Welcome to Shortwave — an email app designed to bring modern productivity features straight to your inbox. This guide will get you set up for success with your new inbox and review best practices for managing your email in Shortwave.

1. Create account

Shortwave syncs with your existing email account, so getting set up is as simple as signing in with your Gmail account:

  1. Go to app.shortwave.com or download our app
  2. Sign in with Google & grant all permissions — that's it!

The first time you log in, Shortwave will confirm some preferences and give you a quick tour while it works on importing your inbox. If you have any questions about the permissions required, learn more in our Security overview.

📱 Get the app

Download the Desktop, iOS, or Android (beta) app

2. Understand your inbox


Shortwave's inbox is designed to simplify your life. Related emails are automatically grouped into bundles so your inbox is more scannable and requires less work. Shortwave does this by organizing your messages with built-in labels, such as Promotions, Social, Calendar, Newsletters, and more. These labels give you control over what sends you push notifications and how things show up in your inbox. You can customize these options at any time from your inbox or notification settings.

📖 Want to learn more?

Check out our Shortwave Method for more on triage actions, labels, and simplifying your workflow

3. Manage your inbox

Shortwave has 3 simple (but powerful) actions to help you get things done.

✅ 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.

📌 Pin

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.

⏰ Snooze

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.

⚡️ Quick Tip

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.

4. Send a message

Compose beautiful messages with real-time features that bring the joy of chat to email.


Let's send your first email using Shortwave:

  1. Start a new thread by clicking the compose button (or c if you're a keyboard shortcut person)

  2. As you add people to your thread, you'll see your full conversation history appear — these are all your past emails with that specific person or group (like an iMessage-style history for older emails). The person or group is now also in your sidebar so you can easily access drafts and recently sent messages.

  3. Draft your message using Shortwave's editor, which supports markdown (**bold**), emoji shortcuts (:heart:), mentions (@person), GIFs, images, and more!

  4. Send your message (cmd enter) and it will be delivered instantly — you can even emoji react and see typing indicators when talking with other Shortwave users

📖 Want to learn more?

Check out our resources for more on compose and replies

5. Invite your team

Shortwave is great for individuals looking to manage their inbox, but it's even better for teams and groups who are looking to collaborate. When you're talking to other Shortwavers, you can see emoji reactions, typing indicators, mentions, and availability status, to collaborate in real-time (and have more fun) — all over email!


To get your team started:

  1. Create a workspace — a place for your fellow teammates to collaborate and create channels together
  2. Invite your teammates — they'll receive an email invite with a link to join your workspace
  3. Join channels — you can create channels for any project, topic or team to always include the right people and give easy access to past conversations
  4. Collaborate!
📖 Want to learn more?

Check out our Team guide for more on workspaces, channels, and collaboration