GMail Keyboard Shortcuts

I know that I am really late on this, but I started using the GMail keyboard shortcuts a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know if this is true, but it seems like I get through my email significantly faster than I used to.

Here are the only ones I regularly use so far. I really only use two labels—”Inbox” and “Action”—and some of the commands I only use in one label. I basically follow Merlin Mann’s advice about processing email.

  • Type “g” followed by “i” to go to the Inbox.
  • Type “g” followed by “l” to access a dropdown list of labels. I then press the down arrow until Action is selected.
  • In the Inbox, type “o” to open the first message.
  • In the Inbox, type “l” to access the Label menu and hit return when the Action label is highlighted. I use this when I know that I need to return to the email after I am done processing my inbox.
  • In the Inbox, type “{” to archive the current message and move to the next message. I use this when I am done with that email, either because I put an Action label on it already or because there is no action needed. (Edit on April 9, 2014: I have found that typing “[” accomplishes the same thing; this means that you do not need to press SHIFT, and you can use the same keystrokes in Inbox and Action).
  • In the Inbox, type “#” to delete a message that I do not want to save. I then press “o” again to access the next message.
  • Within the Action label, type “[” to remove the label from the current message and move to the next message. I use this when I am done with the required action for that email.
  • In any context, type “c” to compose a new message.
  • When composing a new message, type “control-shift-c” to include addresses as cc; type “control-shift-b” to include addresses as bcc.
  • Type “control-enter” to send a message.

It only took me about a day to become fluent with these eleven commands, and now I almost never have to use the mouse in GMail.

Does anyone else have any keyboard shortcuts that they use regularly in GMail?

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9 Responses to “GMail Keyboard Shortcuts”

  1. Paul Johnson Says:

    Ahhh — I need to get on “}”/”{“. I was either using “e”, which archives the message but takes you back to the inbox, or “j”, which moves you to the next message but leaves the current message sitting in your inbox. “{” is very often what I want.

    Poking around, it appears there isn’t a “delete and move to next message” shortcut, but that might be for the best to avoid accidents….

    • bretbenesh Says:

      I have been toying around with learning these shortcuts for a long time, but I thought it was convenient enough to type “e” then “o” to archive messages. It was only when I learned about “{” that I committed.

      I was also hoping for a “delete and move” shortcut, and I hadn’t thought about why there isn’t one. But it probably does avoid accidents. Thanks for making me feel better about the fact that this feature doesn’t exist.

  2. Pinky Says:

    Thanks for these! Totally bookmarking this for reference.

  3. Patrick Says:


    That’s the only one you need. I used to have registered, btw!

    • bretbenesh Says:

      That is a really good one, too.

      I didn’t know that you were the keyboard shortcut guru. Be prepared for more emails from me—I love shortcuts!

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