Might there be a better, faster, easier way to open folders in Gmail? Find out below all the ways to go to a folder in Gmail and pick your favorite.

First, a Nerve Springs from the Heart

Where does it land? Macobius tells us what the Ancient Egyptians thought in his Saturnalia, that late-Roman treasure-trove of lore and culture:

[The nerve] runs forward all the way to the finger next to the pinky on the left hand

There you go: on the left hand, the finger next to the pinky is connected to the heart. Let’s put a ring on it and likewise go straight to the heart!

Want to go straight to folders in Gmail, too? Chances are, some are connected straight to the finger next to the pinky on your left hand:

All the Ways to Go to a Folder in Gmail

Using the Gmail Navigation Bar

To open a folder or label using the left Gmail navigation bar:

  1. Click the desired label (folder) in your Gmail’s left navigation bar.
    Notes:

    • If you do not see the folder listed, click ⌄ More at the bottom of the visible folder list.
    • With a collapsed folder list, hover the mouse cursor over your Gmail’s left edge to expand the list.
    • To see the folders nested beneath a parent folder, click the right-pointed triangle () in front of the parent folder’s name to expand the list.

Using Gmail Search

To go to a label or folder in Gmail using Gmail search:

  1. Click your Gmail’s Search mail field.
    • Keyboard shortcut: with Gmail keyboard shortcuts enabled, you can also press /.
  2. Type label: followed immediately by the name of the label or folder you want to open.
    • Tip: Use the auto-completion suggestions to pick the desired label quickly.
    • Keyboard shortcut: to jump straight to the search field with “label:” already typed for you, press G followed immediately by L.
    • Hint: Instead of “label:”, you can also type in:.
  3. Press Enter or click the Search magnifying glass icon (🔎).

Using Direct-Access Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts

To jump straight to oft-used labels in Gmail using keyboard shortcuts:

Label Path Shortcut
All Mail All Gmail emails (except Trash and Spam) G A
Drafts Emails you have started compo… G D
Inbox Where new mail arrives G I
Sent Emails you have sent G T
Starred Mail highlighted with a star G S

Using the Gmail App for iOS or Android

To open any label in the Gmail app for iOS or Android:

  1. Make sure you are viewing a label (instead of a message, for instance).
    • Tip: You will see the menu button () in the top left.
  2. Tap the menu button ().
    • Tip: You can also swipe in from the left, even repeatedly to exit from conversations and proceed to the folder pane.
  3. Now tap the desired label.

All the Ways to Go to a Folder in Gmail: FAQ

What ways does Gmail’s Basic HTML version offer to open folders?

To open a label in simple HTML Gmail:

  1. Click the folder or label name in the left Gmail navigation bar.

As an alternative, you can also type the folder name in the search field and click Search Mail.

Simple HTML Gmail offers no keyboard shortcuts and no auto-completion of folder names, however.

(All the ways to go to a folder in Gmail tested with Gmail in a desktop browser; updated May 2018;title image: StockUnlimited)