Gmail labels sorting order

Gmail’s labels are great for they let you organize your constantly growing mailbox in a non-final way. That is, using the ‘tagging’ concept, you can assign the same tag to multiple items, or different tags to the same items, add/remove tags etc etc. All of this is well known and documented. One thing though still surprises me. Why the heck can’t we set the labels’ order arbitrarily? (now they are automatically sorted alphabetically).

I have dozens of labels, and know the too-many-emails problem has just moved one level up: too many labels, don’t remember why I’ve created them and what their intended use was. As a result, I end up losing a lot of time just figuring out where things are in my mailbox…

So being able to sort them arbitrarily could be handy here… I did a bit of research online and it looks like this is not possible. Mmmm funny init? Insurmountable technical difficulty? Trivial interaction-design mistake? Who knows. So it looks like as the only workaround to manage gmail labels is to prefix them using alphabetical characters. As simple as that.

By the way, the ‘alphabetical’ ordering used by gmail is not what you might be used to, but the one below:

Screen shot 2010-10-15 at 11.35.12.png


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Gmail Label Sorting Order (as of 14 March 09) « added these pithy words on Mar 01 12 at 1:16 am