This Gmail Shortcut Will Save You Hours

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,111

I sent the following email out to my not-so-secret list of Bravermaniacs this past weekend, and the response it got was pretty surprising, so I thought I'd throw it up here for the rest of you. As many of you know, I'm a huge productivity nerd and in the course of writing a Gmail best practices post for WSO a couple months ago things got way out of hand and it morphed into a guidebook which will be published sometime in September. Folks who buy The Best of Braverman will get it for free, and everyone else will be able to buy it for $5.

Ever since I said I was doing this Gmail guide, people have been asking me for the best tips, tricks, and hacks to make Gmail more powerful. What I'm about to share with you today will definitely save you hours of your life once you get the hang of it. Like I said in the email, you wouldn't dream of using your mouse with Excel, so why are you using it with Gmail?

Here's a tip you can implement in the next 30 seconds and completely streamline the way you handle your email communications:

You wouldn't dream of using your mouse with Excel.

Why should Gmail be any different?

Did you know that by simply enabling keyboard shortcuts in Gmail you could save yourself hours of time? When I announced I was writing a guide to the best tips, tricks, and hacks for Gmail users and that the folks who bought The Best of Braverman were going to get that guide for free, the emails started pouring in. The guide won't be ready until some time in September, but this one quick Gmail tip can be set up in seconds and will completely change the way you use Gmail for the better.

Here's how to set it up (you can click on the photos to expand them):

Step 1: From your Gmail Inbox, find the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner and click on it. Select Settings from the dropdown menu.
Step 2: The Settings menu will open to the General tab. Stay on the General tab and scroll down until you find Keyboard Shortcuts. Turn keyboard shortcuts on and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save Settings.

Step 3: Now it's time to start using the keyboard shortcuts. You can now cruise around your inbox with the up and down arrow keys. Have an email you want to read? Arrow down to it and click Enter and it will open. Want to delete it? Hit Shift+#. Or maybe you don't want to delete it but you don't want it in your Inbox any longer. Archive it by pressing "E". Any time you get stuck or you need to find the keyboard shortcut to accomplish a task, just press Shift+? and the keyboard shortcut menu will overlay Gmail like this:

Believe me when I say that this trick is just the tip of the Gmail iceberg. But this one is very important and will save you a lot of time. Gmail is an awesome productivity and communication tool when it is set up properly. Again, those who've purchased The Best of Braverman will be receiving the Gmail guide for free, and you have my sincere gratitude in the meantime. If you haven't purchased the book yet, I would encourage you to give it a read by clicking on the above link.

I hope you found this tip helpful, and let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers,
Uncle Eddie

Comments (14)

Jul 25, 2013

I don't get enough e-mail in my Gmail for this to be worthwhile. Outlook and Lotus Notes, more appropriate.

Jul 25, 2013

couldn't you have made this a little easier to read?
i'm getting nervous just by looking at all these instructions

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

    • 1
Jul 25, 2013

how much easier do u want it lol its three pictures and three steps

Jul 25, 2013

I thought using keyboard shortcuts instead of clicking with a mouse was second-nature to people by now

Jul 25, 2013
matayo:

couldn't you have made this a little easier to read?

i'm getting nervous just by looking at all these instructions

It's 3 steps with example pictures.

This can't be a serious post.

Jul 25, 2013
matayo:

couldn't you have made this a little easier to read?

i'm getting nervous just by looking at all these instructions

Good luck in banking /sarcasm

Jul 25, 2013
sonicmagealpha:

how much easier do u want it lol its three pictures and three steps

this made me laugh. and yeah, just wait until you're doing mindless formatting in excel... macros are your friend.

Jul 28, 2013

What's weird is that I've always archived by hitting "y". But then I just tried "e" as well and it worked. And "e" seems to be the official shortcut when using the help function.

I will probably be sticking to "y" though since shift+3 is delete, and I can keep the two hands separated in my head. Right hand archive, left hand delete.

Jul 31, 2013

How do I get on your email list kind Sir?

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
Socrates

Aug 1, 2013
castondavis:

How do I get on your email list kind Sir?

Buy The Best of Braverman and you're on the list.

Aug 2, 2013

Done and done. Can't wait to read!

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
Socrates

Nov 16, 2013

Ed, when are you releasing that book about Gmail tips/hacks?

Nov 16, 2013

It's coming, but it got delayed because I took on a pretty major client that is demanding a shit ton of my time. The book will be out early next year, but I'm going to start sending out tips and tricks to those who bought The Best of Braverman in the meantime.

Nov 16, 2013
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