How to use Google Drive Labels

How to use Google Drive Labels

Rolling out their latest feature, Google Drive is now offering labels to help you organize your files.

But what can you do with labels in Google Drive? And what are the limitations?

As Google describes it, “Labels are metadata you define to help you organize, find, and apply policy to items in Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Drive labels are useful for many common workplace scenarios for organizing files, including record management, classification, structured finding, workflow, reporting, auditing, and more.”

Currently coming out of limited release, Google Drive labels is available for Google Suite editions above Google Workspace Business Standard. It’s been coming for a while, but it looks like it might finally be here. But, you’ll need to have GSuite Business Standard, Plus or Enterprise or Education Standard or Plus to take advantage of it.

Google is introducing features like Labels to try and stay competitive in the market. Labels probably falls into a wider plan to support sales and sales enablement as well as marketing teams. But at the heart of labels, it’s a lot about retention policies (DLP) and removing files on a schedule than full-on organization.

Google Drive Labels are used to sort and search through your files more quickly and easily. The extra organization is definitely needed, and there are some cool capabilities, but there are also some limitations.

drive label manager
Welcome to Drive Label Manager

Let’s compare, see what we can do, and see where things get a little rough.

Get more from Drive and Labels

Organize, bundle, share, and track content
Google Workspace Content Camel
Unlimited labels per account x (100 max)
Unlimited labels per asset x (5 max)
Custom domain links x
Data retention policies x
Content Analytics x
Content Experiences x
Chrome extension Save to Drive only Works everywhere
Search, find, share within your existing workflow

So, if you’re more focused on content organization, usage, publishing content – especially for marketing and sales – and need content analytics, then you should consider Content Camel. If you’re more focused on applying policies to content and don’t want to track links in your Drive, then using labels is the right way to go.

Using Google Drive labels

Originally promised years ago, Google Drive has finally introduced labels to streamline content organization.

add a label to Drive
Adding a label

As a reminder, Google Drive Labels is only available for specific Google Workspace editions including Business Standard and Plus; Enterprise; Education Standard and Plus. Not Business Standard.

Step by step guide on How to use Google Drive Labels:

  1. Open your Google Drive
  2. Go to your file or folder
  3. Click on Info
  4. Scroll down to the labels section in the details panel
  5. Click labels
  6. Choose from the drop-down menu,
  7. Choose 1-5 labels per file.
File info
Opening the details pane

But labels in Google Drive might not be quite what you’re expecting. They are less labels and more mini forms. They are much heavier than simple labels and take much more time to create and manage. That’s not necessarily bad – it’s just different.

If you’re looking to quickly configure labels for your organization and allow users to quickly categorize and search for content, then labels might be too limiting for you.

And, as far as heavy configuration goes, there are two types of labels.

Check it out.

Types of Google Drive labels

There are actually two entirely different types of labels for GDrive. Badged and Standard. What’s the difference? Yeah, it wasn’t super clear to us, so we did some digging.

Badged Google Drive labels

A badged label is the most important label that your entire organization can use. There’s actually a limit of only one badged label for the entire organization.

Badged label limits

Badged labels are limited to one per organization. Badged labels are an option list only.

So, if you’re in marketing or sales, then the badge label chosen by finance really isn’t going to work for you 😜

With badged labels in GDrive, you get an optional color and the label is really a multi-select drop down of options.

Badged labels in Google Drive
Adding a badged label

Standard Google Drive labels

Standard labels are simple labels or descriptive labels that have structured fields added to them.

A simple label could simply be a tag, like Project Name. After that’s created in the Label Manager, then you’re able to apply that simple label.

A more complex, structured label could be Content Status with fields of Assigned to, Due Date, and Status. Each field can be a number, date, person, text, or multiple choice selection.

Standard label limits

Standard labels are limited to at most 10 fields

What can you label?

Google drive is great for storing many types of content, but also fails just a bit in some areas. Labels follow along that path, too, but with some additional limitations.

Asset types that you can label:

  • Slides
  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • PDFs and other Drive items

But you can’t label Drive folders.

Oh, and Google Drive can’t store links – like those links to your blog posts, industry articles, or anything else, so you won’t be able to label those 😕.

