Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts: Top 23 to Learn
With Gmail keyboard shortcuts, you can waste less time managing your email and spend more time on productive tasks. Even small actions like moving emails to trash or adding in a CC recipient can mount up quickly, but using a keyboard shortcut to accomplish these tasks is the way forward.
Many people spend more time than they would like managing their email. If only there were a quicker way to get more stuff done!
Well, the good news is – there is. Gmail keyboard shortcuts are available to make your work and personal life easier, and they come in-built into Gmail. No special software is needed to access these Gmail keyboard shortcuts.
If you are using a Windows desktop or Mac to access Gmail, you can significantly speed up the time it takes to perform basic actions such as CC a recipient. You can even connect an external keyboard to your mobile device to achieve a similar outcome and use Gmail keyboard shortcuts.
Why spend more time than you need to on managing email in Gmail? Find out more about Gmail keyboard shortcuts to reclaim more of your life.
What are Gmail keyboard shortcuts?
Most people are familiar with the idea of keyboard shortcuts. You can use them with Windows or Mac, and the majority of people have used a shortcut such as CTRL+C or ⌘+C to copy some text or an image.
But did you know there are many more actions you can perform in Gmail beyond the basic manipulation of text? Gmail keyboard shortcuts make it easy to compose new messages, add in recipients, find misspelled words or insert links using Gmail shortcut keys.
It’s possible to use the native Gmail shortcuts, but also to enable even more shortcuts such as selecting all conversations. If you are a power user of Gmail, then you’ll definitely want to consider these options.
As the name suggests, Gmail shortcuts use the keyboard to perform important actions that you’ll need when managing email.
What are the benefits of using Gmail keyboard shortcuts?
Many people find that using the mouse or trackpad takes longer than sticking to the keyboard. When you know the top Gmail keyboard shortcuts, you can cut the time it takes to compose an email or manage your overflowing inbox.
There may be an occasion when you simply have no other option but to use the keyboard, in which case it helps to know these handy shortcuts. And if you’re sending large amounts of email, being able to use shortcuts to perform repetitive actions also makes your life a whole lot easier.
Sure, it takes some time to memorize all of these shortcuts, but if you do then you’ll see an increase in productivity and reduction in email fatigue. Using the mouse or tracker to find a button takes seconds, while using a Gmail keyboard shortcut takes less than a second. You do the math!
Using Gmail keyboard shortcuts makes Gmail more powerful than simply using the mouse on its own.
How can I find available keyboard shortcuts?
Some Gmail shortcuts are automatically enabled and there’s an easy way to view them while you’re using Gmail. When logged into Gmail on the homepage, press SHIFT+? to open keyboard shortcut help, where you can find a list of Gmail’s shortcuts and their functions.
These in-built shortcuts will be listed at the top in the window that opens. If you want to access extra shortcuts, scroll down and select enable – this will immediately enable extra shortcuts within Gmail.
If you have more than one Gmail account, then follow this process for each Gmail account you want to use them with.
Did you know that you can even enable custom Gmail keyboard shortcuts, by navigating to Settings > Advanced > Enable custom keyboard shortcuts.
Why aren’t my Gmail keyboard shortcuts working?
There may be a few reasons that your keyboard shortcuts aren’t working.
Keyboard shortcuts aren’t enabled – select the gear icon (click settings), go to See all settings, and then scroll down to click Keyboard shortcuts on.
It didn’t work the first time – repeat the previous steps but instead select Keyboard shortcuts off, then turn them on again.
The web browser is out of date – install any updates, restart your computer then try again.
An extension is preventing your Gmail keyboard shortcuts from working – disable all your extensions, then see if your shortcuts work now. Enable each extension one at a time to work out which one is causing the problem.
Make sure that you are using Gmail on a desktop rather than a mobile device. Some shortcuts require that you don’t have the Compose window open, while others are only available when composing an email.
If you use some shortcuts while composing an email, this will simply enter the keys you have pressed as text within the body of your new message.
Best Gmail keyboard shortcuts
Now we’re going to go through the most useful keyboard shortcuts.
1. View all shortcuts
To view all available shortcuts, use this shortcut. You will see a screen listing all of the standard shortcuts available to you in Gmail, alongside their function. You will also be able to see a list of advanced shortcuts which you will need to enable if you want to be able to use them.
2. Archive emails
If you select an email or number of emails first, using this archive emails keyboard shortcut will archive your emails. This removes them from the main folder and keeps your inbox tidy. This shortcut presents an alternative option to deleting your emails, as you’ll still be able to retain them for reference but reduce the mental load on a busy inbox.
3. Compose new email
You can rapidly compose a new email by choosing this shortcut, as it immediately opens the compose window within Gmail. Your new email will open as a blank window, including your signature if you have set one, and you are free to enter your own text and send as normal.
4. Mark as important
If you want to highlight the yellow flag symbol to mark a conversation as important then use this shortcut. You have to select at least one message in order to be able to use this shortcut, otherwise you will receive a message saying it hasn’t worked.
5. Send message
When you have composed your email, you can quickly send it to your recipient(s) by using this send email keyboard shortcut. Be careful to make sure that your email is definitely ready to send before hitting this shortcut though, although you have a short window to recall your email if you realize you have made a mistake.
6. Select all messages
There may come a time when you want to select all messages on a page at a single time, in which case you would use this shortcut. Once you have selected all, you can perform another shortcut such as archiving all the emails or sending them to the Gmail trash bin. This shortcut makes it easier to complete bulk actions within your inbox.
7. Move to trash
We get it, you have no more use for an email or you never wanted it in the first place. Make sure your email (or emails) are selected in the inbox and then use this shortcut to move your message to the trash. Don’t worry – if you make a mistake you can always immediately Undo or you can find your message again later in the trash and restore it.
