Setting up and using labels

What are labels?

Labels are a way of organizing mail. Unlike folders, you can apply multiple labels to a message, allowing you to organize messages in a few ways.

If you are currently using folders, you can switch to using labels via your Settings → Folders screen. Here, scroll towards the bottom and select Labels instead of Folders. Your folders will immediately be converted to labels.

How do I create a label?

Labels can be created by going to Settings → Labels and clicking Create label.

Labels can also be created while viewing webmail by following these steps:

  1. Click the + button at the bottom of the sidebar.
  2. Enter the name of the new label.
  3. If you'd like this to be nested within another label on your account, click the Nest label under: dropdown menu and select the label.
  4. Click Create label.

If you'd like to edit a label, click on the Edit button at the bottom of the sidebar. This will bring you directly to the Settings → Labels screen. Find which label you'd like to edit, and click Edit on the right hand side.

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

Advanced Options

  • Default address - Sets the account address to use when composing new messages in this label.
  • Spam learning - If enabled, Fastmail will learn messages in this label as spam, or not spam, according to the setting.
  • Auto-purge - Removes this label from unpinned messages after a set number of days. If the message does not have any other label, it will be 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 view labels in my mailbox?

Labels appear on the left side of the mailbox. There are a few labels that appear by default, like Inbox, and these can't be edited.

When viewing a message, you can see all of the labels that have been applied at the top, underneath the subject. You can remove any labels by clicking X next to the label at the top.

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

How do I add or remove labels? 

To remove the label and add a new one, you can drag the email into the new label in your Label list. If you're currently viewing the message, you can also do this by clicking the More menu and selecting the Move to button.

To add labels without removing current ones, you can drag a label from your Label list onto the message.

To add or remove multiple labels from a message, you can open the message, click the Labels menu at the top, and select or deselect labels from there.

To remove only the Inbox label, use the Archive button, or the h keyboard shortcut. 

How do I search for a label?

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

How do I manage my label list?

You can drag and drop labels around in Settings → Labels to reorder them. Or, drag a label on top of another label to nest them.

How do I create a label from a common search?

Fastmail allows you to save your common searches for quick access in the label 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 label 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 label in the label 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 label.

Change the label color

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

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

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

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

The color of a label can also be changed from the Settings → Labels screen:

  1. Go to Settings → Labels.

  2. Find the label 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 label to its default color, click Default.

Labels and IMAP

For a detailed overview of how labels work with IMAP clients (e.g., Outlook, Thunderbird, Mac Mail), please click here.

How are labels different from folders?

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

Archive is now All Mail

Your Archive folder will become All Mail. It’s where to go to find any message apart from those in Spam or the Trash, and it’s the only place you’ll find a message that isn’t labeled.

Filing messages

To remove the label you are currently viewing and add a new label, use the Move to button, or drag a message onto the sidebar label you want to add.

To add label(s) without removing current ones (including Inbox), use the Labels button at the top of the screen to add or remove individual labels, or drag a label from the sidebar onto the message.

To remove only the Inbox label, use the Archive button, or use the h keyboard shortcut.

Keyboard shortcut users have these options:

  • y removes the label you're viewing from the conversation.
  • h always removes the Inbox label, no matter what label you're viewing.

Labels and Rules

All your rules will continue working the same way they do when using labels.

If you have rules that moved messages to a folder, you may prefer to have labeled messages in your Inbox as well as under the label. If so, please go to Settings → Mail rules to update your rules. Uncheck Archive (remove Inbox label) to have messages arrive in your Inbox with a label as well.

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, or if you intend to take advantage of labels features with shared messages, you may want to encourage your other users to also switch to labels.

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