Here's the problem: there are a LOT of keyboard shortcuts for Gmail, and not all of them are actually useful.
Understanding this, I've created a resource for the 30 most useful keyboard shortcuts for Gmail. It's organized by the three views (Inbox View, Conversation View, and Compose View) we experience in Gmail:
Here's the best part - these shortcuts can be learned in less than two minutes. Without further ado, here are the 30 most useful keyboard shortcuts:
How to Turn On Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
Click the gear in the top-right corner of Gmail and select Settings.
Under the "General" tab, find the "Keyboard shorcuts" section and select Keyboard shortcuts on.
Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
Go back to Settings, click on the "Labs" tab, find "Custom keyboard shortcuts" (by Alan S) and click Enable.
Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
The 11 Most Useful Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts For the “Inbox View”
Inbox View is when we're viewing the list of read and unread messages in our inbox:
1. Open keyboard shortcut help (Shift + ?)
Need help at any point during the shortcut process? Simply hold Shift, then the ? key. A cheat sheet of all Gmail shortcuts will populate your screen. Close it when you're done, or open it in a new screen to keep it easily available.
2. Select a continuous series of messages (Shift)
To select a continuous series of emails, I check the box for an email, hold Shift, then select the last email in the series.
(This is my favorite way to get shift done. Get it? :)
3. Select a random series of messages (Command)
To select a random number of emails, I check the box for an email, hold Command, then choose the designated emails.
4. Select all unread messages (Shift + 8 + u)
Hold Shift and 8, then press u to select all unread messages. I use this in combination with the next shortcut (archive) to quickly archive messages I don't need to open.
5. Archive selected messages (e)
After the boxes are selected for the messages I want to archive (using one of the above three methods), I click e to archive them. This helps me quickly reach inbox zero by archiving messages that aren’t important.
6. Mark selected messages as important (=)
On the contrary, when I have numerous important messages selected, I press = to mark them all as important.
7. Compose (c)
Sometimes I just need to quickly compose a message from the inbox view, so I press c to do this.
8. Undo last action (z)
How Do You Undo Typing?
Press "z" to undo previous actions one at a time.
Delete a few emails by accident? All you have to do is press z to undo your previous action.
9. Search for messages (/)
How Do I Search for an Email?
Press "/" to move your curser into the search tab quickly.
When I need to search my inbox, I press / to quickly put my cursor in the search tab.
10. Go to tasks (g + k)
To go directly to tasks, press g then k. You'll be taken directly to your task list where you can ensure you answer emails, meet deadlines, and follow up in a timely manner.
11. Add a conversation to tasks (Shift + t)
Simply select the conversations you'd like to add to tasks and hold down Shift while you press t. You'll be taken directly to your task list where you'll see your selected task auto-populate.
The 12 Most Useful Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts For “Conversation View”
Conversation View is when we're reading an email after clicking on it from the Inbox View:
1. Reply (r)
When reading a message, press r to quickly respond to it.
2. Reply all (a)
Need to reply to more than one person? Press a to “reply all” in a message thread.
3. Forward (f)
What is the Keyboard Shortcut for Forward?
Press "f" to quickly forward an email in Gmail.
Pressing f will forward the current message to someone.
4. Mark current message as unread (Shift + u)
If I need to respond to a message, but don’t have time, I’ll hold Shift and press u to mark it as unread and come back to it later.
5. Mark selected message as important (=)
If I’m reading a message that’s important and I’ll need to reference it later, I’ll mark it as important by pressing = (the same shortcut for marking as important in the Inbox View).
6. Archive selected message (e)
To archive the current conversation, just press e (again, the same shortcut for archiving in Inbox View)
7. Jump to newer email (k)
To jump to the next email, press k.
8. Jump to previous email (j)
To jump to the previous email, press j.
9. Jump to next message in an email thread (n)
When I'm catching up on a lengthy email thread, I press n to quickly jump to the next conversation in the thread. This saves me time instead of scrolling with my mouse.
10. Jump to previous message in an email thread (p)
Conversely, if you need to return to the previous conversation in a lengthly email thread, press p to jump backwards.
11. Mute the never-ending-and-not-important thread (m)
How Do I Mute a Conversation in Gmail?
Press "m" to mute email threads you wish to unfollow.
This is one of my favorites. When I’m stuck in a lengthy thread that’s irrelevant to me, I press m to mute the thread. Thus, any new replies that come to this thread are automatically archived.
12. Jump back to inbox view (u)
To jump back to the Inbox View from Conversation View, just press u.
The 7 Most Useful Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts For “Compose View”
Compose View is simply when we're composing a message:
1. Insert link (Command + k)
Tto insert a link, hold Command then press k.
2. Insert numbered list (Command + Shift + 7)
To insert a numbered list, hold Command and Shift, then press 7.
3. Insert bullet points (Command + Shift + 8)
To insert a bullet point, hold Command and Shift, then press 8.
4. Bold / Italicize / Underline (Command + b / Command + I / Command + u)
Not trying to be captain obvious here, but couldn’t leave these classic keyboard shortcuts out.
5. Remove formatting (Command + Control + \)
Sure, there's a "remove formatting" button, but this shortcut lets you keep typing without hitting the mouse. Hold down Command and Control while you press the \ button.
6. Switch between send name, subject line, and body of email (Tab)
Press Tab to quickly switch between recipient, subject line, and body of email when composing an email.
7. Send Email (Command + Enter)
Hold Command and press Enter to send an email.
Use these keyboard shortcuts to get shift done.
It only takes a few minutes to learn these shortcuts (plus more gmail tips). Since you'll be using email for the rest of your life, don't you think it's worth investing a few minutes into mastering these? Before you know it, you'll be the fastest person in the office, as coworkers start asking you how you email like this: