XMission's Company Journal

Zimbra Tips: Keyboard shortcuts

What is Zimbra? I have to say that Zimbra is such a fantastic mix of collaboration tools that it is difficult to explain in only a few words.

If I had to tell you what Zimbra is to me, I would say “life changing.” Out of the countless mail clients I have used throughout the years I have to say that stepping up to Zimbra changed my life. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Well, it was. I only wish that XMission had moved to this system sooner.

The Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) is a powerful open source server and client software for messaging and collaboration. It includes email, group calendaring, contacts, task management, advanced searching, IM (beta), file storage, zimlets (web 2.0 mashups), and web document management and authoring. Zimbra is designed to handle the diverse needs and high demands of XMission business clients. XMission’s staff uses the Premium package which includes all the features listed above.

Today’s tips are just a few of the extremely useful and powerful keyboard shortcuts for composing and managing email. They work in both the web interface and the Zimbra Desktop application, and have greatly increased my online productivity. My favorites tips are below.

Email Compose window:

  • c” or “n” – compose new mail in main browser window
  • C” – compose new in external window
  • r” – reply to sender
  • a” – reply to all recipients
  • f” – forward message
  • ctrl + s” – send message

Email navigation:

  • Delete” key – deletes the email by moving it to the Trash folder
  • j” – move up one message in the queue
  • k” – move down one message in the queue

Navigation between applications:

  • i” – return to mail from another application such as Calendaring or Tasks
  • g + a” – go to Address Book from another pane
  • g + c” – go to Calendar from another pane
  • g + d” – go to Briefcase from another pane
  • g + m” – go to Mail from another pane
  • g + p” – go to Preferences from another pane
  • g + t” – go to Tasks from another pane

Mail Folder Shortcuts: (I defined these myself in the Mail Folder tab of the  Preferences pane)

  • . + 2” – office email archive
  • . + 1” – personal email archive

Your most commonly used shortcuts will vary based upon your own personal preference.  Please note, “g + d” is supposed to go to the Documents pane but currently hits Briefcase. It appears to be a bug which has been reported to Zimbra.

Quickly you notice that most of these tips are common sense, especially the keyboard shortcuts such as “r” for “reply to sender”. The added power of using the keyboard – rather than your mouse – to manage your email and folders is both a time and wrist saver. Less time using your mouse is less time stressing your shoulders, neck and wrists. Veteran keyboard shortcut practitioners can nearly avoid having to use their mouse at all.

First, log  in to the Zimbra Collaborative Suite (ZCS). Once logged in, proceed to the Preferences pane.

Next, select the  Shortcuts pane.

Here you will see the four available shortcuts options:

The Shortcut List shows common keyboard shortcuts for all Zimbra applications and features. You don’t configure anything in this tab, rather it is a great resource for learning the available shortcuts. Next is Mail Folder Shortcuts where you can set custom keystrokes to move email from folder to folder. The Saved Search Shortcuts let you assign numbers to Saved Searches and quickly access them (with “s + number“). Finally we have Tag Shortcuts, which let you assign numbers to specific tags so you can search for messages with that tag (“y + number“) or tag a message with that tag (“t + number“).

In this following example I am looking at Mail Folder Shortcuts. To save time I try to keep my email management as simple as possible. I defined 4 categories: “defer”, “postponed”, “archive” (my personal email), and “archive-work”. I learned to simplify my email life following the Inbox Zero methodology. It has made a substantial difference in my ability to survive the daily onslaught of email and I strongly encourage you to check it out.

The pane below allows me to set my destination folder and the shortcut number of my choice. This level of flexibility is simply fantastic and why I love this email interface exclusively.

I hope this post helps familiarize you with the powerful Zimbra interface and how to use it to your benefit. We have some great Zimbra Screencasts posted in our support wiki.

XMission provides 3 distinct levels of Zimbra groupware services for our business clients, all of which are a substantial upgrade from our previous business level email-only services. No matter how large or small your company is, XMission has a solution for you. Should you have any questions about implementing the Zimbra Collaboration Suite for your business please drop me a line – I’ll be happy to chat with you.

Go XMission!

Useful links:

By the way, this entire document was written in Zimbra using the online Documents tool. One great feature is the ability to share your documents with the outside world. Check it out!


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One thought on “Zimbra Tips: Keyboard shortcuts

  • John W. says:

    Zimbra 6.0.4 no longer supports the custom keyboard shortcuts.

    There is a work around to gain some of this functionality back. Zimbra also added some more intuitive features regarding keyboard shortcuts specific to email tagging, saved searches, general navigation within the web client, and folder views.

    Here is how to fix your commonly used keyboard shortcuts:

    • Rename commonly used folders with a number that corresponds to your shortcut.

    Using the example above I had a custom shortcut for “1” set to my “archive” folder. Now I simply change the name of this folder to “1archive”.

    To save mail to this folder I can hit “m” wait for moment for the “Move Message” box to appear and type “1”. You should simply have to hit return to save your mail message into that folder.


    • If you have more than one folder starting with that number you will need to type additional keys to specify your destination. In the above example typing “1a” should generally be sufficient.

    • I found that you may have to restart your browser and mail session after renaming the folders for this to function properly.

    Tips for the how Zimbra 6 handles shortcuts:

    • Type “mm” to quicken the “Move Message” process. Since “m” command is used for more than one feature “m, r” mark message read and “m,u” mark message unread, “m,f” mark flag/unflag, and “m,j” mark as junk. Type “mm” and you will see no pause getting to the pop-up dialog box.

    • One of my favorite features is found by typing “Ctrl q” which pops up a complete list of shortcuts in an easy to read window. Simply hit “Esc” to remove the window. Quick and easy!