Welcome to your deep-dive on all things Shortwave! Here you can learn more about what makes Shortwave so amazing and our recommendations on how to make it work best for you. Before we dive into specifics, you might be wondering...
Good question! Some clients focus on speed & keyboard shortcuts, while others give you (too) many customization options. Shortwave does those things as well, but more importantly, we're trying to change your fundamental relationship with email from a way to send slow, long-from "letters" to a fast, real-time messaging & collaboration tool with a powerful inbox to keep you organized. Shortwave lets you send regular emails, but it also lets you do a lot more than that too!
For individual users, some high-level values are:
Overall, Shortwave empowers you to get work done faster by helping you better understand the information you're seeing better and letting you communicate more effectively with other people.
Check out our Team Guide how to use Shortwave with our team and what makes it great
Shortwave's inbox keeps you organized by default with automatic labeling & bundling, saving you time and energy so you can easily get caught up. You even can take things into your own hands with drag 'n drop reordering and labels, so your inbox can best fit your needs.
Related groups of emails bundle together in your inbox, giving you a condensed view of what you need to know. This makes things more scannable and reduces the amount of manual effort required to stay organized. You can also take actions on entire bundles, making it easy to mark a bunch of emails as done all at once with a single click.
Labels make it easy to bundle and view related threads, whether you’re working on a project or storing long-term information. Labels stay in sync between Shortwave and Gmail, meaning you can manage them from either app.
While you can create your own labels, Shortwave also provides several built-in labels including Newsletters, Promotions, and Purchases. When you apply one of these built-in labels, Shortwave remembers that and will auto-apply the label for future messages from the same sender. You can configure each label's bundling and push notification behavior from settings.
...menu or by using the
Labeling can be handy for projects and niche categorization, but don't let it take up too much of your time! Shortwave does a lot of this work for you already with bundles and powerful search, so you don't have to worry about labeling every little thing.
Have you ever wished you could just drag an email to the top of your inbox? Well now you can! Reorder any thread in your inbox by dragging and dropping it to a new spot to better prioritize action items and make custom bundles.
Shortwave has 3 simple (but powerful) actions to help you get things done.
Emails that require no action. Done removes an email from your inbox so you can focus on what matters (or get to inbox zero!). Just like archive, nothing gets deleted — you can always find emails later via search or the done page. You can even mark entire bundles or sections of your inbox as done with a single click.
Emails you want to keep top of mind. Pinning an email moves it to the top of your inbox so you don't forget about it. This section acts like your inbox "to-do list" where you can reorder or group threads in any way you want.
Emails you want to be reminded about later. Snoozing moves a thread to the snoozed page until it receives a response or the snooze time expires. This is great for things you know you want to follow up on or need to do later, but not right now.
Now that we've covered the inbox basics, here's a quick overview of our recommended workflow.
As new emails come into your inbox, they enter into the "last 7 days" section of your inbox. These items are untriaged, meaning you haven't yet chosen a priority for them. When going through these new items, always try to do the following for each thread:
When you're done triaging, you should reach "triage-zero". You may still have threads that you haven't responded to yet (including pinned and snoozed threads), but now you should know exactly what needs to get done today and feel confident you haven't missed anything that needs your attention.
With 📌 pin, ⏰ snooze, and ✅ done, Shortwave helps you avoid needing to make a prioritization decision multiple times on the same item. We know it's opinionated, but we think this will help you spend less time fighting your inbox and more time focused on the work you need to get done!
Don't be afraid to click those checkmarks! Marking emails as done is an important step to keep your inbox focused. One trick is to go through and pin or snooze all the emails you need to take action on, and then mark the rest of the bundle or section as done all at once.
In Shortwave, even though things sometimes look like chat, every message is just an email. You can quickly send short replies, or compose long-form emails, all in real-time.
When you start a new draft in Shortwave, your conversation history with the people you're talking to show up once you add them to the thread. Similar to chat apps, this makes it easy to see what you talked about last or quickly scroll up to find past conversations.
Your drafts show up in your sidebar so you can quickly access them, along with the recent messages you've sent. You can start a new thread at the bottom of any conversation history by clicking the
new thread button. Adding people or groups to your favorites makes it super fast to go to their conversation history and start a new thread.
Forwards also start new drafts, with the forwarded message nicely embedded — these chat-style forwards look extra nice in Shortwave, but folks outside of Shortwave will see a "standard" forward (in reverse-chronological order with all the nesting).
Sometime's a message doesn't warrant a subject, so we've made them optional. If you send a subjectless message, we default the subject line to be a chat bubble emoji instead of leaving it as (no subject). It's a simple way to let someone know you sent a quick message.
Shortwave's smart editor helps you write better emails faster with intuitive shortcuts and a light-weight compose box that makes drafting and sending emails frictionless. You can drag 'n drop an image right into your message, or use the GIF & emoji picker to find the perfect way to express yourself. Plus, with markdown shortcuts, your emails will be beautifully formatted and look great in other email clients too.
Here are some formatting keyboard shortcuts to help you write your messages without your hands leaving your keyboards:
Check out our full list of keyboard shortcuts
Unlike traditional email, Shortwave defaults to replying to everyone on a thread. Reply all makes it easy to keep groups on the same page, while built-in audience awareness makes sure you always know who you're talking to.
qor clicking the quote button. This will insert the quoted text into the compose box so you can reference it easily instead of burying an inline reply inside message history
Whenever people are added or removed from a thread, Shortwave always shows you a clear divider so it's easy to tell who your message is going to:
Mentions let you add, remove, or notify someone on a thread with a special character before their name. Use mentions to ensure a message ends up in someone's inbox, or bump it up a notch with a push notification for urgent emails. You can even use mentions in place of keyboard shortcuts to modify message recipients without having to take your hands off the keys.
@mentions notify teammates with a push notifications (respects do-not-disturb)
+mentions add a person or channel to a thread
-mentions remove a person or channel from a thread
#mentions link to a person or channel so you can easily share contact or channel info
Mentions work for both individuals and channels. It's just like adding or removing people from the to, cc and bcc fields but with shorthand directly in your message.
Keep your inbox lean and stay informed on what's actually important with Shortwave's fine-grain notification and send-to-inbox controls. With customizable push notifications, available hours, and do-not-disturb (DND) settings, you can stay focused when it matters most.
Make sure your phone or browser settings allow notifications
In addition to controlling what sends push notifications, you can also control what enters your inbox at all. You can customize these settings for senders by clicking the bell icon on the top of the bundle or the send-to-inbox settings in conversation histories.
mutea thread to stop it from re-entering your inbox.
followit, new replies won't cause it to come back.
Shortwave also automatically syncs any "skip inbox" filters you have in Gmail.
Shortwave makes it easy to navigate across the app and find threads with search. Intuitive filters and smart suggestions help you find exactly what you need.
Navigate to a conversation history or label by selecting one of the tiled results up top
Use filters to narrow down your results
from:followed by a name will show all messages that person has sent
in:followed by a channel or individual name will only show messages from that conversation
has:followed by "attachment" pull up any messages with attachments
View all messages involving a contact by searching their name — or narrow it down even more by selecting the search suggestion below the tiled results
When you enter search from a conversation history, you can quickly search all of threads in it by selecting the first search suggestion (in: conversation) to filter your results
Since you've mastered the inbox and all it has to offer, see what other real-time features Shortwave has in store with our Team Guide.
We're happy to help over at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you have a bug to report, a feature to request, or feedback to share, don't hesitate to reach out — we love hearing from our users!