Labels overview

Labels are metadata you define to help users organize, find, and apply policy to files in Google Drive. The Drive API allows developers to apply labels to files and folders, set label field values, read labels and field values on files, and search for files using metadata terms defined by the custom label taxonomy.

Drive labels can support business processes by attaching metadata to files and folders. Common uses for labels are:

  • Classify content to follow an information governance strategy—Create a label to identify sensitive content or data that requires special handling. For example, you might create a badged label (a label with color-coded option values) titled "Sensitivity" with the values of "Top Secret," "Confidential," and "Public."

  • Apply policy to items in Drive—Create labels to manage Drive content throughout its lifecycle and ensure it adheres to your organization’s record keeping practices. For example, use labels to manage a data loss policy (DLP) whereby users can't download files with a "Sensitivity" label set to "Top Secret".

  • Curate and find files—Create labels to increase searchability of your company’s content by letting people in your organization find items based on labels and their fields. For example, apply a "Signature Status" label set to "Awaiting Signature" to all contracts awaiting signature by a specific date. Drive search can then return these contracts when someone searches "awaiting signature".

Below is a list of common terms used by Drive labels:


Structured metadata placed on a Drive file. Drive users can assign labels and set label field values for files. Labels are composed of:

Label name
The resource name of the label. The label ID makes up part of the Label name. Depending on the request, the name is in the form of either: labels/{id} or labels/{id}@{revisionId}. For more information, see Label revision below.
Label ID
A globally unique identifier for the label. The ID makes up part of the label name, but unlike the name, it's consistent between revisions.

An individual typed, settable component of a label. A label can have zero or more fields associated with it. Selection and user fields can be set with multiple values if the field is configured with ListOptions in the Drive Labels API.

Field type
The data type of the value associated with the field. Configurable as integer, dateString, text, user, or selection. The type chosen impacts both the valid values applicable to Drive items and the search query options available.
Label taxonomy

The currently configured label fields available to users for application to Drive files. Readable and writable through the Drive Labels API. Also known as the label schema.

Label revision

An instance of the label. Anytime a label is created, updated, published, or deprecated, the label revision increments.

Draft revision
The revision number of the current draft instance of the label. You can make several updates to a label, each incrementing its draft revision number, without affecting the published revision. The ability to have draft labels lets you test label updates before publishing.
Published revision
The revision number of the published version of a label. The published label is the instance of the label currently available to users.

Next steps

Get started with Drive labels: