If you want to reduce the amount of time you spend on email, learning Gmail keyboard shortcuts is a fantastic investment.
Like most of us, you probably waste minutes each week just navigating your mailbox — whether you’re hunting for old files, formatting emails, or double-checking that you aren’t about to Cc the whole office your weekend plans.
Say goodbye to all that! These Gmail keyboard shortcuts will reduce your daily workload and free you up to complete more productive tasks. We’ll start by explaining how to enable keyboard shortcuts in Gmail, and then cover 48 handy Gmail shortcuts.
Ready? Let’s get started!
What Is a Gmail Shortcut?
Before we dive into our list of time-saving shortcuts, let’s briefly explore the basics of keyboard shortcuts. A keyboard shortcut is a key or a series of keys that complete an action a person performs typically with their mouse.
There are many common shortcuts you’re probably picturing right now, like Ctrl+C (Windows) or ⌘+C (Mac) for copying text. Another standard shortcut is Ctrl+F (Windows) or ⌘+F (Mac) for text search. These are great for productivity, but they aren’t the only keyboard shortcuts.
Gmail has its own set of shortcuts explicitly designed for efficient emailing. There are many advantages to using these shortcuts:
- Navigate through your Gmail inbox faster.
- Perform everyday formatting actions without interrupting your flow.
- Maintain ergonomic movements by removing the need to use your mouse.
So, how do you turn on keyboard shortcuts?
How to Use Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
You’ll need to turn on Gmail keyboard shortcuts manually before you can use them. Thankfully, it’s a pretty straightforward process. You just need to follow these six steps:
- Go to Gmail.
- Click the Settings icon.
- Click See all settings.
- Scroll to the Keyboard shortcuts section.
- Turn keyboard shortcuts on by selecting the radio button.
- Click Save at the bottom of the page.
If you have multiple Gmail accounts, you’ll need to follow these steps for each account.
Once you’ve turned on your Gmail shortcut keys, you’ll need to learn how to use them. Let’s explore that next.
How Do I Find Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts?
Google will show you a complete list of your Gmail keyboard shortcuts through the shortcuts menu. Once shortcuts are enabled, you can bring up the shortcuts menu by holding Shift+? in Gmail.
The Keyboard shortcuts popup allows you to choose whether you want to enable or disable groups of shortcuts, as you can see below:
There are two key places you can find more information about shortcuts.
If you want to expand your shortcuts beyond Gmail’s default ones, you can also create custom shortcuts. To do this, you’ll need to turn on custom shortcuts by following these instructions:
- Go to Gmail and click Settings.
- Click Advanced.
- Click Enable next to custom keyboard shortcuts.
- Press Save changes.
Why Are My Gmail Shortcuts Still Not Working?
If you’ve followed the steps above, your keyboard shortcuts should be working. However, people occasionally encounter some hiccups along the way.
Here are three common ones and their solutions:
|Your shortcuts didn’t turn on properly.||Try turning your keyboard shortcuts off and on again.|
|Your web browser is out of date.||Update your browser, restart your computer and try again.|
|Your extensions are stopping keyboard shortcuts from working.||Disable all of your extensions and test your shortcuts. Then, turn on your extensions one by one to locate the problem extension.|
Best Gmail Shortcuts
In this section, we’re going to take you through 48 keyboard shortcuts for Gmail. Let’s jump in.
1. Archive Emails
This shortcut will take all your selected emails and move them into your archives. When you archive an email or conversation, Gmail won’t delete it. Instead, Gmail removes it from your inbox and places it in your “All Mail” folder.
2. Compose Email
This nifty shortcut opens a new email on your screen, just like the + Compose button. It’s excellent for speeding up your daily emailing. However, don’t press C again if your email doesn’t load straight away, or you’ll open yet another new email window.
3. Trash Emails
This Gmail shortcut will take the emails you have currently selected and move them into your trash folder. The trash folder automatically deletes your emails after 30 days. You can also empty the trash folder manually at any time.
