gmail keyboard shortcuts

Did you know that gmail has keyboard shortcuts? You need to turn them on in the mail configuration section (click a thingie in the upper right corner of your gmail page and look for it).

The commands are k,j,n,p,’enter’ or o, u; x followeed by e,m; s, +, -, ! r, a, f, ctrl-s, #, l, v, shift-i and shift-u, [ and ] as well as { and }, z, shift-n, q, y, ., ctrl-downarrow, ?, and of course, g followed by a letter, * followed by a letter, escape and c. Got that?

In case you want to know what they do, have a look at a few of those you are likely to use more often:

While gmail has focus, but not if a text box or form (like when you are typing an email) has focus:

c = “compose a message”
/ = “search through messages”

When you are looking at an “email” (i.e. a “conversation”) …

k = “move to a newer (up) conversation”
j = “move to an older (down) conversation”

n/p = “move to the next/previous message (email) within a conversation)

For the above, “enter” opens the message. Or, “o” for “open”

…so you can use kjnp to move around in your gmail threads, with enter giving you a look at the actual message.

While you are looking at your “conversation” you can hit “x” to select the entire thing, which you can then delete, archive, whatever. This is the same as checking the checkbox but works from the view within the conversation where there is no checkbox.

Once a conversationis selected (with x or a checkbox) you can a for archive it or m to mute it (that means it and all future messages go right to archives and not the inbox … personally, I’m tempted to do that with everything!)

Once you’ve composed (c) a message youcan tab-enter it to send it. While you are reading through your messages, y followed by 0 archives it and moves you to the next one. a “g” for “goto” followed by any of several letters acts on multiple messages (beyond the scope of the present blog posts) or does some other cool thing such as g followed by c (go to contacts) or g followed by d (go to drafts). A * followed by any of several letters selects/deselects by various categories (all, read, unread, starred, etc.)

Using c, /, the npjk combo, the x and the a is probably a good start for now. If you want to know the other commands just hit ? to get a popup cheat sheet or visit this web page for a useful if slightly garbled version.


  1. #1 Uncle Glenny
    July 18, 2011


  2. #2 killinchy
    July 18, 2011

    I wish there were a command for adding a link