Migrating from Gmail


Many people have years (or even decades!) of muscle memory built on former email clients. This guide helps bridge the gap between old Gmail habits and new Shortwave workflows for a seamless transition.

Import your data & settings

This section covers Shortwave's dedicated Gmail sync page and ways to fine-tune your Shortwave setup based on your existing Gmail settings.

🔄 Sync changes from Gmail

Any time you create or modify settings in Gmail, you must re-sign into Shortwave for them to take effect.

Signature

You can add your existing Gmail signature to your outgoing emails from Shortwave. If you opt to enable a signature, you will see a signature icon at the bottom of the compose box. Clicking it will allow you to toggle between including / removing your signature for individual messages.

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If you want to modify your signature, you can make edits from your Gmail general settings. See Gmail's documentation for more detailed instructions.

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Aliases

On sign-in, Shortwave syncs any aliases associated with your Gmail account. You can configure your aliases preferences to always reply from your default address, or from the same address the message was sent to.

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To update your default address, you'll have to edit your account settings from Gmail. For further information, reference Gmail's help page.

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Filters

If you already have custom filters set in Gmail that affect which threads appear in your inbox, Shortwave respects them by default— making affected threads also skip the inbox in Shortwave. You can always find skipped threads in Shortwave via search.

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You can create or edit existing filters from the Gmail filters page.

Email import

Shortwave imports your last 90 days of email history the first time you sign in. During the alpha, you can import your entire email history from the settings page. Doing so will sync any remaining inbox emails, in addition to making your archived mail searchable.

  1. From the Gmail sync page in your Shortwave settings, click import full history
  2. The process will run in the background, so you can close the app any time
  3. Shortwave sends you an email when your import is complete
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Transition your workflow

Below are best practices for migrating your triage process based on Gmail inbox type, keyboard shortcut usage, and available mobile apps.

Transition based on inbox type

Gmail has six inbox types 👇

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Here is how each inbox type can be configured in Shortwave for a smooth transition:

  1. Default
    • Gmail behavior: Tabbed inbox categories (Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums)
    • Shortwave solution: Set the Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums categories as "bundle together" in Shortwave
  2. Important first
    • Gmail behavior: Two inbox sections (Important and Everything else)
    • Shortwave solution:
      • Turn push on for Important threads
      • Turn bundling on for Other people
      • Pin important threads to the top of your inbox, or drag and drop to reorder them
  3. Unread first
    • Gmail behavior: Two inbox sections (Unread and Everything else)
    • Shortwave solution:
      • Search "Unread" in the search box to view unread threads
      • From the search results (or from the inbox), pin all important threads—it's more reliable and actionable than the read/unread system
  4. Starred first
    • Gmail behavior: Two inbox sections (Starred and Everything else)
    • Shortwave solution: Use pin for important threads — it's less ambiguous than Starred or a specific label
  5. Priority inbox
    • Gmail behavior: Configurable inbox sections (default is Important & unread, Starred, Everything else)
    • Shortwave solution:
      • Turn push on for Important threads
      • Turn bundling on for Other people
      • Pin important threads to the top of your inbox, or drag and drop to reorder them
  6. Multiple inboxes
    • Gmail behavior: Configurable inbox sections based on Gmail's query format
    • Shortwave solution:

Keyboard shortcuts

Shortwave supports a full set of keyboard shortcuts for app-wide actions and navigation. To activate keyboard shortcuts, just press

or
j
to focus a thread. Like Gmail, a blue highlight indicates what thread or section keyboard shortcuts will affect.

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To reference Shortwave's primary keyboard shortcuts from the app, press

+
/
(
ctrl
+
/
on Windows) to launch the help box. For a full list of supported keys and shortcut descriptions, check out our keyboard shortcut guide.

Mobile app

Use Shortwave on the go with our iOS and Android apps. Our iOS app is available through the App Store and our Android app is available through a private distribution.

Gmail extension

You can download the Shortwave Gmail extension from the Chrome Store. Installing it simply adds a button in Gmail that redirects you to your Shortwave inbox.

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So next time you find yourself typing "g...m...a..." into your address bar, don't fret! Shortwave will be there to gently nudge you towards your new, organized inbox over at app.shortwave.com.

👯 Multiple Accounts

If you want to use Shortwave with multiple Gmail accounts, here's how to add additional accounts and manage account switching.


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