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Scott Using Opera Labels to Manage Email

Opera’s built-in mail client has a number of features to help manage and organize email messages. Here I’ll share my strategies for managing the ‘ol inbox using labels.

There are plenty of ways to make use of labels in Opera’s mail client, but first let me back up and explain one important concept.

For those who are new to Opera, especially coming from Outlook, it’s helpful to understand that Opera does not store a message in a particular folder. If you are used to sorting messages by dragging an email from one folder to another, you can do so, but in Opera a single message can show up in any number of “folders” or views. Behind the scenes Opera maintains a database of all your messages, and labels, filters, searches, etc. are each just specific views into the database, slices of the data if you will.

The upshot is that you don’t really need to worry about “moving” items from folder to folder, instead you can focus on creating a view, or views, which helps show the messages you care about.

Opera’s Labels are Like Tags

When you apply a label it’s like tagging an email, telling Opera to also show this message under the label view until you remove the label.

Searches and filters gather swaths of messages based on some kind of matching criteria. Labels, on the other hand, are fully manual; they only get applied when you choose a label for a particular message.

Apply a label by clicking in the label column of the list view (the selected message will say “No Label” by default) and choosing one of the seven labels to assign.

Alternately you can just press l, followed by a number key 1-7 corresponding to the desired label.

Each message can only have a single label applied at a time, but while labeled it can still show up in your inbox, filters, or any other view as normal. That’s where the “slices” concept comes into play, assigning a label does not move the message to appear only under that label.

How to use Opera’s Labels to Manage Email

There’s no single correct answer, it depends on your personal style and organizing preferences. That’s one of the reasons why Opera is great, its flexibility allows for multiple solutions to the problem of an overflowing inbox.

I prefer to try and keep my inbox empty. When new mail arrives I quickly scan it and sort it, spam gets marked as spam and trashed, everything else falls into one of two categories: messages I will read and then mark as read and forget about, or messages requiring some additional action from me.

The messages I simply mark as read will still be there, and I can always find them later through filters or searches, but they’re not important enough to otherwise organize right now.

The other messages I’ll label. In fact some messages I’ll label without reading, or after only a cursory scan, based on the sender and subject. This way I can clear the inbox very quickly, then go back through my labeled messages and attend to those which need action. Plus sorting first helps to ensure I only spend time on the important messages, which is critical considering how fast email piles up sometimes.

Think of Labels as Queues

By their design, labels make poor choices for storage or keeping records consolidated (filters are much more efficient) but work very well as email queues. Like the inbox, I try to keep labels from piling up; they tend to work better for prioritizing action-required items.

As I respond to each labeled message I’ll remove the label, thus making it disappear from that view (though it remains accessible unless I delete it). As such I can work to clean out a “queue” of important emails awaiting replies, for example.

If a labeled message sits too long it’s probably a sign that whatever action it may have needed before might not be that important now, and can have the label removed to clear it out of there.

You might also check out my post on how to rename Opera’s labels to suite your preferences, since some of the default names are less useful.

If you have any tips or suggestions for organizing email in Opera, feel free to leave a comment!

3 Responses to “Using Opera Labels to Manage Email”

  1. Eugene Says:

    Nice article. Thanks. :) Eugene

  2. Glad you liked it Eugene!

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    Using Opera Labels to Manage Email – Productivity – 3DM Design

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