How to Organize Your Inbox With Tags

Email tags and labels are far superior to using a folder system to organize your emails. Learn how to make the most of tags and reclaim your inbox.

Tags are a method that modern email tools use to help you organize your email. Email tags can have different names, depending on the email client that you use. For example, Gmail calls them Labels, Outlook calls them Categories, and other services call them Flags. Thankfully they all work essentially the same way and are a significant upgrade from your traditional folders.

What is an email tag?

An email tag is a label that you attach to an email message or conversation to help you identify and categorize it. Unlike when you use folders, you can apply multiple tags to a single email. For example, you could tag all emails that are asking about product returns with a “return” tag. You could then add different tags to each email depending on the type of product your customer wants to return — “shirts” for example.

Using multiple tags allows you to filter your emails so that you can see all the emails you’ve received about “shirts” OR all the emails you’ve received about “returns.” Tags really let you find and sort emails however it makes the most sense for you.

When we built Outpost, we chose to focus on tags instead of folders because of their power, flexibility, and simplicity. Once you start using tags, you’ll see how they can benefit you and your team, saving you time and increasing productivity.

Why are tags better than folders?

The key benefit of tags over folders is that an email can have multiple tags. With a traditional folder system, an email can only live in one folder at a time. 

Using our example from above, folders would only allow you to categorize emails as “returns” or as “shirts” – you couldn’t have an email live in both places at once.

Modern email clients typically only use a tag system and ignore folders completely. While you could certainly choose to only apply a single tag to your emails which would make tags work like folders, tags give you flexibility. Add multiple tags to an email to create a custom organizational system that allows you to sort emails however you’d like. 

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Using tags with Outpost

Outpost has a robust tagging system that’s easy to use. Whenever you’re viewing an email conversation, just click the “tag” icon to apply one or more tags to the email conversation you’re viewing.

Using tags with Outpost

You can also assign tags in bulk by selecting multiple emails and then applying tags to all of them simultaneously. Once your emails have tags, you can filter them by tag or use an advanced search to find the emails that you’re looking for.

Once your emails have tags, you can filter them by tag or use an advanced search to find the emails that you’re looking for.

Supercharge your email search

Email tags also play a big role in improving your email search. In Outpost for example, if you want to keep track of the number of requests your customers send in for a new product, or a new feature for your app, you can use tags to categorize those emails. 

When you want to get a list of all of those emails, you can just run a search for that tag. This way, you don’t have to rely on searching for keywords in specific emails.

Use rules to apply tags automatically

Some email clients have automated rules that can help you automatically organize your email. For example, with Outpost, you can set up a rule to apply tags to an email based on who it was sent from, what words appear in the subject line, and what words appear in the body text of the email.

Using rules, any email that has the word “return” in it can automatically be tagged with the “return” tag. 

Using this kind of automatic processing will save your team time, allowing them to focus on one type of work without distraction. Instead of jumping from task to task based on what email is at the top of the inbox, your team can focus on urgent issues first thing and then set aside time later in the day to handle all “returns” emails at once, for example.

Use rules to apply tags automatically

Organize your team and your email with Outpost

Most teams struggle to manage their info@ or support@ inboxes. Missed messages, duplicate replies, and inbox confusion are common because traditional email wasn’t designed for teams. That’s why we built Outpost: to make your shared inboxes truly collaborative.

With Outpost, your team can work together in the same inbox, without sharing passwords or stepping on each other’s toes. Outpost is simple because shared email should be. Team up on email, stay organized and take better care of your customers.

If you’re interested, you can start a free trial of Outpost today, or schedule a custom tour to learn how Outpost will help you save time and get more done. 

Posted in: Email

Noah Parsons

Noah Parsons

Before joining Palo Alto Software, Noah Parsons was an early Internet marketing and product expert in the Silicon Valley. He joined Yahoo! in 1996 as one of its first 101 employees and become Producer of the Yahoo! Employment property as part of the Yahoo! Classifieds team before leaving to serve as Director of Production at He is a graduate of Princeton University. Noah devotes most of his free time to his three young sons. In the winter you'll find him giving them lessons on the ski slopes, and in summer they're usually involved in a variety of outdoor pursuits. Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of Outpost and the online business plan app LivePlan, and content curator and creator of the Emergent Newsletter.

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