I do not want to have my hands leave the traditional typing position to navigate Gmail via shortcuts. I can do everything I need to do except scroll through really long e-mails. For that it requires my right hand drop down to navigate the arrow keys on my keyboard, which are off to the side. This is annoying.

Can anyone suggest a way to do this?

My page up and down keys are also off to the side.

  • 1
    what OS are you using? This sounds like more of a browser/OS specific question as I can't find anything scroll related in the Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts page. Apr 18, 2012 at 15:47
  • I'm using osX and Chrome. Now that you brought that up, I wonder if a vim keyboard shortcut plugin might work.
    – Noah Clark
    Apr 18, 2012 at 18:57

4 Answers 4


Scrolling up and down a page isn't a GMail-specific shortcut but the browser/OS default. You can use Space bar to scroll down, and Shift + Space bar to scroll up.

If the conversation has multiple long messages, you can use N & P to jump to the beginning of the later/earlier message respectively.

  • +1 I stopped using space a while ago because too many websites autofocus on a field somewhere on the page (like google's search results page or Yahoo's any page). But I confirmed this on gmail... maybe I'll start using it again. Apr 18, 2012 at 16:50
  • This works, but it isn't as smooth as the up/down error. I rarely scroll back up, so this is acceptable for now. Thanks!
    – Noah Clark
    Apr 18, 2012 at 18:57
  • 3
    There is an equivalent to scroll up - just use 'shift-space', much like you'd use shift-tab to go backward through the elements in a form. However, an_ant has mentioned in a bounty notice that the scrolling done by the spacebar is too large for their preferences, do you know of any alternatives or ways to modify this behavior? Aug 23, 2012 at 20:41

You could use this UserScript that adjusts the amount of scrolling that takes place when pressing the Space bar.

If you have JavaScript experience, you could also write your own UserScript for you browser to use specific keys to scroll up and down.


spacebar will do the trick.
I often use j and k for navigating between newer/older conversation. n and p for moving between messages.
You can see all the shortcuts by pressing ?.


Using the spacebar to scroll down and tab-spacebar is pretty much the only portable way to scroll in a browser. Make sure that the focus is not on an entry like a check box, text box, or button, and then push space - tada! The page scrolls until the last couple lines at the bottom of the screen are at the top.

If you prefer to scroll a few lines at a time, instead of in big chunks like this, you'll want to add key handlers for spacebar and tab-spacebar. Something like:

window.onkeydown = function(e){ 
    if (e.keyCode == 32){            // If spacebar keycode
        if (event.shiftKey) {        // If shift is being held
            window.scrollBy(0, -50); // Scroll over 0 pixels and up 50 pixels 
        } else {                     // Otherwise
            window.scrollBy(0, 50);  // Scroll over 0 pixels and down 50 pixels 

would do this if you stick it into an extension. If you want this prepackaged, there are a few keyboard shortcut managers such as this one that would do the job.


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