How to Save a Gmail Message as a Draft

When you don't have seconds, do this

As you compose an email, Gmail saves it automatically and frequently as a draft, which prevents accidental data loss when something causes your browser to hang up or when your cat runs across the keyboard.

The automatic saving process may not be sufficient if you've just had the idea of the week, but you are running late to a critically important meeting. You need to save your message right now, no seconds to be wasted. Gmail makes it possible for you to do that.

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:

  1. Stop typing and editing for three seconds, and Gmail saves a draft. The composition window does not close using this method.

  2. 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.

Locating 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 on Drafts and click the email to open it. As you work, Gmail will faithfully continue 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 will make it easy to find again.

  1. Select the Settings gear icon in the upper-right area 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 will only appear 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 will take effect automatically.

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

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