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The 25 Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts That Save Me 60 Hours Per Year


One year ago, I invested about two minutes into learning shortcuts for Gmail.

Since then, it's saved me about one second per email action (ex. deleting, reply, composing, etc), which equals roughly 15 minutes per day. 

That means in the past year, I've spent 60 fewer hours in Gmail than normal. 

Which leads to bonus time to tackle extra assignments and goals I have on my docket. As a marketer, this extra time is crucial. If you're a salesperson, it could be the difference between hitting quota and falling just short. Here's your chance to reach out to one more prospect and give that extra product demonstration.

Seeing as the average worker spends over two hours per day in email, I'll do anything I can to cut that number down (including blocking email for six hours a day). Except here's the problem: there are a LOT of keyboard shortcuts for Gmail. Not all of them are actually useful.

Understanding this, I've created a resource for only the 25 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 25 most useful keyboard shortcuts:

WAIT! Before proceeding, make sure keyboard shortcuts are actived:

1. Click the mail_gear.png gear in the top-right corner of Gmail and select Settings

2. Under the "General" tab, find the "Keyboard shorcuts" section and select Keyboard shortcuts on.

3. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page. 

4. Go back to Settings, click on the "Labs" tab, find "Custom keyboard shortcuts" (by Alan S) and click Enable.

5. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page. 

The 7 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. 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? :) 

2. 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.


3. 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.


4. 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.


5. Mark selected messages as important (=)

On the contrary, when I have numerous important messages selected, I press = to mark them all as important.


6. Compose (c)

Sometimes I just need to quickly compose a message from the inbox view, so I press c to do this. 


7. Search for messages (/)

When I need to search my inbox, I press / to quickly put my cursor in the search tab.


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, I press r to quickly respond to it:


2. Reply all (a)

I need to reply to more than one person? I press a to “reply all” in a message thread. 


3. Forward (f)

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 = (yes, the same shortcut for marking as important in the Inbox View). 


6. Archive selected message (e)

If I want 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, I press k.


8. Jump to previous email (j)

To jump to the previous email, I 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, when I need to return to the previous conversation in a lengthly email thread, I press p to jump backwards. 


11. Mute the never-ending-and-not-important thread (m)

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)

When I need to jump back to the Inbox View from Conversation View, I just press u.


The 6 Most Useful Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts For “Compose View”

Compose View is simply when we're composing a message:


1. Insert link (Command + k)

When I need to insert a link, I hold Command then press k.


2. Insert numbered list (Command + Shift + 7)

To insert a numbered list, I hold Command and Shift, then press 7


3. Insert bullet points (Command + Shift + 8)

To insert a bullet point, I 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. 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. 


6. Send Email (Command + Enter)

Hold Command and press Enter to send an email. But remember to check the Sidekick box to track your email to see when your recipient opened your 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?

Save a few seconds, they'll turn into minutes. Minutes into hours ... hours into days. Before you know it, you'll be the fastest person in the office, as coworkers start asking you how you email like this:


Master these shortcuts, get shift done.

Check out our guide to Chrome keyboard shortcuts to get the most out of your apps for email.

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