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.

You can switch to labels via your Settings → Preferences screen. Here, scroll down to the Mail section, 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, choose the label from the dropdown that appears when you click nest label under:.
  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.

Here, you can choose the visibility for this label. 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.

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. You can create as many or as few labels as you like, nest labels, or create labels based on common searches. When viewing a message, you 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 → Preferences screen, click Show advanced preferences, and make sure one of the Show Sidebar options is selected.

How do I add or remove labels? 

To remove the label you're currently viewing from a specific email and add a new label, you can use the Move To button or drag the email onto the label you wish to add in the Label list. 

To add labels without removing current ones, you can use the Labels button at the top of the screen to remove individual labels, or drag a label from the Label list onto the message. 

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

Advanced Options

  • Default identity - Sets the account identity 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 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.

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 → Filters & 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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