Converting and Migrating Gmail Labels

Google does not have a folder hierarchy for email, but rather a virtual view called Google Labels. Google Labels cannot be translated properly to other messaging systems. Even Google itself does not represent present Labels consistently. Messages are stored as a single instance within the Google mail store, but shown when enumerating multiple labels within the web interface. When an IMAP client such as Outlook or your mobile device is connected to Google, the Labels are presented as folders and downloaded multiple times, taking up additional storage.

When migrating from Google, there are several choices to convert labels to the new messaging environment. There are pros and cons in each approach, and it is important to understand the implications in order to make an informative decision. The options are: 1) convert Labels to folders or 2) convert Labels to Exchange categories.

Convert Labels to Folders:

The first and most popular approach is to convert Labels to folders. What this means is that the organization and views will be similar to what is already experienced in Google today. The downside is that the mailbox size will increase because the messages are stored in each corresponding folder. There is no concept of single storage for each item when multiplied across folders.


  • Similar view and structure as Google.
  • Consistent experience across web access, desktop client (i.e., Outlook), and mobile device.
  • Only archived items are migrated into the All Mail folder.


Note: If a Label contains a "/" ​​MigrationWiz will create subfolders. For example, for a Label called aaa/bbb/ccc at the Source, MigrationWiz will create a folder aaa, then a folder bbb within aaa, and then a folder ccc within bbb. Also, while the migration is in progress, the user must not rename any of those folders.


Convert Labels to Exchange Categories

This method will migrate the Google All Mail Label only. The All Mail Label contains all messages within the Google mailbox and results in only one copy of each message being migrated, thus the mailbox size is similar to that of your Google mailbox. 


  • Single copy all messages are migrated, thus no inflation of mailbox size.
  • Labels are converted to Exchange categories and marked on each item.
  • End Users can create virtual views in Exchange with search folders based on categories.


Note: When selecting this option, you must ensure the All Mail Label is not being filtered.

Selecting one of the options:

The first option (convert Labels to folders) is the default. If this is chosen, no additional configuration is needed. If the second option (convert Labels to categories) is chosen:

  1. Sign in to the MigrationWiz account.
  2. Edit the Project.
  3. Click on Advanced Options.
  4. Select the desired Gmail all mail folder option​.

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