Gmail is now the most used emailing service but custom keyboard shortcut and hotkeys support is rather an unknown feature of Gmail.
This is because by default Gmail keeps it disabled. But if you spend most of your time in reading and writing emails then you can easily enable it for quicker navigation between inbox, drafts, contacts, tasks and other important sections on Gmail.
You can not only activate keyboard shortcuts but also create your own custom ones to compose, send, search emails and much more.
Start by logging into your Gmail account and then use top-right corner’s wrench icon to open ‘Settings’ page.
On settings page, under ‘General’ settings tab scroll down to ‘Keyboard Shortcuts‘ section and turn it on.
Now when viewing messages you may use your keyboard’s arrow keys to move your cursor to a conversation, label or the compose button then hit ENTER to select.
You can move between messages in a conversation by using n and p to go the next and previous messages then ENTER key to open or collapse a message.
There are many more predefined shortcuts that you may use to save time and never put your hands off from keyboard.
Also you may anytime press SHIFT + ? to view keyboard shortcut cheatsheet within your Gmail account.
Creating Gmail Custom Keyboard Shortcuts
This is a Gmail labs feature, disabled by default. To set this up working, visit your Gmail settings page and click ‘Labs’ tab.
Now scroll down to ‘Custom Keyboard Shortcuts’, enable it and save your changes.
Clicking ‘Save Changes’ button activates and opens-up this feature on the same page. You will notice a new tab i.e. ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ added on your settings page.
From this tab you can define your own keyboard shortcuts. To disable all custom created shortcuts, you simply need to click the restore to defaults link visible at the bottom of the Keyboard Shortcuts page.