4. Select All Conversations
This shortcut will select all the conversations on your current screen. It’s helpful when you need to archive, delete, or star large quantities of emails quickly.
5. Reply All
When you use this shortcut while viewing an email, it’ll start a response email that replies to everyone who received the original email (not just the sender). This shortcut doesn’t include people who are Cc’d or Bcc’d in the email.
In a similar vein to the previous shortcut, this one opens a response email. However, it will only directly reply to the person who sent you the original message (not other Cc’d or Bcc’d recipients).
7. Reply in a New Window
This combo is the third “Reply” shortcut. This keyboard shortcut will open a response email in a separate tab, making it perfect for drafting longer messages.
8. Make Text Italicized
Ctrl+I (Windows) or
This shortcut takes any text that you’ve highlighted and italicizes it like this. This shortcut is great for formatting your emails quickly.
9. Make Text Bold
Ctrl+B (Windows) or
This shortcut takes any text that you’ve highlighted and makes it bold like this. Using bold text in your emails is a great way to grab the reader’s attention so that this shortcut can help you quickly draft more engaging emails.
10. Underline Text
Ctrl+U (Windows) or
This Gmail shortcut will underline any text you highlight like this.
It can be helpful to underline text in an email if you want to draw the reader’s eye to a specifying part of a sentence, like “I don’t want carnations in the garden.”
As people scan emails, formatting your email will make your point clear.
11. Strikethrough Text
Alt+Shift+5 (Windows) or
This shortcut will strikethrough any text you’ve selected, like this example.
12. Open Google Tasks
This shortcut will open the “My Tasks” tab from Google Tasks on the left-hand side of your screen. You can add new to-do tasks from this tab, tick off tasks, or edit your current tasks.
13. Add Conversations to Google Tasks
This keyboard shortcut will add the conversation you are viewing as a new task in Google Tasks. The shortcut only works when you’ve clicked on an email.
It is handy when making a note of something to come back to later — like a request to send a document to a coworker. When you add a conversation to Google Tasks, it looks like this:
14. Send Email
Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or
When you use this shortcut, it’ll automatically send the email or reply you’re currently working on. If you accidentally use this shortcut, you can hit the “Undo” button within a few seconds to stop the email from sending (provided you’ve enabled “Undo Send” in your settings).
15. Insert a Link
Ctrl+K (Windows) or
This shortcut will bring up the “Edit Link” widget. From this widget, you can type text to display and insert a URL from a web or email address. You can see the widget below:
16. Add Cc Recipients to Your Email
Ctrl+Shift+C (Windows) or
This shortcut will add the “Cc” bar into the email you’re currently working on. From here, you can type people’s addresses to add them as Cc’s. This shortcut only works when you have an email open.
17. Add Bcc Recipients to Your Email
Ctrl+Shift+B (Windows) or
This Gmail shortcut adds the “Bcc” bar into the email you’re currently writing. You can add Bcc’s by typing their addresses. Again, this shortcut only works when you are drafting an email.
18. Add Numbered List
Ctrl+Shift+7 (Windows) or
This shortcut will add a numbered list to any vertical lines of text that you’ve selected. It looks like this:
- Some Text
- More Text
- Even More Text
19. Add a Bulleted List
Ctrl+Shift+8 (Windows) or
Like the “Add a Numbered List” shortcut, this one adds a bulleted list to selected text. It looks like this:
- Some Text
- More Text
- Even More Text
20. Increase Text Size
Ctrl+Shift++ (Windows) or
This shortcut will increase the size of any text that you’ve highlighted (where possible). Gmail has four basic text sizes: small, normal, large, and huge. This command won’t work if you’ve already set your font size to “Huge.”
21. Decrease Text Size
Ctrl+Shift+- (Windows) or
Like the “Increase Text Size” shortcut, this one decreases the size of any text that you’ve highlighted. Again, this will only work if there’s a text size smaller than your current size.
Ctrl+Z (Windows) or
“Undo” is always a useful shortcut to have at your disposal. It undoes the last action you took (where possible). For example, if you accidentally moved an email to the trash, this shortcut will restore it to your Gmail inbox.
