30 Gmail shortcuts to supercharge your productivity

Gmail shortcuts are an essential tool to navigate, organize and compose emails faster and more efficiently. This matters if you process tons of emails per day as each keystroke saves you a few seconds and this adds up pretty quickly when you spend 1-2h per day in your inbox.

This article is a rundown of the most useful Gmail keyboard shortcuts, divided in sections by workflows and common use cases.

Enabling keyboard shortcuts in Gmail

Before starting this article, make sure you have keyboard shortcuts enabled in Gmail’s preferences, they are turned off by default when an account is created.

Here is a GIF explaining how to do it.

Organizing your inbox

Organizing your inbox is by far the most common operation that you will do, since you probably don’t reply to most of the emails you get.

From the main list of emails, you can navigate to the next email by pressing j and to the previous one by pressing k, try it!

To open an email you have focused on, press o. To go back to the inbox press u.

Archive, delete, star, label

While in the main list of emails, you can move between emails with j and k, and select the email you want to act on with x. Once you have selected a bunch of emails you can:

  • Archive them by pressing e
  • Delete them by pressing #
  • Star them by pressing s
  • Label them by pressing l
  • Snooze them by pressing s

If you do something wrong the undo command is there for you, just press z.

Marking as important/unimportant

Another cool thing that you can do to train the Gmail AI to work for you is mark incoming emails as important or unimportant. This will be used by Gmail to label future emails like this for you.

To mark as important type +, to mark as unimportant type -.

For this to work your inbox must have this distinction. You can enable it in Gmail settings.

Read, reply, forward

When you are reading an email you can reply by simply pressing r. If it’s an email with multiple recipients, you can reply to all by pressing R (shift+r).

Another pretty common operation is forwarding, which you can do with, yeah you guessed it, f.

Most of the shortcuts are easy to remember by thinking of the name of the action they perform.

Composing emails

To compose an email you can simply type c .This will open the composer in the same window. If you have got a long email to write you can compose in a separate window to be more focused by typing C (shift+c).

When you are done typing you can send the email with CMD/Ctrl+Enter. Remember to type z to undo send if you change your mind or discover a typo (you have around 5 seconds to do so and this delay is configurable via Gmail's settings).

When composing, you may want to use the usual formatting shortcuts you are used to, that you can use after selecting some text:

  • Bold with CMD/Ctrl+B
  • Italics with CMD/Ctrl+I
  • Underline with CMD/Ctrl+U
  • Indent/outdent with CMD/Ctrl+]/[

Moving around

These shortcuts are less frequently used but nonetheless very useful. They take the form of g (go) + the destination you want to go to.

  • Go to inbox with g + i
  • Go to inbox with g + i
  • Go to sent messages with g + t
  • Go to archive with g + a
  • Go to labels with g + l

Another pretty useful shortcut is / that you can use to start a new Gmail search.

What if I forget a shortcut

There is a shortcut even for that! If you forget a shortcut just type ? and the list of all the available shortcuts will fill your screen.

Shortcuts in Boxy for Gmail

Boxy for Gmail is part of Boxy Suite, a set of premium applications for G Suite services on your Mac. Boxy for Gmail supports all the Gmail shortcuts mentioned in this article and adds, on top of those some native shortcuts you are used to when using a standard Mac application:

  • CMD+N to compose a new email
  • CMD+Shift+N to compose an email in a new window
  • CMD+Alt+1 to go to your Inbox
  • CMD+Alt+2 to go to starred messages
  • CMD+Alt+3 to go to sent messages

Plus some shortcuts that you don't get with standard Gmail that are useful when working with multiple accounts at the same time:

  • CMD+1 navigates to your first account
  • CMD+2 navigates to your second account
  • CMD+3 navigates to your third account

If you enjoyed this article, I invite you to try Boxy Suite, the premium suite of Mac apps for Gmail and Google Calendar.
We build it for Gmail lovers like you, learn more on the official website.


Boxy Suite is neither affiliated with, associated to, nor endorsed by Google in any way. © 2018 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Google, Gmail, Google Calendar, Inbox by Gmail and the Google Logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.