How to Save a Gmail Message as a Draft

When you don't have seconds, do this

What to Know

  • If you stop typing and editing for three seconds, Gmail automatically saves a draft. Alternatively, press the Esc key to save immediately.
  • To find drafts, select the Drafts folder in the left column where all the other folders are located.

As you compose an email in Gmail it is automatically saved as a draft, preventing accidental data loss in the event of an interrupted connection. Learn how to save a draft in Gmail, how to find drafts once they've been saved, and how to change settings to ensure that the Drafts folder is visible.

Save a Message as a Draft Quickly in Gmail

There are a couple of ways to save a message you are composing in Gmail fast:

  • Stop typing and editing for three seconds, and Gmail saves a draft. The composition window does not close using this method.
  • Press the Esc key to save immediately. This saves your email to the Drafts label and closes the composition window. The screen returns to your inbox.

Locate Your Draft

When you are ready to continue working on the email, you'll find it in the Drafts folder in the left column of Gmail where all the labels are located. Click Drafts and click the email to open it. As you work, Gmail continues to save until you are ready to click the Send button.

Screenshot of Gmail with the Drafts folder highlighted

If you do not see your Drafts folder, it might be hiding. Changing a setting makes it easy to find again.

  1. Select the Settings gear icon in the upper-right corner of the Gmail inbox.

    The Settings gear in Gmail
  2. Choose See All Settings from the drop-down list.

    The "See All Settings" button in Gmail
  3. Select the Labels tab at the top of the Settings page.

    A screenshot of Gmail settings with the Labels heading highlighted
  4. Scroll down to Drafts and make sure Show is selected.

    If Hide is selected, the Drafts folder will not appear in the Folders list. If Show if Unread is selected, the Drafts folder only appears if it contains an unread message.

    A screenshot of Gmail's Labels settings with the Drafts option highlighted
  5. Return to the inbox. The changes take effect automatically.

You can quickly open the Draft folder by pressing G and then D, in that order, to display all the drafts in reverse chronological order. Locate and click your draft to continue working.

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