11 Gmail Shortcuts To Save Time And Increase Productivity6 minutes read

Having been launched in 2004, Gmail has become the most popular email service provider. It provides 15 GB of storage, controls less spam (having spam filtering capabilities), and is available on the mobile device. Gmail makes working with e-mails an effortless and pleasant experience.

There are many Gmail shortcuts which most of us hardly use, but if we use them, it can make the Google Mail experience better. Here are the ones I find really effective.

1. Keyboard shortcuts

These work on the fundamental rule – “working with the keyboard is always faster than working with mouse”.

For using these shortcuts one has to turn the Keyboard Shortcuts Option ON, available in Gmail settings.

Numerous shortcuts are available. Let’s have a look at a few:

cComposing a new mail
eArchiving mails
shift + uMarking emails as unread
shift + iMarking all the selected mails as read
*nDeselecting all emails
j/kMoving to new or older emails
g aGo to all mail
g dGo to drafts
g iGo to inbox
[enter]Go into the thread pointed to by the cursor
xSelect/deselect the current thread pointed to by the cursor

2. Search operation shortcuts for easy and faster searching

Gmail supports refined searches making search process fast and precise. A few tricks can help you search for almost anything (mails, attachments, drafts etc.)

from : [e-mail of the sender] – will get you a list of all emails from that particular sender.

filename : pdf – it helps to find emails with pdf attachments

has : [attachment] – it gets you an email with a particular attachment

is : unread – it gets a list of all the emails marked as unread

larger : [size of email] – it finds all the emails that are larger than the size stated

“[text]” – it finds the emails with text that match exactly the stated text

after : [date] – it finds the emails sent or received after the particular date.

The above stated search operators, when combined together, works wonderfully to make your search more specific, for instance,

from : [e-mail of the sender] larger : [size of email] – finds all the emails from that particular sender with a size larger than specified.

“[text]” after : [date] – it finds the emails with text that match exactly the stated text sent / received after the particular date.

3. Adding signatures

Gmail provides with the option of adding a signature automatically to all the outgoing mails. It thus helps saving time consumed in adding a signature to each email individually.

One can add a signature by going to Settings > General and scroll down the Signature section. A formatting window will appear with tools for formatting signature. The signature can be created with images, links, bullets, etc.

Tip – Though HTML codes cannot be used as the signature, one can copy- paste HTML content directly in the Gmail Signature area provided and it will be automatically appended at the end of all the outgoing messages.

4. Right-click menu box

When one right-clicks on a message in the inbox, a drop-down menu appears. One can archive, delete, or mark a message as reading/unread.

5. Canned responses option

The “canned responses” feature available on Gmail gives the option of saving e-mail templates, thus saving our time of composing the same message again.

One has to go to Settings > Labs and enable “Canned Responses” and the messages can be saved as a template. Gmail provides the option of overwriting these saved templates. The saved template can be inserted into a new compose email window with one-click.

6. Preview Pane option

This feature of Gmail allows you to read all your messages in a new preview pane. One does not have to open message to read its content which helps in saving a lot of time. This feature is extremely useful for the users working on large screen. With small screen available reading space becomes small making it a little difficult to read the text.

One has to go to Settings > Labs and enable “Preview Pane” and a new button will appear to change the layout of the inbox, allowing to split the inbox horizontally / vertically.

7. Quick links

As the name suggests, it helps to get to links in just a few clicks. Quick links add a new widget in the inbox providing one-click access to any Gmail URL.

One has to go to Settings > Labs and enable “Quick links”. A new box will get added to the left sidebar and you can add any Gmail URL (specific message, advanced search result, label, etc.) as quick links.

8. Setting default reply to all

If one has to send a reply to all the e-mail address available, he / she should immediately change setting to “Reply to all”. It prevents you from selecting each recipient manually, one by one. And you do not miss any of them.

One has to go to Settings > General and scroll down to “Default reply behavior” section to enable “Reply all”. Gmail will make it a point that “Reply to all” option is automatically selected when one tries to reply message to multiple recipients.

9. Selecting all email in a label/page

One can select all the emails under a label/page with one click (you do not have to select them one by one manually). Selecting the checkbox at the top will help you select all the emails on that page.

10. Switching multiple Gmail accounts

Often working and switching to multiple accounts is time taking. One has to log out from one account and login to the other. Gmail provides a shortcut to this.

If one has multiple Gmail accounts, switching to another account can be done directly, without logging out of the current account. One has to click profile picture at the top right corner and click “Add Account” button to login to another Gmail account.

The Gmail inbox URLs for your accounts will look like as below:

11. Undo a sent email

It does happen that after clicking the send option, you realize that you need to make some changes in the email / the mail was not to be sent. Gmail provides you with the option of “undo” the mail sent.

One has to go to Settings > General and enable “Undo Send”. An option is available providing the option of up to 30 seconds to undo the last sent mail. One can also adjust the cancellation period from Settings > General.

Hope the above stated shortcuts are admired by you and it helps to save considerable time of yours. Will be looking forward to more Gmail shortcuts from you. Your views and suggestions are most welcome. Besides Gmail, MS-Excel has been used by millions of professionals on a daily basis (Here are a few techniques to sharpen your Excel skills).

By Arpan Shah

Arpan Shah is the CTO and Co-founder of SalesHandy- A Data analytics and Communication tool. He has expertise in Product Development and User Experience Design. He also writes about Sales and Technology.

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