Gmail in browser – or give Mail.app another chance on a M1?

As a long-time Gmail user – can you please share how to do the following:

When in the “main/default” view, seeing all my emails, including those unread – how does one quickly use the cursor keys (or a Gmail shortcut), to move down through the list and mark unread mails as “read”?

Or is this an old(er) paradigm that is not intended for Gmail? Should I rather be archiving? That’s different from “deleting”, correct? And if so – then how does one quickly process the inbox using “archive” then?

Apologies if the response to the above is an essay, as opposed to a few lines – in which case, please tell me as much! :slight_smile:

EDIT:

To be clear, in Mail.app – when using the cursor keys, one would move up or down the list of email messages. If one came to a message that was unread, after a slight delay – this would be marked “as read”, with our without reading/opening the email. I cannot seem to replicate this in Gmail – moving up or down the messages, does nothing to its read status, until the message is opened.

And if a message is “selected” – i.e. it is highlighted, with that “highlight” moving as I cursor up or down, hitting “Shift+i” or “Shift+u”, which I gather toggles between read/unread, sees an error message pop up bottom left, telling me “no conversations selected”?? So how do you “select” conversations without actually opening them?

I note I can do this by user the “hover action”, and then moving my cursor down to each message and selecting the “read” icon that pops up on the hover – but is there any way to do this from the keyboard alone?

You make great points. I like the Mail.app but that is because my brain was trained on how e-mail works before Gmail was a thing. Even in my gmail account I was never able to get my brain around labeling, archiving, and using search just to find stuff. Similar to how I handle file systems. When I do use Gmail I do use the web as that is how the product was built to be used. Imap is so broken for Gmail, it’s like they are forced just to have it there.

Mimestream has a few seconds delay when viewing the emails (loading the first time)
The same in the Gmail Web browser is lightening fast almost instantaneous.

Am I missing any settings or is the same behavior everyone is noticing too?

Press “x”.

But to clarify, this is my workflow in my inbox. I don’t use the reading pane.

  • Press “j” to highlight the first email.
  • I need to read this one so I press “Enter” to open it.
  • I use the arrow keys to scroll down through it.
  • There’s no actionable item in this so I press “e” to archive it.
  • I’m taken back to the inbox and I press “j” to start going down the list again.
  • The next message is junk so I press “#” to delete it and keep moving on.

I do this until the inbox is clear of anything un-actionable.

Then I select all and star the remaining messages and archive.

I have an automation setup to send starred messages to Todoist through Integromat/Make.

Anyway, I find Gmail efficient in the browser but I ultimately make a web wrapper around it using WebCatalog and install the Simplify extension.

2 Likes

So how do you “select” conversations without actually opening them?

You select a message when you’re in the Inbox view by moving the highlight to the message you want to select, then typing ‘x’. They will show a check-mark next to them when selected.

2 Likes

I don’t think anyone has mentioned that, when using gmail in a browser, you can display a list of keyboard shortcuts by pressing the question mark.

You may need to scroll down to see them all.

5 Likes

Thanks! I have printed a copy of this to show my Dad. Perhaps it will make his use of Gmail less frustrating. (Full disclosure: I’ve never had a Gmail account. :slightly_smiling_face:)

Emails show up instantaneously for me, even when I’m loading them for the first time. I’m on an M1 MacBook Pro and have quite a fast Internet connection (about 350 Mbps download on average).

I use the gmail web interface, mostly because my employer blocked access to Gmail from Mail.app but allowed it through the web (until recently). On my personal machines I generally use the web app also, for consistency’s sake.

HOWEVER… One thing I haven’t figured out how (if you can at all) do on the web site is sort by sender or subject. So if I want to do that, say to triage a whole bunch of messages quickly, I’ll use Mail.app (or Outlook or Thunderbird, but usually Mail.app).

Got this working now, in WebCatalog at least. Seems might not have been working as expected in Brave – or maybe I was doing something wrong (more likely).

Goodness. I have WebCatalog (purchased a few years back). This would never have occurred to me. So run the Gmail accounts in WebCatalog, and then manage them online, but kind of as if on a native on-device app… This looks like a winning recipe. Going to uninstall Mimestream, and have a stab at this. Can always go back to Mimestream if it doesn’t stick.

Cannot get this to work – but looks to be super useful. When I hit ? ("/" with or without , it enters either “/” or “?” into the search bar? I presume I need to be in some “mode” for this to work?

This is exactly what I had in mind – many thanks, will give this a go.

