Gmail has over 80 keyboard shortcuts. You don’t need them all. You do need these 19. Not only are they faster than clicking buttons, they’ll encourage other good habits to help you plow through your inbox.
Some of these shortcuts require you to enable keyboard shortcuts in Gmail. Go to Settings, scroll down in the General tab, and select “Keyboard shortcuts on.”
From the inbox
To save time, you should handle as many emails as possible in the inbox, without even opening them. You should do it in batches. And you should do it with your keyboard.
Whenever you’re looking at your inbox, one email is highlighted, showing a blue bar next to it. That’s the one that any action you take (like hitting enter to open) will apply to.
You can move up and down your inbox with the arrow keys, but if you use j and k instead, you don’t have to move your hands from the typing position. This is great for batch processing emails.
To select an email in the inbox, hit x. (Hit x again to deselect.) Use this and j/k to select multiple emails so you can apply one action to all of them.
For example, try selecting all the emails that you could archive without opening. And then hit:
This also works while reading an email.
If you’re looking at all the emails with a specific label instead of the inbox, y will remove the label from the current email. That’s usually what you’ll actually want. But to archive and keep the label, hit e.
Use this to move the cursor to the search box.
To undo your last action in the inbox, use this instead of ctrl-z.
While reading an email
Move to the previous/next email thread: j/k
This moves to another email thread without archiving the current one, and without going back to the inbox.
Archive and move to the previous/next email thread: [ ]
If you’re viewing emails with a certain label (instead of the inbox), these keys will remove the label and move to the next email.
Move to spam: !
Mark as unread: shift-u
Reply all: a
While composing an email
Send: ctrl-enter (Mac: ⌘-enter)
Insert link: ctrl-k (Mac: ⌘-k)
Remove formatting: ctrl-\ (Mac: ⌘-\)
If you paste text from multiple documents into an email, it might look like a ransom note. This shortcut changes all selected text into plain text, removing any mismatched fonts, bold/italic/underlines, and links.
And most importantly
Show keyboard shortcuts: ?
Everyone will have a favourite Gmail shortcut that’s not on this list. Find them all with the ? key, which is technically the same as shift-/.
To change these shortcuts, or delete the ones you don’t use so you don’t accidentally trigger them, open Settings, go to the Advanced tab, and select “Enable” next to “Custom keyboard shortcuts.” Save these settings, then go back to Settings and find the new Keyboard Shortcuts tab.