One of the biggest arguments I’ve heard against using Gmail is that desktop clients like Thunderbird and Outlook offer better keyboard shortcut support. To this I say NONSENSE! Gmail includes great keyboard shortcut functionality, you just have to turn it on. You will also have a small learning curve because the Gmail keyboard shortcuts are different than those found in Outlook and Thunderbird. The great thing is, if you turn Gmail shortcuts on once, they work from any computer.
The 5 Gmail Shortcuts I use most frequently are:
c – creates a new email message. Use Shift+c to open the new message in its own window.
/ – puts the cursor in the search box. Email search is probably something I do more than any other email fuction.
u – takes back to your inbox view from any message.
j – moves down the message list taking you to the next older message than the one you are currently on.
x – checks the box next to a message. Used in combination with
j you can quickly move through a list of messages and check them for archiving, labeling or any other action.
To turn on Gmail keyboard shortcuts, go to the Settings General tab, switch Keyboard shortcuts to on and save your changes. It’s amazing how much faster things go inside Gmail when you’re no longer clicking with your mouse. Google offers a full list of keyboard shortcuts, which is also linked on the Gmail General Settings page.
My only gripe is I’d love to be able to define my own shortcuts.