Now, I know, for most, when using a computer reaching for the mouse is almost second nature. You probably don’t even realize you’re doing it. I grew up in the age of DOS, if you can believe it (certainly shows you what a dinosaur I am). My first computer didn’t come with a mouse, so I learned to use a computer using nothing but a keyboard. Which is why – for me – the keyboard shortcuts in the all-new version of Yahoo! mail are fantastic. I can go almost a whole session without ever having to reach for the mouse. Who needs drag and drop, or point and click, when you can do the exact same thing with a single keystroke?
I challenge you to go a whole session of email reading and writing without reaching for that mouse and only using Yahoo! Mail’s keyboard shortcut. Can’t be done you say? Assuming you already have the all-new version of Yahoo! mail open, let’s give it a try. (Why not use Alt-Tab to get there?)
Got a new message you want to read? Wait – don’t do it – don’t reach for that mouse.
- Just use your up and down arrows on your keyboard until you’ve highlighted the message you want to read and hit ‘Enter‘. BAM!! – the message opens in a new tab.
- Done reading? Hit the escape – ‘Esc‘ – key and the message closes.
- Want to delete the message? Hit the ‘Delete‘ key. Say goodbye to that message.
Want to write a new message? Keep you hands off that mouse!
- If you are looking at your Inbox, just hit the ‘n’ key. Open sesame. A new message opens and your cursor is in the To: field.
- Start typing a contact and Auto-complete takes over. Highlight the right contact from the list using the up or down arrows and hit ‘Tab’. That’s it you’ve entered a contact.
- Need another? Repeat above.
- Need a Cc:? Hit ‘Tab’ and presto, you’re in the Cc: field. Just do the same thing you just did in the To: field.
- Hit ‘Tab’ again and you’re in the Subject: field.
- Hit ‘Tab’ again to get to the Message body.
- Finished composing your email already? Still no need for that mouse. On your keyboard, just press and hold Control and then Enter (Ctrl+Enter) and away it goes. (That shortcut should look familiar to MS Outlook users)
Those are two of the things that we do most with email (reading and writing), completed without touching that mouse. I know! It IS very cool!! And I guarantee – once you get used to it – it’s quicker and easier to do than the same with a mouse.
There’s a lot more keyboard shortcuts than the ones above. You can do almost everything in Yahoo! Mail with a single keystroke. It’s easy to find out what they are too. You can navigate on over to this help page, which lists all the available keyboard shortcuts. Alternatively, you can use your mouse (the last time you’ll need to touch that, I promise) and the menus and mouse-overs show you what keystroke does the same thing. Take a look at the screenshots below to see which letters denote the equivalent keyboard shortcut.
So what can’t you accomplish with the keyboard? To be honest, not much. I guess the main things that I would like to see a keyboard shortcut for are spell checking, attaching files and switching between rich-text and plain text when composing an email. But that’s about it.
I can tell you my favorite sequence of keyboard shortcuts. I get a lot of stuff that isn’t junk, but I don’t necessarily want to read all the time. Mostly newsletters and such. Plus, I’m kind of a neat freak and I don’t like ‘unread’ messages in my trash folder (I don’t know why). So here’s what I do… I use ‘Shift’+arrow down to highlight the messages I don’t want. Then I hit ‘k’ to mark them all read. Then I hit ‘Delete’ to send them all to the trash. That’s it 10 messages deleted in a matter of seconds and no mouse needed.