects and all of the Best Enterprises emails were now assigned their own label.
The next 2 groups of emails defied my best attempts to repeat what I’d done above so I was stuck either doing several searches, or going up and down the list of emails and individually selecting the checkbox next to each one. I decided to go with individually selecting the checkboxes and then changing their label, and when I did so wouldn’t you know it I put all of the Acme Corp emails into the Client Management LLC label. Luckily there is not only an undo feature, but all of the emails were assigned the newly created Client Management LLC label needed to be assigned the Acme Corp label. Easy to fix, either click the undo link then assign the correct label, or select all of the emails in the wrong label and assign them the new label, them remove the wrong label. I chose the former simply because I’d never used “undo”. Running on broadband undo action on about 30 mis-filed emails took what felt like forever (probably 10-30 seconds). The last steps were to assign the correct label (Acme Corp), remove the Current Projects label, then drop all of the remaining Current Projects emails into the Client Management LLC label.
REORGANIZE GMAIL LABELS: QUICK RUNDOWN
- Select the label you want to reorganize
- See if you can use the search function while in that label and reassign large chunks of emails to the new label, then removing the old label
- After searching becomes useless switch to manually clicking the checkbox next to emails and reassign them to the new label, and remove the old label
- Luckily when you reassign labels in this fashion you can click and undo link at the top of the screen if you’ve just assigned a bunch of emails to the wrong place
REORGANIZE GMAIL LABELS: QUESTIONS
Q. Why not remove the old label first, then assign the new label second?
A. I tried that and considering step 1 was to go into the label that needs reogranizing that means when you remove the old label as step 1, all of those emails disappear from the current view and you need to switch labels to then remove the old label.
Q. Why not use search to identify all of the emails instead of doing manual selection of checkboxes to reassing the labels?
A. If you can do that, great! In my case it simply wouldn’t work since project info was emailed to from the same people (could not identify a searchable FROM email address) , the name of the client or their website was not present in all emails (could not search SUBJECT or BODY for any readily identifiable terms), and the timelines of the projects overlapped wildly (could not ssearch by date ranges).
Other questions? drop them in the comments below and I’ll add the interesting ones into this section.