Ctrl+Y (Windows) or
“Redo” is the opposite of “Undo.” When you use this shortcut, it redoes the last action you took (where possible).
24. Add Quote
Ctrl+Shift+9 (Windows) or
This Gmail shortcut will take any text that you’ve highlighted and turn it into a quote. Gmail formats quote text slightly differently from regular text, so your quote text will stand out. It looks like this in an email:
25. Open Spelling Suggestions
Ctrl+M (Windows) or
When you use this shortcut while writing an email, Gmail will list spelling corrections for your text.
26. Remove Formatting
Ctrl+\ (Windows) or
This shortcut will remove all formatting from the text you’ve highlighted, leaving just the plain text behind. For example, “web developer” would become “web developer.”
27. Reduce Text Indentation
Ctrl+[ (Windows) or
This shortcut decreases the indentation of your text, moving it to the left across the screen (where possible).
28. Increase Text Indentation
Ctrl+] (Windows) or
In a similar vein to the previous shortcut, this one increases the indentation of your text. When you increase text indentation, your text moves right across the screen. This shortcut is useful when you need to indent critical parts of your email quickly.
29. Align Text to the Center of the Screen
Ctrl+Shift+E (Windows) or
This Gmail shortcut will change the alignment of any highlighted text to the center of the screen, moving the highlighted chunk into the middle from the default left alignment.
30. Align Text to the Right of the Screen
Ctrl+Shift+R (Windows) or
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This shortcut will also change the alignment of any highlighted text, but it’ll change it to the right. Using this will align all highlighted text to the right.
31. Align Text to the Left of the Screen
Ctrl+Shift+l (Windows) or
This shortcut changes the alignment of any highlighted text back to the left-hand side of the screen. As this is the default alignment, this shortcut only works on text aligned to the center or right-hand side of the screen.
32. Mark Email as Important
This shortcut will mark all selected emails as Important. When you use it, Gmail will display a notification that says, “Conversation marked as important.”
33. Mark Email as Unimportant
Gmail will remove the “Important” label from an email you marked as important when using this shortcut. You must select an email first for this shortcut to work.
34. Mark as Read
When you use this shortcut, it’ll mark any selected email(s) as read. Using this shortcut will remove the highlighting Gmail places on unread emails. Of course, this shortcut only works on unread emails.
35. Mark as Unread
When you use this shortcut, it’ll mark any read emails you’ve selected as unread. This shortcut will highlight the email in your mailbox, regardless of whether you have previously opened it.
36. Expand Conversations
This shortcut expands emails with multiple responses. When you use it, it’ll open all previous email replies vertically, from least recent to most recent. It only works when you’re viewing an open email.
37. Collapse Conversations
In a similar vein, this Gmail shortcut collapses emails after you’ve expanded them. Gmail will show the most recent response in an email on your screen when you use this shortcut. You can still view older email responses by clicking their preview or using ;.
38. Forward Email
This shortcut opens the email forwarding screen in your current window. You simply need to type in your recipient’s address and type Shift+Enter to forward the email.
39. Forward Email In A New Window
This shortcut opens the option to forward an email in a new window. Using this shortcut is particularly useful if you prefer to read all of your emails in one go before responding.
40. Report Email as Spam
This shortcut will report the email(s) you’ve selected as spam. Gmail automatically sends any email reported as spam to the spam folder.
Gmail also automatically flags emails with large amounts of attachments and keywords like “free” and “spam.” If your recipients are frequently missing your emails, they might be going to spam.
41. Open “Sent Messages” Folder
This navigation shortcut is excellent for moving around your mailbox quickly. When you use it, it’ll take you straight to your “Sent Messages” folder. This folder includes every email you’ve replied to, forwarded, or sent.
42. Open “Drafts” Folder
Like the “Open Sent Messages Folder” shortcut, this Gmail shortcut takes you to your “Drafts” folder. Gmail automatically stores all emails that you’ve started but haven’t yet sent in your “Drafts” folder.
