Opera Mail Tutorial

Sort messages using labels

In this topic:

What are labels?

Labels are a way of automatically sorting your email into more categories than just the default views without needing to drop-and-drag. Labels work like tags and you can use the default labels, such as “Important” or “To do”, or you can create your own.

Opera Mail label menu

You can apply more than one label to a message and easily view that message from each label. You can set rules to automatically sort messages for you. If you prefer, you can drag-and-drop messages into different labels, if you wish to use a more traditional folder tree.

The Labels header displays in the Mail panel. This displays default labels, any custom labels you create and saved message searches. Unlike the default views, you have complete control over the messages displayed in labels.

Using labels

The table below lists the various ways of using an existing label or creating a new label, depending on your needs.

If you want to ...Then ...
Create a new label based on a message
  1. Above the message content, click the label icon and select New Label.
  2. Alternatively, right-click the message in the list and select Label As > New Label.
  3. Name it and set rules in the dialog then select Close.
Create a new label from the Mail panel
  1. Right-click an empty space in the Mail panel and select New Label.
  2. Right-click and select Properties.
  3. Name it and set rules and settings in the resulting dialog and select Close.
Create a new label from the main menu
  1. From the main menu in Opera, select Mail > Labels.
  2. Select New Label.
  3. In the New Label dialog, name the label.
  4. If you want to use your own icon for a label, click Icon after the name field in this dialog, then Custom and select the icon file.
  5. See the sections below to add sorting rules or change label options.
Display a message under an existing label
  1. Select the Labels header in the Mail panel to expand the label list, if not already displayed.
  2. Drag the message from the message list to the preferred label.
Select one or more messages to display under an existing label
  1. Select the message(s) in the message list.
  2. Right-click and select Label As.
  3. Select the label from the list.

Set up label sorting rules

In the Rules tab of the Label dialog, you can specify some basic criteria to automatically sort mail under a particular label. To set a sorting rule, click "Add Rule" and select what you want Opera Mail to look for in your incoming messages. You can choose from: Subject, From, To, CC, Reply-to, Newsgroup, Any, message body or entire message. Choose whether you want Opera Mail to look for messages that contain a certain word, not contain a certain word, or that match a regexp expression. Then define that word or expression. To change the rules of an existing label, right-click it and select Properties.

Some simple rule examples are:

When you use a custom label with an applied rule, you can leverage Opera Mail's auto-learning mechanism. This helps Opera Mail learn from the messages you mark with the label or remove from the label view to then automatically sort your mail for you. To apply this, check Learn from labeled messages when creating a new label. Initially, Opera Mail needs to learn about your preferences, so it will not always get everything right. Drag and drop messages that you want to show in a particular label into it. Delete any irrelevant messages that may display under it. In this way, Opera Mail can train itself to automatically sort incoming messages based on the pattern of messages you moved or removed.


You can also define rules using regular expression (regexp) format. This format is used to search and manipulate text based on patterns. Opera uses the same regexp format that is used in ECMAScript and Perl. For more information see the ECMAScript Language Specification section 15.10. The Regex Coach is a free program that helps you experiment with regular expressions and may help you use Opera's regexp support.

Remove or delete a message from a label view

To remove a message from a label view, right-click and select Remove from view. This does not delete it from Opera Mail.

To permanently delete messages from Opera Mail, see Delete messages.

Setting label options

When creating a new label, you can change settings in the Options tab of the label dialog, as outlined in the table below. To change the label settings of an existing label, right-click it in the Mail panel and select Properties.

SettingUsed to...
Hide these messages from other views Hide messages sorted automatically into this label from all other views (including Unread, Received and Attachments views). This is the easiest means of simulating folder-based organization of messages. If a message appears in two or more labels with this setting enabled, the message still appears in all of those labels.
Mark matching messages as read Automatically mark the labeled messages as read so they do not appear in the Unread view or cause the label view to display in bold when new messages arrive.
Learn from labeled messages Allow Opera Mail to train itself into recognizing which messages belong in the label, and which do not. This can act as a substitute for adding rules, or in addition to the rules. It learns from the messages you remove or add.
Apply rules only to new messages Apply the rule to new, incoming messages only (enabled by default). If you want the rule to apply to all your saved and previously sorted messages, uncheck this option.

Delete a label

To delete a label, select it in the Mail panel and either:

This deletes the label itself but messages that were in the label remain in the Received view.