Setting up and using folders

How do I create a folder?

  1. Click the + button at the bottom of the folder list.
  2. Enter the name of the new folder.
  3. If you'd like this to be a subfolder of another folder on your account, choose the parent folder from the dropdown.
  4. Click Create folder.

If you'd like to edit this (or any other) folder, click on the Edit button at the bottom of the folder list. This will bring up the Settings → Folders screen. Find which folder you'd like to edit, and click Edit on the right hand side.

Here, you can choose the visibility for this folder. On this screen you can also rename the folder, share it with other users in your account, set it as a spam learning folder, set up auto-purge, and more. Click the Save button at the top or bottom of the screen after making edits.

How do I view folders in my mailbox?


Folders appear on the left side of the mailbox. There are a few folders that appear by default, like Inbox, Archive, etc, and these can't be edited. You can create as many or as few folders as you like, nest folders into subfolders, or create folders based on common searches.

If you do not see the folder list, you should see a hide/show button sidebar icon at  the top-left of the page. Click the button to show the folder list. To set the window so the folder list always shows, go to the Settings → Display options screen, click Show advanced preferences, and make sure one of the Show Sidebar options is selected.

Advanced Options

  • Default address - Set the account address to use when composing new messages in this folder.
  • Spam learning - If enabled, Fastmail will learn messages in this folder as spam, or not spam, according to the setting.
  • Auto-purge - Automatically delete messages after they have been in the folder for a set amount of time, from 1 day to 1 year. (Pinned messages are never deleted.)
  • Duplicates - For a variety of reasons, occasionally duplicate copies of an email can arrive in an Inbox. This setting automatically removes the extra copies.

How do I search for a folder?

To find a particular folder, click the Find button at the bottom of the folder list or use the keyboard shortcut g and type the first few characters of the folder name. If a folder name is more than one word, you can match either word. You can either click on the folder, or use the up/down arrow keys to move between the matching folders and press Enter to open it.

How do I manage my folder list?

You can drag and drop folders around in Settings → Folders to reorder them. Or, drag a folder on top of another folder to nest them.

How do I create a folder from a common search?

Fastmail allows you to save your common searches for quick access in the folder list. To do this:

  1. Search for something using the search bar on the top of the page.
  2. Press Enter. The mailbox shows you messages matching your search query.
  3. In the folder list, click the Save button next to your search results. A naming box appears.


  4. Name your search and press the Save button. The search now appears as a folder in the folder list.

Please note, saved searches are only visible in the web interface. It is not possible to access them through external (IMAP) clients, such as Outlook, Mac Mail, etc.

Advanced Search

When setting up your search query, you can also specify a number of advanced search options, such as limiting by a date or a particular subject. These can be used to form a more complicated search folder.

What do system folders do?

System folders are ones created by Fastmail's mail server. Each has a special purpose, which is why they can't be deleted, moved, or renamed.

  • Inbox: Where all your incoming mail is stored (unless you've redirected it elsewhere using a rule).
  • Archive: Place mail here using the Archive button in the mail screen. This folder has no additional functionality other than a handy storage place for mail you want to keep, but not see in your inbox. Mail placed in this folder is automatically marked read. You may wish to set the folder to auto-purge, so that old mail is automatically deleted from this folder.
  • Drafts: Mail that has started to be composed but has not yet been sent is automatically saved into this folder, ready for you to complete whenever you'd like.
  • Sent: A copy of all mail sent by you is saved to this folder.
  • Spam: Mail that Fastmail detects as spam is automatically saved to this folder and marked read. If you're missing mail that has been sent to you, check in here first. You may wish to set the folder to auto-purge, so that old mail is automatically deleted from this folder.
  • Trash: Mail that you delete is sent to the Trash folder. Undeleting mail from this folder places it back where it came from, if you deleted it by accident. You can manually delete mail permanently from this folder.

Change the folder color

You can change the color of the folder's icon to help the folder stand out, or to match your theme.

To change the color of a folder from your mailbox screen:

  1. Mouse over the folder in your folder list and click the three dots.

  2. Mouse over Color, then select the desired color.

The color of a folder can also be changed from the Settings → Folders screen:

  1. Go to Settings → Folders.

  2. Find the folder and click the Edit button on the right-hand side.

  3. Click the dropdown under Color, then select the desired color.

You can select a preset color from the menu, or you can click Custom to set a custom color using a hex color code. If you want to reset the folder to its default color, click Default.

How are folders different from labels?

If you've become accustomed to labels and are making the switch to folders, you'll notice a few differences:

All Mail is now Archive

All Mail will become the Archive folder. You’ll find any message that didn't have a label here.

Filing messages

To move a message from its current location, use the Move to button, or drag a message onto the folder in the sidebar.

Keyboard shortcut users will notice that both y and h will move the message you’re viewing from where it is into the Archive.

Labels and Rules

If you had rules that left a message in the Inbox while also adding a label, that rule will now result in a copy of that message in both the Inbox and a folder. If you would prefer to have messages go to your folder only, please visit Settings → Mail rules to adjust your rules.

Sharing and Labels

If you are sharing mail with other users in your business, each user will see the shared messages in their preferred style: labels or folders. In order to use consistent tools, you may want to encourage your other users to also switch to folders.

Custom swipes

The custom swipe options Edit labels and Remove from Inbox are not available in Folders mode. After switching to Folders mode from Labels mode, any swipe options set to Edit labels will turn into Move to and any swipe options set to Remove from Inbox will turn into Archive.

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