How to enable custom keyboard shortcuts in Gmail

Find out how to enable and customize keyboard shortcuts in the Gmail web-based client.

How to enable custom keyboard shortcuts in Gmail Find out how to enable and customize keyboard shortcuts in the Gmail web-based client.

If you're like me, you work with as much efficiency as possible. For some, that means keeping your fingers on the keyboard. Every time you move those digits from keyboard to mouse or trackpad, it's wasted time. Granted it's only seconds, but by the end of the day those seconds add up. To that end, I try to do everything I can to customize various apps so I can keep those fingertips tapping on keys. 

With Gmail, you can not only enable keyboard shortcuts, but create custom combinations to make your experience as efficient as possible. How do you do this? Let's find out. 

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Enable keyboard shortcuts

  1. The first thing to do is enable keyboard shortcuts. Out of the box, this feature is disabled. 
  2. To enable it, open Gmail, click the gear icon and then click Settings. 
  3. In the General tab, scroll down to Keyboard shortcuts. Make sure to click Keyboard shortcuts on. 
  4. Next, click on the Advanced tab and scroll down to Custom keyboard shortcuts and click Enable. 
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes. 
  6. Back in the Settings window, you should see a Keyboard Shortcuts tab. Click that tab and scroll through the available actions. Find an action you want to assign a custom shortcut and type the associated keys for that shortcut. 
  7. When you finish customizing the shortcuts, scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes. 

And that's all there is to enabling keyboard shortcuts and adding custom shortcuts to make your Gmail keyboard experience personalized and efficient. This simple task can shave seconds off every email you create in Gmail. Send enough email in the Google client and those savings could seriously add up.

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Image: Gmail

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.