Productivity Tip: Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts


I’m on a keyboard productivity kick at the moment. Having been through the time-saving keyboard shortcuts in Google Tasks yesterday, I thought I’d take a look at the ones that I use in Gmail. I’m only going to cover the shortcuts that I use every day. It’s actually possible to do nearly everything in Gmail without touching the mouse, though you’d need to remember a very long list of shortcuts to do so, and personally I find it hard to remember shortcuts for tasks I do less frequently.

Before you get started with keyboard shortcuts in Gmail, you need to make sure that you’ve enabled them. Go to your “Settings” page (available through the link top-right), hit the button next to “Keyboard shortcuts on” and then click “Save Changes.”

Picture 7

Once shortcuts are enabled, you’ll see a little cursor to the left of the current message in your inbox.

  • c: Compose new message.
  • k: Moves the cursor to a newer conversation.
  • j: Moves the cursor to an older conversation.
  • n: Moves the cursor to the next message in conversation view.
  • p: Moves the cursor to the previous message in conversation view.
  • x: Selects the current conversation (ready for archiving, marking as spam, etc.).
  • e: Archives selected conversations.
  • !: Marks current conversation as spam.
  • Enter: Opens the current conversation.
  • r: Reply.
  • a: Reply all.
  • g then i: Goes to the Inbox (easy to remember as “Go Inbox”).
  • g then a: Goes to “All mail.”
  • g then k: Opens Tasks and switches the focus to it (unfortunately not g then t — that opens Sent Mail!)

These are just a small subset of all the keyboard shortcuts available, but they really help speed my Gmail usage. If you want to totally get to grips with all of Gmail’s available keyboard shortcuts, Twitter CEO Evan Williams put together this nice printable cheatsheet.

Do you use keyboard shortcuts in Gmail?


Justin Levy

The ability to master keyboard shortcuts is such an awesome skill to learn for productivity. Not only with just Gmail but with all applications. I actually find myself getting annoyed with apps if they don’t have shortcuts. I know I can set them up myself but still…. :)

Simon Mackie

Indeed — it’s a common problem with web apps, where there is less of a history of having keyboard shortcuts than with desktop apps


Hi Simon – thanks for the link to Evan Williams’ printable cheatsheet! I use kb shortcuts all the time in greader but for some reason never have done in Gmail, but will do so now! Thanks for the heads-up.

Martijn Engler

Oh, I love ’em!

gl => go to label (you can also type the name of a quick link there!)

while reading a conversation:
‘s’ to star, then ‘]’ to archive the current conversation and go to the next one.

Simon Mackie

Cool, thanks Martijn. I only shared the ones I use regularly (I do *a lot* of archiving/marking as spam, for example) — everyone will have their own favorites :)


Missed the best shortcut of all! ? displays a shortcut cheat sheet.

That one works in Reader too btw :)

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