Emailing is a common method of communication in businesses — and Gmail is popular among small and mid-sized businesses, especially since the free version is full-featured. If you use Gmail and you receive numerous emails each day, you can use several keyboard shortcuts to save time when going through your messages. Even better, these shortcuts involve pressing only a single key, which makes them easier to remember. Before you can use these shortcuts, though, you first need to enable them.
How to Enable Keyboard Shortcuts
While some keyboard shortcuts will work without enabling them, many will not. Therefore, you need to turn on this functionality by performing these steps:
- Sign in to your Gmail account.
- Click the gear icon near the upper right corner of the Gmail app.
- Select “Settings” from the menu that appears.
- Scroll down to the “Keyboard shortcuts” section on the “General” tab.
- Select the “Keyboard shortcuts on” option.
- Click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.
You are now ready to start using Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts.
Single-Key Shortcuts for Common Email Tasks
Keyboard shortcuts will save you the greatest amount time if you use them for tasks you perform frequently. Perhaps the most common task is browsing through emails, so that is a good place to start. A quick way to look at each message is to open the most recent email by clicking it in your Inbox and then pressing j on your keyboard when you are ready to open and read the next one. If you want to go back, just press k. The j and k shortcuts are equivalent to clicking the < and > buttons in the Gmail ribbon with your mouse.
When you want to respond to an email, you can use these keyboard shortcuts while the email is open:
- Press r if you want to reply to an email.
- Press a if you want to reply to all.
- Press f if you want to forward the email.
You obviously won’t need to respond to every email, in which case the following shortcuts might come in handy:
- Press # to delete an email.
- Press ! to report an email as spam.
- Press b to use the Snooze feature for the email. (Note that Snooze is not available in classic Gmail.)
- Press e to archive the email.
There are many more keyboard shortcuts you can use in Gmail. You can find the complete list on the “Keyboard shortcuts for Gmail” web page.