Zachary Talis > Blog

Navigating Gmail Basic by Keyboard

December 21st, 2021

This document is dedicated to the public domain (CC0)

This post contains a couple tips only relevant to Firefox users. I'll demarcate such snippets with handy dandy 🔥 fire emojis.

Accessing the Basic HTML version of Gmail

Use this page to switch between Gmail's Standard and Basic HTML View. Gmail might ask if you'd like to change your default view.

However! Gmail is quite annoying and'll inexplicably ignore your default. To ignore Gmail's ignorance, navigate to this address:

Replace 0 with a different number (1 2 etc.) to access your other logged-in inboxes.

🔥 To quickly access an inbox by keyboard:

  1. Bookmark an inbox. Name it something snappy: I use 0 1 and 2 for my three inboxes.
  2. Press Ctrl+L or F6 to focus the address bar.
  3. Type * and you'll enter a special bookmarks-only mode.
  4. Type in your bookmark's name, then press the down arrow key. Enthusiastically tap Enter!

For the ever-curious, there's a few of these results modes.

Time to get a'clackin'

Let's configure Gmail Basic for our own nefarious keyboard-navigating purposes.

  1. Install a browser addon for userscript management. Tampermonkey does a fine job (Firefox / Chrome).
  2. I snagged ok90's excellent Gmail Basic userscript and tacked on a few new features!

    Plop this code into your addon as a userscript, and you'll have access to the following shortcuts:
  3. Shortcuts for Gmail Basic

    (ab indicates a then b)

    Key(s) Function
    gi Goto inbox
    gk Goto first label's inbox
    gs Goto search field
    t Toggle checkbox of current mail
    ma Archive checked mail
    mr / mu Mark checked mail as read / unread
    mj / mk Mark checked mail as starred / unstarred
    k or Navigate up in mail list (shift twice as fast)
    j or Navigate down in mail list
    h / l Goto older / newer mail
    Enter Open mail
    r Reload
    b Back
    n Compose mail

🔥 3. Miscellaneous gettings-around

Mouseless is an addon which introduces qutebrowser-style navigation to Firefox. It's a massive blessing.

Totally not necessary, but if you've got JavaScript chops: the source code is quite straightforward to tweak!