1 Like

So, I see you have gotten a lot of replies already. Keyboard use is one of the secrets to speedy GMail management. There are lots of good quick reference sheets freely available by searching for “GMail keyboard shortcuts”. I mainly use J and K to move up and down, Enter to read or # to delete. I sometimes also go JXJXJXJXJX# to select, then delete, in this example, five consecutive messages that I can tell from the subject line or sender that I can delete.

In GMail, every “Folder” is a Tag - including the Inbox tag. The Archive option simply removes the “Inbox” tag from your message, moving it out of the Inbox view, but keeping it stored. If the message has multiple Tags, only the “Inbox” tag will be removed and the message will still show up in the other “folders” or “tag collections”.

2 Likes

Great I did not know that - thanks.

Also all was not working until I saw this:

Note: These shortcuts won’t work unless keyboard shortcuts are turned on.

Mine were not on - now they are

2 Likes

Just to chime in, I could not imagine a life using emails in a web browser. You just miss so many features.

/FWIW

Then, as mentioned, I created Gmail archive Legacy labels/folders also.

Then, a few times a year I login to Gmail and move the older items from the main folder to the legacy folder (using the gmail web browser).

Important: All legacy folders do NOT “show in imap” so they will not show in apple mail - keeping Mail less cluttered (but still available in Gmail). Also, when I am doing this Gmail moving I will of course quit Apple mail while I am moving everything, then re-open when I am finished with Gmail.

1 Like

Oh yes, I did this frequently in Mail.app. Searching for the “sender”, and then actioning those could probably work? Hope so!

In the search field, use the keywords "from: " or "subject: " followed by whatever you are searching for. You can further narrow the search with "in: " to restrict the search to a certain tag, like “Inbox” for instance.

I frequently snooze messages in Gmail. And I create Tasks with a single click that automatically link back to an email. If I have a message open and create a note in Google Keep they are linked, and the note, tagged ‘Related’ will re-appear in the side bar whenever I reopen the message, and vice versa.

I would honestly be interested in knowing what features you miss in webmail.

My Mum is like that. I’ve lost count of the number of things I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve shown her. People who do not want to learn, well, they do not want to learn. It’s not about what you’re trying to teach them. I’ve found the only solution is they have to want to be able to do it. If they don’t want it, they won’t learn. This has proven true with several family members. It turns out when they have a real desire to be able to do the task, anyone can learn quickly. :man_shrugging:

And filing them in the first place. The same indecision of “where did I put it” also applies to “where should I put it.”

To some people, that is a feature. The vast majority of the time I just want to see what’s there, read some of it, make some if it disappear. End. I dislike any automation other than a handful of “if it’s from this email address put this label on it” because someone else’s idea of automation never matches mine. I don’t need to be part of a team*. My version of “snooze” is to simply leave it unread in my inbox. I don’t need my email managed because I manage my email.

*I do operate as part of a team at work, where we (shudder) have to use Outlook for Windows. Even there, the only feature we use apart from some automated filing of automated emails, is the Categories, which are just like Gmail labels. We use them to mark stuff for action by a specific team member, and to mark some outcomes or reasons for delay, and also to mark things that need no action. Other than that, if the email is marked as read it needs no further attention. If it’s not, it does. This is in a shared mailbox used by 6 team members spread geographically and has been effective for over 15 years. This is all achievable in Outlook for web, too, though I do wish they’d make the Category colours as prominent on the web as in the app.

Ok. Still early days, but 7 Gmail accounts inside a self-contained WebCatalog wrapper, looks to be just what I was searching for.

My use case is most likely different from others, in that Gmail is not my “work” email — so only about 5% of what comes in needs to be actioned/picked up. The rest is news of the day/week/offers etc., that might at best be a “nice to read”, not a have to read.

So, that said — the WebCatalog wrapper has me easily jump between all 7 accounts, with CMD+1 — CMD+7. And the icons on the side, notify me of new mail.

But the most useful feature for me, is that I have now realised I can leave each account in the search-status of “label:unread”. So that means that when I periodically check in during the day, all I “see” when jumping through each account, are the “new” unread emails that have come in. This way, I can quickly scan through the new mails to confirm if it’s the same old usual, and if there are none I want to deal with — quickly select them all, and mark read/archive.

So far, so good. And best of all, nothing really on device — as far as I can see.

3 Likes

That’s the beauty of the human race – We do things differently. :wink:

And filing them in the first place. The same indecision of “where did I put it” also applies to “where should I put it.”

Just to defend my Inbox zero attitude; How do your office space and desktop look like?
For me the Inbox needs to be clean for my head to work, it’s the same with my office and desktop. Too much clutter creates distraction for me. But as I said, we are different. :slight_smile:

1 Like