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6 of the best Gmail tricks you never knew existed

Published Jul 27th, 2016 12:48PM EDT
Best Gmail Tricks and Tips

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Whether you’re inundated with messages from family members and friends, responding to clients day in and day out or are constantly bombarded with PR pitches (like us), you probably wish that you could work your way through your Gmail inbox faster. As it turns out, with a few simple tricks, you can.

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A few years ago, a Quora user asked the internet if they would share some lesser known Gmail tips. Over 100 answers later, the thread has become a surprisingly useful resource for anyone who uses Gmail on a regular basis.

Rather than ask you to sort through all 100+ answers, we’ve cherry-picked 6 of the most valuable tips and tricks from the list, all of which you can see below:

Use keyboard shortcuts

While viewing a list of threads (i.e. Inbox, All Mail, Drafts, search results, etc.):

  • c to compose a new mail
  • j and k to move the cursor down and up
  • x to select/deselect the current thread that’s pointed to by the cursor
  • e to archive all threads that have been selected
  • [Enter] to go into the thread pointed to by the cursor
  • “g i” to go to my Inbox
  • “g a” to go to All Mail
  • “g d” to go to Drafts

While inside a thread:

  • n and p to browse down and up messages inside a thread (move the cursor up and down)
  • a to reply all (or r to reply individually, but that’s rare) to the message currently pointed to by the cursor
  • f to forward the message that’s pointed to by the cursor
  • u to go back to the previous thread list view, which could be your Inbox, All Mail, Drafts, etc. This is the same as the back button
  • s to toggle through the stars on the message currently pointed to by the cursor

Other useful shortcuts:

  • / to make the search bar active
  • “* u” to select all unread emails
  • “* n” to deselect all emails
  • Shift+i to mark all selected emails as read
  • Shift+u to mark all selected emails as unread
  • While inside a thread, Shift+u will bring you back to the previous thread list view and marking the current thread as unread. I do this a lot to keep important threads at the top of my inbox. – Kevin Wang

You have two email addresses

For example: if you have a Gmail id:, the second one is

This will be useful for opening multiple accounts in a website or app.

For example, In Redbus mobile app, if you are new user (i.e., if you use new email id) you will get flat 100 rupees off on ticket booking. If you have already used you can still use and take advantage of the offer. You will receive your ticket to your normal inbox itself. – Vijayenthiran Subramaniam

Find out who sold your email to spammers

If you want to keep track of how your email address is used (ie, when you sign up to a newsletter), add “.” (period only) anywhere in your username. This way you’ll create a new ‘alias’ email address and all the messages sent to that new ‘alias’ address will get forwarded to your primary Gmail address.

[For example, if your email address is, you can enter as your address when signing up for an account or a newsletter and you’ll still receive the messages in your primary inbox. The same is true if you use “+anyword” after the first part of your email address, i.e. Gmail ignores the “+anyword” when sending messages to your account, but you’ll still see if you check the “To:” line in the message.]

Why is this useful? If you use [these tricks] when you sign up to different newsletters and you start receiving spam, you’ll know which newsletter sold your email address to spammers. – Niket Kedia

Mail delegation

With mail delegation, you can grant access of your email to other people. With mail delegation, other people can read, send and delete messages on your behalf.

Gmail’s mail delegation is also useful to handle multiple accounts at the same time. You don’t need to sign out of your current account and you can still access your other account at the same time within the same browser.

For a tutorial on how to setup mail delegation, follow this link: Set up mail delegation. – Vishal Soni

Compose in a new window

Shift-clicking on ‘Compose’ will open a new popup window for composing your email, in case you need to reference the email you’re currently looking at. – Kevin Fox

The best of Labs

Hidden gems of Gmail. This is where the small crazy ideas of the Gmail team become a reality. You can do things from playing snake to making sure you don’t drunk email here.

Some of my personal favourites:
– ‘Unread Message icon‘ allows you to see how many unread emails you have at a quick glance of your tab’s icon
‘Canned Response’ lets you create and save email templates.
‘Default Reply to All’ – self explanatory. How often do you just reply to just the sender?
‘Undo Send’ is definitely one of the top on the list for me – how many times have you hit the send button and regretted? These few precious seconds could change a lot of things. – Yi Sung Yong

Did we miss any? Feel free to share your favorite Gmail tips in the comments below.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.