"I scan the senders and subjects of unread messages in my inbox, navigate through the messages using k to move the cursor (little black triangle) upwards and j to move it back down.
As I'm moving around, I select all of the messages I haven't already filtered but don't need to read using x.
And archive them all with y (e works for this too). Now I just have the messages I should read.
3. Get through the mail I do need to read.
I find a message that looks important or interesting, and open it using the enter key. If I need to reply, I hit r. Reply all? That's a. Once my response is ready to go, tab + enter sends it on its way. Back to my inbox with g + i. More navigating around with j and k, selecting with enter. Archiving (y) and replying (r). Starring some stuff for later (s). The occasional forward (f). Sending with tab + enter.
It may seem like a lot to remember, but for me, these eleven shortcuts have been invaluable and aside from j and k, which I just had to practice, pretty intuitive (g + i? that's for "goto inbox"). If you ever need a quick refresher, hit ? anytime to see the shortcut reference guide. And if you don't like any of them, you can edit the defaults and define your own by enabling Custom keyboard shortcuts in Labs."
To turn these case-sensitive shortcuts on or off, click Settings, and then pick an option next to Keyboard
|c||Compose||Allows you to compose|
a new message. <Shift> + c allows you to compose
a message in a new window.
|/||Search||Puts your cursor in the search box.|
|k||Move to newer conversation||Opens or moves your cursor|
to a more recent conversation. You can hit <Enter> to expand
|j||Move to older conversation||Opens or moves your cursor|
to the next oldest conversation. You can hit <Enter> to expand
|n||Next message||Moves your cursor to the|
next message. You can hit <Enter> to expand or collapse a message.
(Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')
|p||Previous message||Moves your cursor to the|
previous message. You can hit <Enter> to expand or collapse
a message. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')
|o or <Enter>||Open||Opens your conversation.|
Also expands or collapses a message if you are in 'Conversation View.'
|u||Return to conversation list||Refreshes your page and returns you to the inbox, or list of conversations.|
|e||Archive||Archive your conversation from any view.|
|m||Mute||Archives the conversation, and all future messages skip the Inbox unless sent or cc'd|
directly to you. Learn more.
|x||Select conversation||Automatically checks and|
selects a conversation so that you can archive, apply a label, or choose
an action from the drop-down menu to apply to that conversation.
|s||Star a message or conversation||Adds or removes a star|
to a message or conversation. Stars allow you to give a message or conversation
a special status.
|!||Report spam||Marks a message as spam|
and removes it from your conversation list.
|r||Reply||Replies to the message sender.|
<Shift> + r
allows you to reply to a message in a new window. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')
|a||Reply all||Replies to all message recipients.|
allows you to reply
to all message recipients in a new window. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')
|f||Forward||Forwards a message. <Shift>|
+ f allows you to forward a message in a new
window. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')
|<Esc>||Escape from input field||Removes the cursor from your current input field.|
<Ctrl> + s
Saves the current text as a draft when composing a message. Hold the <Ctrl> key while pressing s and make sure your cursor is in one of the text fields -- either the composition pane,
Moves the conversation to Trash.
|<Shift> + i||Mark as read||Marks your message as 'read' and skip to the next message.|
|<Shift> + u||Mark as unread||Marks your message as 'unread' so you can go back to it later.|
|[||Archive and previous||Archives your conversation and moves to the previous one.|
|]||Archive and next||Archives your conversation and moves to the next one.|
|z||Undo||Undoes your previous action, if possible (works for actions with an 'undo' link).|
|<Shift> + n||Update current conversation||Updates your current conversation when there are new messages.|
|q||Move cursor to chat search||Moves your cursor directly to the chat search box.|
|y||Remove from Current View*||Automatically removes the message or conversation from your current view.|
* 'y' has no effect if you're in 'Spam,' 'Sent,' or 'All Mail.'
|.||Show more actions||Displays the 'More Actions' drop-down menu.|
|?||Show keyboard shortcuts help||Displays the keyboard shortcuts help menu within any page you're on.|
Combo-keys - Use the
following combinations of keys to navigate through Gmail.
|<tab> then <Enter>||Send message||After composing your message,|
use this combination to send it automatically. (Supported in Internet Explorer and Firefox, on Windows.)
|y then o||Archive and next||Archives your conversation and moves to the next one.|
|g then a||Go to 'All Mail'||Takes you to 'All Mail,' the storage site for all mail you've ever sent or received (and have|
|g then s||Go to 'Starred'||Takes you to all conversations you have starred.|
|g then c||Go to 'Contacts'||Takes you to your Contacts list.|
|g then d||Go to 'Drafts'||Takes you to all drafts you have saved.|
|g then i||Go to 'Inbox'||Returns you to the inbox.|
|g then t||Go to 'Sent Mail'||Takes you to all mail you've sent.|
|* then a||Select all||Selects all mail.|
|* then n||Select none||Deselects all mail.|
|* then r||Select read||Selects all mail you've read.|
|* then u||Select unread||Selects all unread mail.|
|* then s||Select starred||Selects all starred mail.|
|* then t||Select unstarred||Selects all unstarred mail.|