 👉 If you’re looking to tag, manage, track, and distribute all your content (including links!), check out Content Camel

How to turn on Google Drive tagging

Google Drive labels are turned on (or off) for the entire organization. As an admin, you can turn on labels via your Google Admin Console:

  1. Go to Apps > Google Workspace > Drive and Docs
  2. Click Labels.
  3. Turn labels on or off.
  4. Click Save.

Great! Labels are now enabled for your entire organization. Now, admins and users that have edit access to file will be able to apply labels while only admins will be able to create labels.

How to create a tag in Google Drive

Labels are tags and tags are labels in Google Drive. As mentioned above in the types of labels, you’re probably expecting tags to be more like standard, simple labels than the badged label or the multi-field standard label.

Creating a tag is done through the Label Manager if you have labels turned on in your supported GSuite edition.

Add labels
Adding a tag to Google Drive

How to create a badged label

Only one badged label exists in your whole account, so set it up wisely!

  1. Click New label.
  2. Choose a badged label
  3. Choose to start from an example, or from scratch.
  4. Update the title.
  5. Optional step: Add a description or a learn more URL that points to your organization’s internal documentation about the label.
  6. Choose whether the label is required to be filled out by end users.
  7. Customize options, and assign a color. Only a badged label gets a color.
  8. Click Publish.

How to create a standard label / tag

Standard labels can be simple tags or mini-forms that capture a lot of detail for a file. From the Labels Manager:

  1. Click New label.
  2. Choose a standard label. You can Create New or use one of the label templates.
  3. Update the title.
  4. Optional step: Add a description.
  5. A label can contain up to 10 fields.
  6. Click Publish.

Labels go through a slightly complex process of draft -> published and once a field is configured on the label, it’s type can’t be changed.

Managing labels

Whether you call them tags or labels, they’ll all be managed from the Labels Manager. As an admin, you can:

  • View all labels in your organization. Including searching for labels (by name only).
  • Edit existing labels. Edits go through a draft state before being published.
  • Disable a label. This prevents the label from being added, but items already labeled retain their label.
  • Delete a label. After disabling a label, it can be deleted. Once the label is deleted, all traces of the label are removed including deleting any associated data stored in the label fields.

    Limitations of Google Drive Labels

Google Drive has a few surprising limits and drawbacks associated with the way tagging is implemented. Here’s what we know:

  • There’s currently a limit of 100 labels per account.
  • Labels cannot be applied to folders or shared drives at this time.
    • 👉 This shared drive limitation is a pretty big deal
  • Labels owned by an organization can only be applied to files owned by that organization.
    • 👉 This is also pretty limiting if you’re collaborating across teams and orgs
  • You can’t share fields between different labels.
  • Field types and the “allow multiple selections” option cannot be changed after publishing.
  • Labels are not supported in Google Workspace Domain Transfer.

Google Drive Labels Alternative

When you’re looking for tagging in Google Drive, Google Drive Labels seems like the natural choice. But for a lot of teams – especially marketing and sales teams – it’s going to fall short. The tagging limits and lack of analytics mean that you’re still going to outgrow Drive and will need another solution that the team can use for content attribution analytics and really understanding what content is being used.

A purpose-built solution like Content Camel offers:

  • Custom domain short links for all of your content
  • AI enabled search with tags built for go to market teams to browse content
  • Unlimited custom tags/labels
  • Tags and Labels are pre-designed specifically for marketing and sales: Funnel Stages, Content Types, Products, Industries, Regions, and more
  • Full analytics to understand who’s actually using the content
  • Sharing features – gather content and publish as a resource page. Get notified on sharing views.
  • Browser extensions for search, find, share access from anywhere
Advanced search
Extend Drive with Search and Organization

Content Camel extends your existing Google Drive as a key tool for your marketing and sales stack. Content Camel brings sales enablement software successfully by huge enterprises to all teams.

And when your sales team is equipped with the right content at the right time, they focus on being more productive, increasing sales, and generating untapped revenue.

Come check out our powerful search features, take a tour, schedule a demo, or just sign up for free.