I’m a sucker for motivational quote and proverbs, especially those which encourage or add value to my growth as a person. A couple of my favorites, “if you aren’t keeping up, you’re falling behind” and “time is money,” go hand in hand with today’s Gmail tip.

Keyboard shortcuts can be found in virtually every modern operating system, app and service. They may only shave off a second or two at a time but trust me, the savings can quickly add up when used on a regular basis. Such is the case with Gmail, one of the world’s most popular e-mail clients.

Core Navigation Shortcuts

First things first – make sure you have keyboard shortcuts enabled. To check, simply click the gear icon in the top-right corner of Gmail and select Settings. Scroll down and tick the box to enable shortcuts (if they aren’t already active) then click Save Changes.

With your account primed, the first order of business is learning how to navigate Gmail’s various boxes without the mouse. These are some of the easiest shortcuts to memorize as they all use “G” plus one other letter. For example, G + I takes you to the inbox, G + D brings you to the drafts box and G + S drops you into your starred conversations.

Odds are, the majority of your time will be spent in the inbox, either composing new messages or replying to incoming e-mails.

Using the mouse or even the up / down arrow keys may seem like the quickest way to skip ahead or jump back to the previous message in your list but you can get the same results without removing your hand from the home row keys: type J to skip to the next message or K to move up the list.

To compose a quick message in window view, simply type C (or if for some reason you want to do so in a separate tab, just type the letter D). Finished reading a message and need to send it to the trash bin? Shift + 3 (the # sign) will do the trick. Can’t find what you’re looking for or need to move a message? Run a quick mail search by typing / or type the letter V to bring up the “move to” menu.

Dive in Deeper

We’ve only scratched the surface here but for those new to Gmail shortcuts, it’s a great start. Commit just a few of these time-saving shortcuts to memory and you’ll be wondering how you ever got by without them. Once you are ready to dive in deeper, simply type Shift + / (the ? symbol) to bring up Gmail’s keyboard shortcut cheat sheet.

5 days, 5 killer tech tips is a new TechSpot monthly feature

On the 3rd week of every month, we will publish 5 tech tips, one for each day of the week (Monday-Friday) about a given app, service, or platform.

This week it's about uncovering great Gmail usability tips and tricks.