An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to

October 25, 2007

Nested Folders in Gmail

If you like Google's hack to bring folder support in Gmail's IMAP implementation, there's a way to better visualize the nested folders. Basically Gmail converts any folder into a label: if you create the folder Comments as a subfolder of Blog in a mail client, Gmail will convert it to the Blog/Comments label.

To see the folder structure, you can use the Folders4Gmail Greasemonkey script (requires Firefox and the Greasemonkey extension). Instead of Gmail's geeky labels, you'll see the hierarchy, but don't expect that by clicking on a folder's name Gmail will show all the messages from the subfolders. Only the folders that don't have any subfolder are actually useful.

The script can be used even if you don't like Gmail's IMAP, but in this case you'll create parent folders instead of subfolders. If you already have Comments and Tips as two labels in your Gmail account, you need to create the parent folder (the label Blog) and add Blog/ to the name of each of the two labels (Comments becomes Blog/Comments).

Many people want folders or hierarchical labels in Gmail, but this is as close as you can get. Those who really want support for folders will feel more comfortable using an email client instead of Gmail's web interface: you can easily create new folders and use drag&drop to move messages to a folder, even if the folder is actually a label in Gmail's internal representation.


  1. Works fine in Opera too.
    Thanks for the tip!

  2. I've been asking for this in native Gmail for over a year (back when they had the suggestion link public). Except I'm hoping when they officialy implement it, that when I click on blog in the example it would show all the posts from the sub categories.

  3. The suggestion link is still accessible for me (it is possible you actually can't access it...)

    I think we could increase the importancy of implementing folders just by voting on that page..

  4. I just voted for folders on the suggestions. I would encourage everyone to click the sugesstion link above and VOTE!

  5. I'd like nested folders in Gmail and also in Google Bookmarks please !

    I know Google Team can do it... What are they waiting for ?

    But thanks for all the google stuff anyway !!


  6. I actually prefer the labels to the folders. The folders make it so much harder to find emails using searches, and you can put an email in only one folder. I can apply several labels to an email.

  7. "but don't expect that by clicking on a folder's name Gmail will show all the messages from the subfolders"

    Simple fix. Whatever filters you're using to attach nested labels to an email, make sure that filter attaches both parent and sub labels. ie, attach both "blog" and "blog/comments" labels.

  8. Google!!!! Where is the nested folder structure for bookmarks. Kindly bring this functionality as soon as possible.

  9. Abdul : Use Google Chrome and synchronize your bookmarks. Nested bookmarks are now supported with Google Chrome. It will save your bookmarks into a nested structure into Google Docs !

  10. does google intend on keeping this conversion of slashes to parent-child relationship ?

    i'm afraid i'll start organizing my nested folders and someday this stops working ...

    is this on a more official gmail support page other than this?

    thank you