43. View Starred Conversation List
This shortcut removes all unstarred conversations from your screen temporarily. It will work in your “Sent” folder and your inbox. If you want to undo this action, simply press “Undo” or Ctrl+Z/⌘+Z.
44. Mute Conversation
This shortcut is handy for anyone who receives constant updates on an email chain. Gmail will mute the email you’ve selected when using this shortcut, meaning you’ll still receive updates and responses to the email, but you won’t receive notifications.
45. Search Mailbox
This shortcut opens up the search bar at the top of your mailbox. To use it, simply type a keyword like “Tom” and press enter to view all emails with the keyword “Tom.” If you want to search for something particular, try using these Google search operators.
46. Change Font to Next Font
Ctrl+Shift+5 (Windows) or
This shortcut changes the style of any highlighted font to the next font in Gmail’s list. Gmail includes eleven default fonts, but you can add custom fonts if you choose.
47. Change Font to the Previous Font
Ctrl+Shift+6 (Windows) or
This Gmail shortcut changes the style of any highlighted font to the previous font in Gmail’s list.
48. View Your Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts
Shift+? (Windows) or
This shortcut brings up Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts menu.
Gmail Shortcuts Cheat Sheet
Here’s a quick reference list of all the Gmail keyboard shortcuts we’ve covered in this article.
|Gmail Keyboard Shortcut||Windows||Mac|
|Select all conversations||*+A||*+A|
|Reply in a new window||Shift+A||Shift+A|
|Make text italicized||Ctrl+I||⌘+I|
|Make text bold||Ctrl+B||⌘+B|
|Strikethrough text||Alt + Shift+5||⌘+Shift+X|
|Open Google Tasks||G + K||G + K|
|Add conversations to Google Tasks||Shift+T||Shift+T|
|Insert a link||Ctrl+K||⌘+K|
|Add Cc recipients to the email||Ctrl+Shift+C||⌘+Shift+C|
|Add Bcc recipients to the email||Ctrl+Shift+B||⌘+Shift+B|
|Add bulleted list||Ctrl+Shift+7||⌘+Shift+7|
|Add numbered list||Ctrl+Shift+8||⌘+Shift+7|
|Increase text size||Ctrl+Shift++||⌘+Shift++|
|Decrease text size||Ctrl+Shift+-||⌘+Shift+-|
|Open spelling suggestions||Ctrl+M||⌘+M|
|Reduce text indentation||Ctrl+[||⌘+[|
|Increase text indentation||Ctrl+]||⌘+]|
|Align text to the center of the screen||Ctrl+Shift+E||⌘+Shift+E|
|Align text to the right of the screen||Ctrl+Shift+R||⌘+Shift+R|
|Align text to the left of the screen||Ctrl+Shift+l||⌘+Shift+l|
|Mark email as important||= or +||= or +|
|Mark email as unimportant||–||–|
|Mark email as read||Shift+I||Shift+I|
|Mark email as unread||Shift+U||Shift+U|
|Forward email in a new window||Shift+F||Shift+F|
|Report email as spam||!||!|
|Open the “Sent Messages” folder||G+T||G+T|
|Open the “Drafts” folder||G+D||G+D|
|View starred conversations only||G+S||G+S|
|Change font to next font||Ctrl+Shift+5||⌘+Shift+5|
|Change font to the previous font||Ctrl+Shift+6||⌘+Shift+6|
|View your Gmail keyboard shortcuts||Shift+?||⌘+?|
It can take a bit of time to learn all of the best Gmail keyboard shortcuts. Once you’ve used each shortcut a few times, you’ll be able to navigate through your mailbox quickly and efficiently, increasing your productivity and reducing the time spent in your inbox.
While we’ve included the 48 best Gmail keyboard shortcuts, some of these will be more useful to you than others. It will likely take you some time to find your go-to shortcuts, but the effort is worth it for the productivity boost.
What’s your favorite Gmail keyboard shortcut? Share it with us in the comments!
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