Much has already been said on Make Use Of about keyboard shortcuts but I want to focus specifically on the ones I use most often. I’ve often found that it’s easy to be totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of shortcuts out there (who can remember them all?) so I’m going to boil it down for you to the absolute essentials and ignore the rest. Today, it’s Gmail.
So when we are looking at our Gmail inbox, what are the shortcuts we need to remember to open our emails? Answer : J, K and enter.
K takes the black arrow to the newer email (upwards), J to the older (downwards) and enter opens the email. Just move the black arrow to the email you want to open then hit enter. Try it.
Upon opening your email, you can then use your up and down arrow to scroll up and down through the email.
When you’ve finished reading the email, the next important shortcuts become : R to reply, F to forward, ! (shift and 1) to mark as spam, e to archive, s to star and # to trash. There are MANY others but these are the most important ones in my opinion. Memorise these first before you go learning any others. Remember, the important ones first.
So when you’ve finished with an email, how do you get back to your inbox? Easy. Just press U. Now you’re back at home base. Easy isn’t it?
Want to send someone an email? Hit C to compose an email.
Now you want to go to another folder. This is where it gets interesting and it becomes a little like Google Desktop or Launchy. At the inbox, hit the letter G (obviously!) and that brings up this box :
If you then type the first letter of the folder / label you want to go to, it starts to give you options :
If it doesn’t offer you the correct folder the first time, just use the up and down arrow to scroll through the folders until it gives you the correct one. Then press enter twice to be taken to that folder. Then as before, use J, K and enter to scroll up and down the list of emails and enter them. Then U to go back to the label list then U again to go back to the inbox. Just keep remembering that U always takes you home and you’ll be fine.
To apply a label, just open the email by hitting enter then press L and that opens this box :
Then again, use the up and down arrow to find the correct label then press enter to apply the label. Now press U to exit the email or e to archive it.
The only other two shortcuts that you should remember right off the bat are N & P if you have more than one new reply to a conversation. N takes you to the next New reply and P takes you the Previous reply.
As you can see, most of the shortcuts are pretty logical and if you make an effort to learn them, it won’t be too long before they are burnt into your brain and become second nature.
Download Gmail Cheat Sheet to learn and master keyboard shortcuts. Download print and stick it somewhere near your PC.
Next time, I’ll be taking a look at the essential daily shortcuts for Google Reader which will help you get through hundreds of RSS feeds in a single swoop.