Intro to Google Drive labels

intro to google drive labels for admins

Drive labels are files metadata that can help businesses improve file organization and management in Google Workspace.

Table of Contents

Who can use Drive labels?

Drive labels are available for the following Google Workspace editions: Business Standard and Business Plus; Enterprise; Education Standard and Education Plus; Essentials, Enterprise Essentials, and Enterprise Essentials Plus; G Suite Business. Drive label DLP is available to users with licenses that include Drive log events.

Everyone in your organization can see and use labels, unless the admin limits certain labels to specific groups or users. Before users can start applying labels to files in Google Drive, Google Admin has to turn on the labels feature for the organization and create labels.

What Drive labels are there?

There are two kinds of labels in Google Drive.

Badged label is shown next to the file name and is used to emphasize the most important metadata. Your organization can only have one badged label. We recommend using the badged label to emphasize the level of confidentiality of files.

screenshot of badged google drive label

Standard labels are for all other metadata. One file can have up to 5 labels applied to it. Each standard label can contain fields where users can provide information about the file, such as date or status.

What can you label in Drive?

Labels can be assigned to any file in Drive owned by your organization. A user needs to have edit rights for the file in order to label it, and have view permission for the label (admins can limit certain labels to certain users or groups). Shared drives, folders, shortcuts and external files cannot be labeled.

Where can you see Drive labels?

By default, everyone in the organization can see and apply labels. The Google admin can limit label permissions for internal and external users.

drive labels limiting permissions

Badged labels are listed next to the file name in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or on the web. For PDFs and other file formats, the badged label is listed in the Labels pane.

Standard labels can be seen in the Labels pane when clicking on the file name once in the Drive menu. When the file is open, go to File → Labels in order to see and change labels.

standard google drive label view

How to apply labels?

To apply a label to files in Google Drive, end users can select one or multiple files, right-click and select “Labels”.

To apply a label to an open file, click “File → Labels”.

Screenshot 2023-09-08 at 14.47.40

How many labels can you create? (Manage labels privilege required)

As a Google admin, you can create 1 badged label for organization and up to 149 standard labels, or 150 if you decide to forgo the badged label.

How to create labels? (Manage labels privilege required)

The Google admin can create labels in the Drive labels manager.
When creating a new standard label, you will be asked to choose a title, and optionally to add a label description and up to 10 fields. The label description can be an explanation of the internal data classification policy. You can choose whether the label accompanies the file when the file is duplicated.

For a new badged label, you can also choose a color to make the label stand out, and decide whether end users will be required to fill out the label.

Interested how Drive labels can help you increase data security and maintain compliance? Check out our article Google Drive labels: your key to data security and compliance.

Looking for some real-life examples of how Drive labels can be used to boost productivity? Read our article Google Drive labels for file organization (with examples).

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