Move To

This entry is part 5 of 23 in the series White Belt

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Gmail is full of so many features that sometimes I forget some of the best ones out there. One of those is the Move to button located on the button bar just above the conversation index and any conversation you open. The button works similar in both contexts. It is a combination of the label feature and archive feature rolled in to one. For more information on archiving and labeling, check the White Belt series Gmail Podcast website.

To use the Move To button from the conversation index, select the conversation or conversations you want to affect then click the Move To button. A list of of your labels appear, much like the Label button. When you select one of these, the conversations you checked are immediately removed from the conversation index and archived with the label you selected.

The Move To button behaves slightly differently if you are in the conversation reading mode. If you click on the Move To here, the same list of labels appears along with two options that let you move the message directly to spam and trash. These two options are identical to clicking the Spam or Delete buttons on the same button bar. Just like the mode from the conversation index, clicking any existing label will apply that label, archive that conversation, and take you back to the conversation index. Additionally, you can also create new labels from this mode, the same as using the Label feature.

Because of the way the Move To button attaches one label and archives at the same time, makes it behave more like a traditional folder action than a Gmail label in that it files your conversation in a specific place with one label associated and it’s done. That’s not to say you couldn’t display the conversations with that label, locate your specific one, and attach more labels to it, but that would defeat the purpose of this specialized button.

Sadly, I cannot find a shortcut key sequence to use this so I often use (the lower case letter) ‘l’ to bring up the label menu, label it, and type ‘y’ to archive it so fast I never think about the Move to feature. As useful as this button is, I rarely use it because it doesn’t have a shortcut key associated with it.


Here’s a quick update… Google has improved the speed which popout windows appear. Popout windows are available when you are composing, replying, or forwarding messages, along with tasks, chat, and a few other places. For example, normally you see the chat window embedded in the bottom of your Gmail window. If you click the little upward arrow in the label bar with the person’s name, the chat window pops out of that browser window and becomes its own browser window. Previously this was a tedious few seconds. Now almost instantaneous. Thank you Google for continuing to improve our favorite mail program.


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  • Scott Reynolds says:

    I had occasion to use this tip today. Not being one to accept that there was no way to use a keystroke for Move To, I opened the keyboard shortcuts help in a new window. I’m pleased to report that you can use the ‘v’ key to move messages to a label!

    Thanks for doing the podcast. I’d consider myself a Gmail ninja, but I’m still learning about things like this from you!

  • Chuck Tomasi says:

    Thanks Scott. Sure enough, the “Move To” shortcut key is documented on the Gmail Help Pages (, but not when you use the “?” key within Gmail. Odd.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

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