8. Insert link
CTRL+K or ⌘+K
When you’re composing an email you might find it desirable to quickly insert a link into the body of your message. You can do exactly that with this insert link keyboard shortcut, which you can use to open the edit link window and enter your text and URL.
9. CC contacts
CTRL+SHIFT+C or ⌘+SHIFT+C
It’s quite likely that you’ll want to CC recipients into any email that you’re composing, and you can do this with a shortcut available in Gmail. Press this shortcut to navigate to the CC section of any email you’re writing and enter the recipients that you want to include.
10. Discard draft
CTRL+SHIFT+D or ⌘+SHIFT+D
You may be working on a draft in the compose window and decide that you no longer want the email. If this happens there is an easy way to discard your draft while you’re working on it, which will remove it from the draft folder. This means you don’t accidentally send a draft that you no longer wish anyone to see.
If you want to reply to an open email that you are reading then you can simply hit this reply keyboard shortcut. Hitting this shortcut opens up a new reply containing the recipient’s email address, but does not automatically CC or BCC other recipients – it will only open a reply to the original sender.
12. Italicize your text
CTRL+I or ⌘+I
Now we’ll look at our first formatting keyboard shortcut. If you want to add some extra emphasis to the text in your emails then you’ll surely want to italicize it. Italicizing your text in Gmail is quick and simple – identical to how you would italicize in any normal word processor.
13. Bold your text
CTRL+B or ⌘+B
Like the previous shortcut, another way you can create emphasis in your text is by making some of it bold. Bold text stands out more and helps ensure that recipients don’t miss anything in your message. Again, making your text bold in Gmail is very similar to using a word processor.
14. Underline your text
CTRL+U or ⌘+U
To make extra sure that your text stands out you can also use the underline text keyboard shortcut! Be careful not to overuse this function or you may overwhelm your recipients by creating too much emphasis. Be selective with your underlining and your recipients will definitely appreciate it more.
15. Strikethrough your text
Alt+Shift+5 or ⌘+Shift+X
Alternatively, you might want to include text to show that an action is completed or the text is no longer relevant, in which case you would strikethrough the text. Just highlight the text you want to strikethrough and then use the shortcut.
16. Open Google Tasks
Google Tasks is a task management software that you can use to manage your to-do list, accessible directly through Gmail. If you want to view your existing tasks or add a new task, use this shortcut to open Google Tasks in the right-hand pane of Gmail to stay productive without ever leaving your inbox for a new window.
17. Open Google Contacts
While in Gmail you might like to view a list of all your available contacts, which you can do through Google Contacts. Use this shortcut to open Contacts in a new tab, and then you can perform actions relating to your contacts such as making lists.
18. Mute conversation
Sometimes you might want to turn a conversation off in the inbox to stop it distracting you, such as when you are part of a thread which is receiving lots of replies. Use the mute conversation keyboard shortcut to remove the conversation from your inbox without deleting it.
19. Select unread conversations
When tidying up your inbox you might want to select all of the conversations that are unread, with the intention of deleting them without opening them. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to do this in Gmail using this particular unread keyboard shortcut, which will select all of the currently unread messages in your view.
20. Go to drafts
If you want to open up your drafts folder in Gmail there’s a simple way to do that, too. Use this shortcut to be taken to your list of unsent drafts, from where you can finish composing your messages and send them on their way.
21. Report as spam
Select a particular email from your inbox or number of emails and then use this spam keyboard shortcut to report as spam and unsubscribe. Although Gmail should automatically filter many of your emails into your spam folder, some may slip through the net and this shortcut is a great way to keep your inbox clean.
22. Created numbered list
CTRL+Shift+7 or ⌘+Shift+7
Sometimes when you need to present a series of points in a particular order then a numbered list is the way to go. Use this numbered list keyboard shortcut as a way to instantly present your text as a numbered list when composing a new email.
23. Forward email
You might be looking for an easy way to forward an email you have received, in which case you’ll definitely want to learn this forward email keyboard shortcut. Just make sure you have the email you want to forward open and using this shortcut will instantly create a new email forwarding screen containing the message.
Use your Gmail shortcuts with Keeping
Customer service teams always have a great need to save time, and using Gmail keyboard shortcuts alongside Keeping will definitely take you to new heights of productivity. Serve more customers more effectively with our customer service software that sits on top of Gmail to allow you to turn your inbox into a help desk.
Since the native interface of Gmail remains intact, you can still use a keyboard shortcut alongside Keeping’s extra features such as turning conversations into tickets, assigning tickets to support agents, and access reporting in the back-end.
Here are a few more of Keeping’s great features that you won’t be able to live without:
Collision detection – prevent more than one agent from responding to a single email
Shared notes – take collaboration to the next level by being able to comment on a particular email thread
Multiple mailboxes – access multiple mailboxes from the same account
Shared templates – save commonly used text to Keeping that you can use in your replies
So when responding to emails within Keeping, take advantage of Gmail keyboard shortcuts to help more customers much faster.
Now you know about Gmail keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be able to waste less time managing your email and spend more time on productive tasks. Even small actions like moving emails to trash or adding in a CC recipient can mount up quickly, but using a keyboard shortcut to accomplish these tasks is the way forward.
Whether you are a paid or free user of Google Workspace, Gmail offers these native options to make managing email more of a joy rather than an obligation. Taking just a little bit of time to learn these shortcuts saves you more time in the long-run, and makes email less tedious.
Switching to the keyboard rather than a mouse for some tasks just makes more sense when you are spending hours in Gmail. When you’re repeating the same tasks over and over again, Gmail keyboard shortcuts can be a lifesaver. Although there are many shortcuts available, make sure you learn these 23 best Gmail keyboard shortcuts.
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