Disable and turn off Gmail keyboard shortcuts
Google Mail / Gmail comes with a series of nifty keyboard shortcuts that allow you to perform the same tasks much faster than you typically would by using the mouse to click around; a puzzling downside, however, is that an un-expecting user may inadvertently press a combination of keys on their keyboard that happens to correspond to a Gmail keyboard shortcut of some kind. The level of surprise will depend on the keystroke they happened to have pressed. In this tutorial, we will show you how Gmail lets you turn off keyboard shortcuts altogether - and this is only a temporary setting for your account, which means that you can restore the default shortcuts whenever you want to later on.
Disable keyboard shortcuts in your Gmail account
Here is how to become a mouse-only Gmail user:
- First, if needed, login to your Gmail account; then, click on the Settings link at the top of the screen; when the next page loads, confirm that the General tab is automatically selected, as it should unless you configured other settings in the same session that led you to use another tab.
- Look for the third set of options, labeled simply "Keyboard shortcuts"; if the selection is "Keyboard shortcuts on", you can currently use them.
- To completely disable keyboard shortcuts and turn them off for your account (not just from the web browser you happen to be using at this time), select instead the "Keyboard shortcuts off" radio button:
- To fully apply the setting and completely turn off keyboard shortcut support, you now need to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the "Save Changes" button.
- As soon as you do, Google Mail / Gmail will ignore any keystroke that happens to be a keyboard shortcut; by the same reasoning, if you can't use keyboard shortcuts in your email account, it probably means that the option was accidentally turned off, and you just need to follow the steps described above to turn the feature back on.
A later tutorial will feature a practical list of all the keyboard shortcuts Gmail currently supports, including a mini-list of the most useful keystrokes that, once you've memorized them, you will likely use all the time, at the expense of the same action performed with the mouse.