Aside from cut, copy, and paste, I'm not much of a keyboard shortcut guy. I've tried at various points over the years to remember key combos that promise to make me more effective during the workday, but they rarely stick. I tend to rely on a touch pad or mouse as my navigation guide, which is why I was excited to discover a Chrome extension aptly titled, Gmail Mouse Gestures.
With only three gestures, this Chrome extension will not overwhelm you with its offerings. Though limited, the gestures provide shortcuts for three common functions when reading an e-mail: return to inbox, go forward to the next message, and go back to the previous message.
After installing the Gmail Mouse Gestures extension and restarting Chrome, hold down the right mouse button to initiate the gestures. With the right mouse button held down, drag up to return to your inbox, drag left to go to the next (newer) message, or drag right to go to the previous message.
When you perform one of the gestures, the extension provides a visual cue to alert you that you have engaged it. You'll see a shaded area with an arrow pointing in the direction you are moving your mouse (see above).
The extension works only with Windows systems. I tried it on a Mac but got just the visual cues and none of the functionality. I tried it on both a Windows 7 desktop and laptop; the extension worked on both, but it was an admittedly more difficult maneuver using a touch pad than a mouse, which felt very natural.