Gmail – 45 Timesaving Keyboard Shortcuts

by Mike McEvoy on November 5, 2009


Gmail keyboard shortcuts are a great way to increase your computing performance. These small combinations of keystrokes within Gmail can be a real productivity booster and help you avoid having to move your hand from keyboard to mouse as frequently. Our previous posts on keyboard shortcuts have included Firefox shortcuts, Internet Explorer shortcuts, Google Chrome Shortcuts and Windows shortcuts. Here are 45 timesaving Gmail keyboard shortcuts to help increase your efficiency when using the Google mail environment.

Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts – Some Differences

Gmail shortcuts are somewhat different than browser keyboard shortcuts for two main reasons:

  1. Limits on Keystroke Choices: when using Gmail keyboard shortcuts you are working within a web browser so Gmail cannot duplicate any of the standard shortcut key combinations used by Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari or Opera web browsers;
  2. Functions Vary by Location: Gmail shortcut functionality is based on your location within Gmail. Some shortcuts function only when reading a message or conversation, some work only when viewing conversation lists such as Inbox or All Mail, or viewing Contacts or Tasks.

Activating Gmail’s Keyboard Shortcuts
Before these shortcuts can be used you have to make sure that the Keyboard Shortcuts Setting for Gmail is set to “on” in Gmail Settings as shown here:


To help clarify how Gmail keyboard shortcuts are used they have been grouped below by functionality, such as Navigation, Selection, Management or General.

Gmail Top Level View Navigation Shortcuts

These combinations of keystrokes speed up navigating among top level views such as Inbox, Sent Mail, All Mail, Spam, Trash, Drafts, Contacts and Tasks.  All letters in the keystroke combinations are shown in lower case but are not case sensitive. An example: “g then i” means press the “g” key then the “i” key, one right after the other.

  • g then i –  Open the Inbox.
  • g then s –  Open Starred.
  • g then t –  Open Sent Mail.
  • g then d –   Open Drafts.
  • g then a –  Open All Mail.
  • g then c –  Open Contacts.
  • g then k –  Open Tasks.

Gmail Selection and Management Shortcuts

These combinations of keystrokes are used within a specific view such as Inbox or All Mail to assist with quickly managing messages and conversations.

  • * then a –    Select all conversations.
  • * then n –    Deselect all conversations.
  • * then r –    Select only read conversations.
  • * then u –    Select only unread conversations.
  • * then s –    Select only starred conversations.
  • * then t –    Select only unstarred conversations.
  • x — Select a specific conversation; puts a check in checkbox; works as a toggle.
  • s – Stars a specific conversation; works as a toggle.
  • . – Open the More Actions dropdown list; works as a toggle.
  • e — Archive a conversation from current View into the All Mail View.
  • l – Open the Labels dropdown list to allow you to apply a label to a conversation.
  • # — Move the selected conversation to the Trash.
  • <Shift> + i — Mark selected conversations as read.
  • <Shift> + u – Mark selected conversations as unread.

Gmail Message Navigation Shortcuts

These Gmail keyboard shortcuts are used for navigating within conversations lists or views. The small black arrow at the left of the conversation list indicates the current conversation focus.

  • u – Return to conversation list (View) from current conversation.
  • k – Move to newer conversation; location indicated by black arrow on left.
  • j – Move to older conversation; location indicated by black arrow on left.
  • <Enter> or o –    Open selected conversation; black arrow indicates selection.
  • <Shift> + <Enter> or <Shift> + o — Open a conversation in a new window; black arrow indicates selection.
  • p — Read previous message within a conversation.
  • n — Read next message within a conversation.
  • r – Reply to sender when a conversation is open.
  • <Shift> + r — Open the reply in a new window.
  • a — Reply to all when a conversation is open.
  • <Shift> + a — Open the reply to all in a new window.
  • f — Forward current conversation when a conversation is open.
  • <Shift> + f — Open the forward current conversation in a new window.
  • <Ctrl> + s — Save a new or edited conversation as a draft. Cursor must be in a text field.
  • [ -- Archive the current conversation and move to the previous one.
  • ] – Archive the current conversation and move to the next one.

