How to Create Folders (and Subfolders) in Gmail

Create Folders in Gmail

Want to keep your emails—and keep them organized? Find out here how to create new folders (labels) in Gmail (and how to make a sub-folder, too).

First, the Girl with the Best Kites

The girl with the best kites went on to make paper bags fastest.

For when Margaret Knight was charged at work with folding flat-bottomed paper-bags, she did not think of a better way to fold or glue them, or design an altogether better bag—she devised a machine to do the cutting, folding, and gluing.

That was around 1867. Want to have a machine fold a paper bag inside Gmail to keep your emails today?

How to Create New Email Folders (and Subfolders) in Gmail

In a Desktop Browser

Time needed: 2 minutes

To set up a new email folder in Gmail using a desktop browser:

  1. Open Gmail’s main menu.

    Clicking: Click the Main menu hamburger menu button near Gmail’s top left corner if the left menu panel is not expanded.
    Hovering: You can also move the mouse over the Compose (+) button.

  2. Click More to expand the current list of Gmail folders.

    Click "More" in the Gmail folder list

  3. Now click Create new label.

    Click "Create new label" to add a folder in Gmail

  4. Type the name you want to use for the new Gmail folder under Please enter a new label name:.

    Reserved names: Gmail reserves a few folder names for its own, and you cannot use these names for custom folders; see below for a list.

  5. Optional: Make the new folder a sub-folder inside an existing folder.

    Nesting: Check Nest label under: and choose the parent folder from the Please select a parent… drop-down menu.
    Gail shortcut: Pick a parent folder, and Gmail will check Nest label under: automatically.

  6. Click Create.

    Gmail IMAP access: New folder you add to Gmail will automatically show up in email programs that connect to your account through Gmail IMAP; you can choose to hide these folders from IMAP, though.
    Click "Create" to add the new folder to Gmail

Done adding folders? All the Ways to Open a Folder in Gmail
Putting it to use: How to Automatically Move Emails to a Folder in Gmail

In the Gmail App for iOS

To set up a new folder using the Gmail app for iPhone and iPad:

  1. Open the hamburger menu for your account.
  2. Tap + Create new under LABELS.
  3. Type the name for the new Gmail folder.
    Gmail folder hierarchy: Separate the new folder from its parent with a slash (/) to make a new sub-folder.
    Subfolder example: Type Voyages/Auvergne to create the new Auvergne folder inside the Voyages folder.
  4. Now tap Done.

In the Gmail App for Android

The Gmail Android app does not let you create new folders. You can create folders in the desktop version of Gmail, though, in a mobile browser.

In Gmail Basic HTML

To add a new folder if you access your account through basic HTML Gmail:

  1. Follow the Edit labels link in the left Gmail navigation bar.
  2. Type the name for the new folder under Create a new label:.
    Subfolder: To create a sub-folder, add the parent folder as a path separated with /.
    Subfolder example: To add the folder “Provence” under the folder Voyages, type Voyages/Provence.
    Note: Do create the parent folder first if it does not yet exist.
  3. Click Create.

How to Create New Email Folders (and Sub-Folders) in Gmail: FAQ

My Gmail app, Google Go Gmail or the Gmail in a mobile browser does not offer “Create new” for labels; what can I do?

If the Gmail app on your Android phone or Gmail in a mobile browser does not let you create labels, you can resort to the desktop versions of the web site:

  1. Open the full desktop version of Gmail in a mobile browser.
    Alternative: Open Gmail basic HTML in the mobile browser.
  2. Create the new folder; see above.

What are the restricted folder names I cannot use in Gmail?

Gmail will not allow a few reserved folder names for use in folders you create; these restricted names include:

all mailchatsspamtrash

Subfolders: The restrictions apply only to top-level Gmail folders. You can create a new folder in Gmail named Voyages/Tasks, for instance.

Are Gmail folder names case sensitive?


Case does matter in Gmail folder names.
Example: Voyages and voyages are two different labels.

Exception: For folder names restricted for use by Gmail itself, case does not matter. You can create neither a chat nor a cHAT folder, for instance.

Can I create a folder in the Gmail Inbox (as a sub-folder)?


Gmail does not allow sub-folders to system folders. That includes Inbox, Spam, All Mail, etc.

(How to create new email folders in Gmail tested in a desktop browser and the Gmail app for iOS; first published April 2021, last updated July 2024)

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