Gmail shortcuts

26 April 2005   4 comments   Linux

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If you use Gmail but haven't started to use the keyboard shortcuts, then you're really missing out on something.

A peculiar thing is that when you enable it you get the extra > pointer along the side which makes it possible to navigate up and down. Anyway, when you're in the inbox you us k for going up (new emails) and j for going down (older emails). BUT when you click on a conversation (several emails all with the same subject line for people who aren't familiar with Gmail yet) there are other keys for going up and down. This time it's p for going up and n for going down. Why can't it be the same which would make it two keyboard commands less to remember?

If you're didn't know it, the worlds best editor programs are called: vi (alternatively vim) and emacs (alternatively xemacs or jed). These are both known for being extremely powerful and difficult to learn. Once you've learnt to us one of them you'll start to hate all other editors than the one you chose. I chose emacs but I know my way around vi in case I need it some times.

Now to the point... In vi, to go down one line you use j and to go up one line you use k. In emacs, you use Ctrl+p to go up one line and Ctrl+n to go down one line. Maybe the Gmail team has decided to honor both of these exceptional programs with the somewhat confusing keyboard shortcuts. I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory but we've seen Google pulling similar tricks on us before (eg. exponential e = $2,718,281,828)

UPDATE in retrospect I now realise that it's not that confusing after all. The j and k shortcuts work as next and previous conversation when you've opened one. Without that it would be a clash. Anyway, some of my points above are still ok.


Peter Bengtsson
Reading on more about the emacs vs. vi war led me on to this amusing site:

I wonder how long beards the guys behind that project have. Made me smile and giggle though.
ian david
how can get an email account in new zealand'not knowing any one?
ian david
how can get an email account in new zealand, not knowing any one?
forgive me father I have sinned. I used C-w C-s <string> in Emacs
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