Gmail General Top Level Shortcuts

  • c – Open a new message.
  • <Shift> + c – Open a new message in a new window.
  • / — Move cursor to the entry box for Search Mail.
  • z – Undo previous action. Mainly used when typing and works as an “undelete”.
  • Esc – Remove the cursor from a search box or any input field.

Standard Windows shortcuts such as <Ctrl> + c, <Ctrl> + x and <Ctrl> + v are also useable within Gmail when editing text. Most browser shortcuts such as <spacebar> and Shift + <spacebar> for scrolling up or down a page are also usable.

Some other locations for more information on Gmail keyboard shortcuts include the Gmail Help Center and the Official Gmail Blog.

Hope these keyboard shortcuts help you when using Google Gmail. I’ve provided some context for using the different shortcuts instead of just a standard “laundry list.” If you have some favorite Gmail keyboard shortcuts that is not listed here leave a Comment and share it with the other readers.



BunnygotBlog November 5, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Thank you so much,Mike.I use shortcuts all the time.
Very useful tips.
.-= BunnygotBlog´s last blog ..12 On Blogging: Katie Clemons, “Making This Home” =-.

Mike McEvoy November 6, 2009 at 12:11 am

@BunnygotBlog — Glad you found this useful. Keyboard shortcuts can really be a time saver once you get the hang of them. Thanks for stopping by.

MrGroove November 7, 2009 at 10:28 am

Thanks for the tips. The majority I didn’t even know about.

Great write-up!
.-= MrGroove´s last blog ..Update Windows 7 Automatically with Windows Updates [How-To] =-.

Mike McEvoy November 7, 2009 at 1:37 pm

@MrGroove — Glad you found the Gmail Shortcuts useful. Yes, many people are not aware of these and they can be a real productivity boost, even if you only use a few of them. Also be sure to check out my previous posts on Firefox shortcuts, Internet Explorer and Windows shortcuts. Thanks for stopping by.

MrGroove November 10, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Anytime and I will check-out those other posts. I’m always looking for a fresh clean site with good content.

Thanks Mike

.-= MrGroove´s last blog ..Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account [How-To] =-.

Eren Mckay November 11, 2009 at 9:09 am

Wow- just when I think that I’m starting to get tech savvy I find out how much I don’t know- :-D.
I’m going to have to save this so that i can learn and then implement it.
Thanks for the tutorial,
.-= Eren Mckay´s last blog ..Make new friends on the internet =-.

Mike McEvoy November 11, 2009 at 9:25 pm

@Eren, Glad you find these shortcuts useful. In total they can be a bit to digest. Try starting with 4 or 5 that will give you the most “bang for the buck.” After those become second nature you can easily expand.

Also be sure to check out the Firefox and IE shortcuts depending on which browser you use most. And if you are using Windows be sure to remember the Ctrl-Z,X,C,V combinations. Thanks for stopping by.

Marianne November 25, 2009 at 4:17 am

Great info, some of these are new to me and I will be using them a LOT! Thank you.
.-= Marianne´s last blog ..The Way To Set Yourself Apart From Other Affiliates =-.

Mike McEvoy December 1, 2009 at 9:01 pm

@Marianne — Glad you found these shortcuts helpful. Also be sure to check out some of the other Shortcuts posts. Thanks for stopping by.

bulls cap November 27, 2009 at 6:17 am

awesome tips !! its worked great for me in Firefox, but I did not test them in any other browser.thank you

Mike McEvoy December 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm

@bulls cap — Thanks. Glad you found these shortcuts helpful. It’s surprising how much time they can save you once some of they become second nature. Thanks for commenting.

