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Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts

description: About my discovery of Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts tags: gmail, productivity, mail, webmail


Managing my inbox has been a point of contention, especially in the past working my a job as a Security Consultant. When I should have been doing pentests, I was forced to manually delete emails, one by one, because Microsoft Outlook 365’s web client is dog shit, I refuse to use local mail clients (I believe in a philosophy of being able to work in your most comfortable environment possible), and Outlook 365 web client at the time, or at least, our particular install of it did not have a “select all” ability, or even the ability to select individual emails so that I could, for instance, select a few emails to delete at a time.

I would not have even needed this ability at that time, but my workplace had only allocated me 500mb of disk space for my email. They could have used another solution, but Microsoft was one of our clients, and clients really like it when you say that you are using their products.

I’ve worked for places that used Gmail before, making them infinitely smarter and superior to places using Microsoft products. You get a fuckton more disk-space, making the management-process far easier and less stressful.

Further, recently I became acquainted with Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts. I archive mail a lot, and manually selecting each mail with the mouse on either of my hands is becoming physically painful. I have medication that helps with this, but you don’t want to simply…medicate then continue damaging yourself. That’s bad. You need to take actions to be more safe and efficient.

Enter Gmail keyboard shortcuts. I love vim as an editor for similar reasons as to why I love Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts: the productivity!

Take my simple use-case scenario: email archival. I check my inbox daily, and archive emails that are just random notifications or stuff I am done reading. I keep some stuff in my inbox as reminders, but in general, I archive almost everything that hits my inbox or any of its tabs (primary, social, promotions)…mostly just primary on the reg. Social and Promotions get stashed like, a few times a year. I should fix that lol.

Anyways, my use-case scenario: Instead of selecting individual emails, or clicking buttons, you can do this entirely with the keyboard.

First, you need to enable keyboard shortcuts by going to “Settings” in the Gmail web client. Once enabled, return to your inbox primary tab. You can now use the arrow-keys to navigate up and down through your mail list.

Get list of shortcuts: ?

Compose new email: c
Compose new email in a new tab: d

Send: Cmd/ctrl+enter

Selecting an email: x
Archiving an email: e
Navigate to all-mail: g+a...like, you press and hold g then press a
Toggle star: s
Reply: r
Mark as read: Shift+i
Mark as unread: Shift+u
Undo last action: z
Reply all: a
Delete: #
Report as spam: !
Move focus to toolbar: ,
Mark as important: = or +
Mark as unimportant: -


Tried this one, could not get it to work
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Switch between Calendar/Keep/Tasks sidebar and inbox: Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+, and Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+.

This is just a taste of what is offered. The full list is pretty long, but once enabled, you can pull up a list from within Gmail at any time by pressing ?, or shift+/ hehehe.

Considering how much communication I am doing nowadays, adapting to some of these shortcuts feels like a godsend. I am no longer cursed to mouse-clicking my email selections, or mouse-clicking to archive, or mouse-clicking…for almost anything email-related…AND I am not forced to use the Gmail app on my smartphone (which, to be fair, is nice for left-hand swipe-archiving, which is def. a break on my wrist).

Thanks, Google, for building some shit into your most-used app that probably everyone else knew about aeons ago but me, like most of this tech shit, but alas, that too is a blessing and a curse…never gonna know it all, but never done learning either :)


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