Using Only Keyboard Shortcuts to Send Email

NOTE: The following instructions have been updated to support Outlook version up through Outlook 2016.

Keyboard shortcuts are one of the best ways of getting things done when using Outlook. Keeping your hands on the keyboard is much faster than using the mouse to do the same tasks. The right shortcuts make this easy.

Throughout this site I've shown you keyboard shortcuts that replace various mouse actions. Here we put it all together in a set of steps for sending Outlook email messages without touching the mouse.

There are two procedures below. The first one is for sending messages when you only have one email account in Outlook. The second is for doing so when you have multiple accounts and need to be able to choose which one will send the message.

NOTE: The original idea for this page came from the Cranking Widgets blog, by way of Lifehacker.com

Send Email Using Keyboard Shortcuts

To send email using only the keyboard (assuming Outlook is running), follow these steps:

  1. Get into Outlook using the ALT+TAB shortcut if you are not already there.

  2. Open a new email message window. If you are in a Mail view, use CTRL+N. If you are in any other view, use CTRL+SHIFT+M.

  3. The cursor is now in the To field. Type the name of the first person you want to send the message to. If Outlook offers you a menu of choices as you type, you can use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through this list, then press ENTER to select that person.

  4. If you want to add more people to the To field, type a semi-colon (;), a space, then the next person. Press TAB when you're done with the To field.

  5. Fill in the Cc and Subject fields the same way you did the To field, pressing TAB to move to the next field each time. Pressing TAB in the Subject field puts the cursor in the body of the message.

  6. Type the  body of your message.

  7. To check the spelling of your message, press the F7 key.
  1. You can also add attachments to messages without using the mouse. If you have Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, or Outlook 2016, I have included the instructions on a separate page. Once you finish following the instructions there, close the page to return here. To add attachments, click this link. I'll wait for you here.

  2. Press CTRL+ENTER to send the message. If you are using Outlook 2007 or later, you may see one of the two dialog boxes below, asking if you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a keyboard shortcut for sending a message.
CTRL+ENTER dialog box
Tell Outlook to use the shortcut.

  1. Press the underlined character, P or D to tell Outlook not to show you this dialog box again. Next press Y to tell it you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a shortcut for sending a message from now on.

That's all it takes to send email without touching the mouse. If you're like me, it will take you some practice to get consistent with this way of doing things, but once you do, you'll get this most common of Outlook tasks done with less effort. Over the course of your day, the savings will definitely add up.


When You Have More Than One Email Account in Outlook

The steps shown above work well for most people. But they don't address the issue of what to do when you have many email accounts. In that case, you will want to choose which one you will use to send the message. For most Outlook users this isn't a problem, since they only have one account.

If you need to be able to choose among accounts when sending messages, follow the steps below. (The new step is underlined):

  1. Get into Outlook using the ALT+TAB shortcut if you are not already there.

  2. Open a new email message window. If you are in a Mail view, use CTRL+N. If you are in any other view, use CTRL+SHIFT+M.

  3. The cursor is in the To field. Type the name of the first person you want to send the message to. If Outlook offers you a menu of choices as you type, you can use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through this list, then press ENTER to select that person.

  4. If you want to add more people to the To field, type a semi-colon (;), a space, then the next person. Press TAB when you're done with the To field.

  5. Fill in the Cc and Subject fields the same way you did the To field, pressing TAB to move to the next field each time. Pressing TAB in the Subject field puts the cursor in the body of the message.

  6. Press the ALT+M shortcut. This displays a list of your email accounts as shown below. Select the account you wish to use by pressing the number key that corresponds to the underlined number next to the account name if you see one. If there are no numbers in front of the account names, scroll through the list with the up and down arrows, then press Enter to use the selected account.
  1. Type your message normally.

  2. To check the spelling of your message, press the F7 key.

  3. You can also add attachments to messages without using the mouse. If you have Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, or Outlook 2016, I have included the instructions on a separate page. Once you finish following the instructions there, close the page to return here. To add attachments, click this link. I'll wait for you here.

  4. Press CTRL+ENTER to send the message. If you are using Outlook 2007 or later, you may see one of the two dialog boxes below, asking if you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a keyboard shortcut for sending a message.

  5. Press CTRL+ENTER to send the message. You may see a dialog box asking if you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a keyboard shortcut for sending a message.

  6. Press the underlined character, P or D to tell Outlook not to show you this dialog box again. Next press Y to tell it you want to use CTRL+ENTER as a shortcut for sending a message from now on.

From here you can:


Any Thoughts on Using Only the Keyboard to Send Mail?

Did you find this page useful? Is there anything else we should talk about when it comes to sending mail using only the keyboard? Let me know!

[ ? ]

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.


(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Others Say About Sending Mail with Only the Keyboard

Click below to see comments from other visitors to this page...

This is great but what I need is how to attach an email to a new email 
This is really a simple keystrokes approach but how about attaching an email or calendar snapshots in a new email? - - - - - - - - - - - Rolly, …

Ctrl + ____ Not rated yet
Ctrl + F With bring you to a porno site :) --------------------------- If pressing CTRL + F takes you to a porno site, your computer is infected …

Highlighting portions of your email Not rated yet
Is it possible to use a shortcut to highlight a portion of your email? Would you please email me an answer if you have the time? jemahon@comcast.net …

Coool Not rated yet
Good

Great info, I'm so glad I found you Not rated yet
Thanks, this is wonderful. I'm off on a hunt to get Word to let me "save as" - - - - - - Barbara, I'm glad you found your way here too. Have …

outllook short cuts Not rated yet
great tips..helps to be faster... thanks

Click here to write your own.


From here you can go to:


New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.