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With keyboard shortcuts, Gmail = great mail

Make Gmail great again. Or just better than it already is.


If you spend hours each week using Gmail on a computer, these keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of your time.

Gmail splits its keyboard shortcuts into two groups: those that are always on and those that need to be enabled.

Always on

Open a message

You can use the up- and down-arrow keys to move through your inbox; you'll see a thin, blue, vertical line move along the left edge of your inbox as you hit the arrow keys. To open a message, hit Enter.

Navigate a conversation

When you are viewing an email conversation, hit the N key to move to the next message in the conversation and the P key to move to the previous message. Hit the Enter key to expand and collapse messages in a conversation.

Need to enable

To enable the following shortcuts, open Gmail and hit Shift-? and then click the Enable button below the list of commands.

You can also access this menu by clicking the gear icon in the upper-right corner and clicking Settings. In the Keyboard shortcuts section, select Keyboard shortcuts on before clicking Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

Compose new message

Hit the C key to compose a new message. Use Shift-C to compose a message in a new window, and hit the K key to compose a message in a new tab.

Move to next or previous email

When you have an email open, hit the J key to move to the next email in your inbox and the K key to move to the previous email.

Refresh or return to inbox

Hit the U key to refresh your inbox or return to the inbox view if you have an email open.

Select a message

To select a message from your inbox view (that is, check its box), move the vertical blue line to it and hit the X key.

Mute conversation

Select a conversation and hit the M key to mute it. Muting archives a conversation and keeps all future rely alls to it out of your inbox. If a message from the conversation is sent or cc'd directly to you, then it'll still appear in your inbox.

Trash or archive

With a message or messages selected in your inbox, hit the the # key to move it or them to the trash. (# = Shift-3). To archive instead of trashing a message, hit the E key.

Star conversation

When viewing your inbox, hit the S key to star a conversation. You don't need to have a conversation selected to star it; you need only to move the thin, blue line next to the conversation. Hit S again to remove the star.

Reply, reply all and forward

When you have a conversation open, hit the R key to reply to it. Hit the A key to reply all. Also, the F key lets you forward a conversation. Press Shift with any of these commands and you'll reply, reply all or forward in a new window.

Send it

Hit Tab-Enter to send a message.

Go to commands

There are a number of commands using the G key. The most helpful are these six:

  • G+A -- go to all mail
  • G+I -- go to inbox
  • G+S -- go to starred messages
  • G+D -- go to drafts
  • G+T -- go to sent mail
  • G+C -- go to contacts list

Asterisk commands

There are a number of commands using the * key, which is Shift-8 in practice. The most helpful are these three:

  • *+A -- select all mail
  • *+N -- deselect all mail
  • *+U -- select all unread mail

I use this last keyboard shortcut combo all the time. If I had to name a favorite, this would be it. It's so handy to be able to select all of the unread messages in my current inbox view and be able to mark them as read or move them to the trash.

For the complete list of Gmail shortcuts, see this Google support page.