Ashok December 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm

These are really nice Gmail shortcut tips. Only problem is it becomes difficult to remember so many shortcuts.
.-= Ashok´s last blog ..Download 35 free themes for Windows 7 from Microsoft =-.

Mike McEvoy December 1, 2009 at 9:15 pm

@Ashok — Yes, there are a lot to remember. I’ve found that if you start with the 5 or 6 most frequently used shortcuts and use them regularly, soon you won’t even have to think about using them. Then you can begin to expand and add more shortcuts in manageable groups over time. Pretty soon you will remember a large group. Thanks for stopping by.

John@computer freezzes February 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

A very nice and comprehensive list. Just did a CTRL + P on this post. Thanks.
.-= John@computer freezzes´s last blog ..The Ugly Truth About Spyware and How It Makes Your Computer Keep Freezing Up =-.

RolandT April 23, 2010 at 11:09 am

Excellent collection of Gmail tips. Very easy to read and understand. Also love the links to the Firefox and Windows shortcuts. Thanks. Are there any special keyboard shortcuts for windows 7?

Tony August 4, 2010 at 8:19 am

Great list. I use a lot of these already but I’ll be bookmarking this because it is a good list with things I didn’t know. Keep up the good work!

sili December 21, 2010 at 1:55 am

The best shortcut of them all: ?
This will show a list of all shortcuts right in Gmail.

Tina May 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

Is there an “easy” way to add names, phone numbers, or addresses that I have highlighted to my Gmail contacts? I think it is strange that Google hasn’t at least allowed this from Google Maps.

internet marketing affiliate May 28, 2011 at 2:16 am

I really like your post because I myself utilize Gmail as my email service provider but sometimes get stuck on other features because I don’t know what are its keyboard shortcuts. Thanks for sharing this information because it is of big help with my computer tricks.

Nigel Green July 15, 2011 at 2:58 am

Maybe I missed this but I didn’t see V for Move. I came here to see if you had a solution for the fact that you press V but the focus is not in the field for typing the name fo the label you want it to move to (Firefox but maybe others) Also for Mac users # for delete is not available without using the Alt key as well (Alt+3) – I have created a custom keyboard stroke using the apostrophe (same key as # used to be) although ‘d’ also works so set ‘ as an alternative. Settings then Keyboard Shortcuts

Razibul Hassan August 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

Thanks for the great tips. The keyboard shortcut would be really helpful for Gmail users. I’ve a personal list of Gmail shortcuts. Most of them are already mentioned here in this post, nonetheless I’d like to add those :

C: Compose new message.
Shift + C: Open new window to compose new message.
Slash (/): Switch focus to search box.
K: Switch focus to the next most recent email. Enter or “O” opens focused email.
J: Switch focus to the next oldest email.
N: Switch focus to the next message in the “conversation.” Enter or “O” expands/collapses messages.
P: Switch focus to the previous message.
U: Takes you back to the inbox and checks for new mail.
Y: Various actions depending on current view:
Has no effect in “Sent” and “All Mail” views.
Inbox: Archive email or message.
Starred: Unstar email or message.
Spam: Unmark as spam and move back to “Inbox.”
Trash: Move back to “Inbox.”
Any label: Remove the label.
X: “Check” an email. Various actions can be performed against all checked emails.
S: “Star” an email. Identical to the more familiar term, “flagging.”
R: Reply to the email.
A: Reply to all recipients of the email.
F: Forward an email.
Shift + R: Reply to the email in a new window.
Shift + A: Reply to all recipients of the email in a new window.
Shift + F: Forward an email in a new window.
Shift + 1 (!): Mark an email as spam and remove it from the inbox.
G then I: Switch to “Inbox” view.
G then S: Switch to “Starred” view.
G then A: Switch to “All Mail” view.
G then C: Switch to “Contacts” view.
G then S: Switch to “Drafts” view.


David Fraser November 8, 2011 at 11:53 am

Thanks for the info, some of these are really useful, if I can remember them. Dave

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: