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How to Use Keyboard Shortcuts in Gmail
Advantages of Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are a great time saver as you respond to, organize, and compose emails using Google's Gmail. The key combinations save you from having to reach for the mouse, an action that lowers your typing speed and can cause you to lose your concentration.
How to Activate Gmail Shortcuts
The feature is not an automatic in Gmail. Turn on the option by clicking the gear icon in the top right-hand corner of your Gmail screen. From the drop-down menu, select Settings.
Under the heading Keyboard shortcuts, click Keyboard shortcuts on. Notice that the default setting is Keyboard shortcuts off. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes. All ready to go with the shortcuts now!
Gmail Settings Page
Common Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
There are a lot of shortcuts available to you as an account holder. Rather than explaining every one, here is a list of ones you are likely to want to use quite often. Below is a list of individual key commands, followed by a list of combination key commands that are shortcuts.
Use individual keys with the Shift or Control buttons for actions such as composing a new message, deleting correspondence, and replying to an email. The key commands are all case-sensitive; use lower-case for the individual letters.
"c" => Press "c" to compose new message. You can either press "c" while an email is open on screen or from general Inbox page. Press Shift + "c" to compose new email in a new window.
"s" => Press "s" + Control button to save an email as a draft when you are not finished composing it.
"n" => Press "n" to move you to the next message when one is currently open on your screen. You must be in Conversation View to enable this shortcut.
"p" => Press "p" to move to the previous message. You must be in Conversation View.
"r" => Shift + "r" keyboard combination opens up a new screen for you to respond to the email that was open at the time that the keys are pressed.
"a" => Shift + "a" keyboard combination opens up a new screen for you to Reply To All people included in the original email open at the time the keys were pressed.
"#" => Press "#" to move the open email to the trash. Easy!
"e" => Press "e" + Shift to move an open message to Archive location with the email program.
"v" => Pressing "v" opens the Folder drop-down menu. Move the open message from your Inbox to a Folder or other area of Gmail that appears on the menu.
Gmail Shortcut To Move Email to Folder
Press a combination of letters to toggle between screens while you are in the email program. Here are some well-used shortcuts you may find useful.
"g" then "c" => The combination moves you to your Contacts list.
"g" then "t" => Jump to your Sent Items screen to see all emails you have sent.
"g" then "i" => When an email is open, press this key combination to move back to your Inbox.
"g" then "s" => Press the two keys together to go to all of the items you have Starred on Gmail.
Tab + Enter => Send the message automatically as soon as you are finished composing it.
Additional References For Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
Yes, the combinations listed above can be hard ones to memorize. Here are some places to look for reference when you need a reminder of the shortcuts.
Open Google Help Section
Do you want a cheat sheet? Google does provide one. Here is the link to the Keyboard shortcuts list for you to print out, bookmark, or even keep in a folder within the email program:
Press "?" in Gmail
Another way to bring up the Google cheat sheet is to press "?" while you are in Gmail. All shortcuts appear on the screen. You can also Disable or Enable the feature right from the screen.
Install KeyRocket App
Another option for trying to remember the key combinations is to install the KeyRocket App for Chrome. The app tries to help you learn the shortcuts. Each time you use your mouse in the email program, a pop-up appears that tells you which key combination you could have used to perform the same action.
Press "?" to Show Keyboard Shortcuts Screen
The keyboard shortcuts save you time on Gmail, which is important if you have a busy day (work or personal) and receive many emails. Key combinations are available for all actions you perform with a mouse, from sending a message to transferring a message from your Inbox to a labeled Folder. Use some or all of the shortcuts to make your time at the computer more efficient.