Faster Access of Gmail Using keyboard Shortcuts


We had seen about Gmail keyboard shortcuts in Google Official Blog some times ago, and wanted to write about it after testing whether its worth using or not.

So we started using it from the day we saw it. At first it was just fun..after some time we thought that its a good exercises to our brain, and after using it extensively we feel that, this feature of Gmail is so awesome that, everyone must try using it as far as possible.

Some simple reasons to start using Gmail Keyboard shortcuts:

1. It saves lot of time.

2. People think you as a geek, when they see you using Gmail without touching mouse 🙂

3. And we have observed that, when we use the keyboard shortcut, it works faster when compared to that when we use mouse, to perform the same task.

4. Practicing these shortcuts will help you a lot, if you have purchased a laptop recently and you don’t have a mouse attached to it. Touchpad is quite irritating, until we get used to it.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts help you save time by allowing you to never take your hands off the keyboard to use the mouse. You’ll need a Standard 101/102-Key or Natural PS/2 Keyboard to use the shortcuts. To turn these case-sensitive shortcuts on or off, click Settings,and see for “Keyboard shortcuts” in the General tab and select Keyboard shortcuts on, and click on Save Changes button.
Here are the list of Default Gmail shortcut keys(which can also be found in your Settings –> Keyboard Shortcuts tab, of your Gmail account).

Shortcut Key Definition Action
c Compose Allows you to compose a new message. <Shift> + c allows you to compose a message in a new window.
/ Search Puts your cursor in the search box.
k Move to newer conversation Opens or moves your cursor to a more recent conversation. You can hit <Enter> to expand a conversation.
j Move to older conversation Opens or moves your cursor to the next oldest conversation. You can hit <Enter> to expand a conversation.
n Next message Moves your cursor to the next message. You can hit <Enter> to expand or collapse a message. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
p Previous message Moves your cursor to the previous message. You can hit <Enter> to expand or collapse a message. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
o or <Enter> Open Opens your conversation. Also expands or collapses a message if you are in ‘Conversation View.’
u Return to conversation list Refreshes your page and returns you to the inbox, or list of conversations.
e Archive Archive your conversation from any view.
m Mute Archives the conversation, and all future messages skip the Inbox unless sent or cc’d directly to you. Learn more.
x Select conversation Automatically checks and selects a conversation so that you can archive, apply a label, or choose an action from the drop-down menu to apply to that conversation.
s Star a message or conversation Adds or removes a star to a message or conversation. Stars allow you to give a message or conversation a special status.
! Report spam Marks a message as spam and removes it from your conversation list.
r Reply Replies to the message sender. <Shift> + r allows you to reply to a message in a new window. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
a Reply all Replies to all message recipients. <Shift> +a allows you to reply to all message recipients in a new window. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
f Forward Forwards a message. <Shift> + f allows you to forward a message in a new window. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
<Esc> Escape from input field Removes the cursor from your current input field.
<Ctrl> + s Save draft Saves the current text as a draft when composing a message. Hold the <Ctrl> key while pressing s and make sure your cursor is in one of the text fields — either the composition pane, or any of the To, CC, BCC, or Subject fields — when using this shortcut.
# Delete Moves the conversation to Trash.
<Shift> + i Mark as read Marks your message as ‘read’ and skip to the next message.
<Shift> + u Mark as unread Marks your message as ‘unread’ so you can go back to it later.
[ Archive and previous Archives your conversation and moves to the previous one.
] Archive and next Archives your conversation and moves to the next one.
z Undo Undoes your previous action, if possible (works for actions with an ‘undo’ link).
<Shift> + n Update current conversation Updates your current conversation when there are new messages.
q Move cursor to chat search Moves your cursor directly to the chat search box.
y Remove from Current View*
Automatically removes the message or conversation from your current view.

  • From ‘Inbox,’ ‘y’ means Archive
  • From ‘Starred,’ ‘y’ means Unstar
  • From ‘Trash,’ ‘y’ means Move to inbox
  • From any label, ‘y’ means Remove the label

* ‘y’ has no effect if you’re in ‘Spam,’ ‘Sent,’ or ‘All Mail.’

. Show more actions Displays the ‘More Actions’ drop-down menu.
? Show keyboard shortcuts help Displays the keyboard shortcuts help menu within any page you’re on.

Combo-keys – Use the following combination’s of keys to navigate through Gmail.

Shortcut Key Definition Action
<tab> then <Enter> Send message After composing your message, use this combination to send it automatically. (Supported in Internet Explorer and Firefox, on Windows.)
y then o Archive and next Archives your conversation and moves to the next one.
g then a Go to ‘All Mail’ Takes you to ‘All Mail,’ the storage site for all mail you’ve ever sent or received (and have not deleted).
g then s Go to ‘Starred’ Takes you to all conversations you have starred.
g then c Go to ‘Contacts’ Takes you to your Contacts list.
g then d Go to ‘Drafts’ Takes you to all drafts you have saved.
g then i Go to ‘Inbox’ Returns you to the inbox.
g then t Go to ‘Sent Mail’ Takes you to all mail you’ve sent.
* then a Select all Selects all mail.
* then n Select none Deselects all mail.
* then r Select read Selects all mail you’ve read.
* then u Select unread Selects all unread mail.
* then s Select starred Selects all starred mail.
* then t Select unstarred Selects all unstarred mail.

All these above keyboard shortcuts can be changed by changing the settings in your Gmail account(by going to Settings and Keyboard Shortcuts tab ).

Another small useful feature: If you often send messages, where the subject is the entire message (e.g. “Going to movie at 2:15?”), and Gmail would always prompt you to add in body text. Now, however, you can add “EOM” or “(EOM)” at the end of the subject line (short for End Of Message), and Gmail will silently send the message without the unnecessary prompt.

Google team know that these keyboard shortcuts are difficult to remember, so they have added another small feature, i.e., shortcut reference menu.

You can call up this menu by holding “shift” and hitting the “?” (without cotes ofcourse) key while logged in. It’s easy to remember: just type “?” any time you have a question about a shortcut and need a reminder. This feature works in the latest version of Gmail, currently available for English IE7 and Firefox 2 users. And not a great surprise, these shortcuts also work in Google Browser Chrome.

Leave a Reply