Want to attach a note to an email or keep a shared to-do list right in Gmail? Find out here how to keep notes and lists with Gmail Notes.

First, a Philosopher Writes Himself an Antinomic Note

For forty years, Martin Lampe diligently served the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who very much depended on and cherished him. Then, the trusty servant took to drinking more and more.

Kant felt and followed the imperative to let Lampe go.

That, of course, did not mean his memory was gone. So, Kant wrote a note to himself:

The name “Lampe” must now be thoroughly forgotten.

Now, let’s remember we can take Google Keep notes right in Gmail:

Gmail Notes: How to Add a Google Keep Note in Gmail

Time needed: 1 minute.

To create a new note that synchronizes with Google Keep right in Gmail:

  1. Click Keep (Gmail Notes Keep Icon) in Gmail’s right side panel.

    Tip: If you do not see the side panel, click the Show side panel button near Gmail’s bottom right corner.
    Hint: You can press g k in Gmail to open Tasks in the side panel even if the panel is hidden; then, switch to Keep.

  2. Now click Take a note….

    Tip: You can also link a note to an email in Gmail. (See below.)

  3. Type your note’s desired text over Take a note….

    Optional: Type over Title to add a title.

  4. Click Done.

    Note: Changes do save automatically, even before you (or even if you do not) click Done.

To connect a note in Google Keep to an email in Gmail:

  1. Open the message you want to link to a note.
  2. Open Keep in Gmail. (See above.)
  3. Click Take a note….
  4. Type the desired note over Take a note… or enter a desired note title over Title.
    • Important: You can enter both of course, but need to type at least one. Keep will not save the note and link without custom text.
  5. Click Done.

Now, you can open the referenced email right from the note in Google Keep, and the connected note will appear under Related in the Keep side panel when you open the email in Gmail.

How to Add a Google Keep List Gmail

To create a Google Keep list with checkboxes in Gmail:

  1. Open Keep in Gmail. (See above.)
  2. Click New list (Gmail Notes - New list button) in the Keep side panel.
  3. Type the lists’s first item over List item.
    • Hint: Click + List item to add consecutive items.
  4. Click Done.

Gmail Notes: FAQ

Can I open or create notes with a keyboard shortcut in Gmail?

No. Neither Google Keep nor Gmail keyboard shortcuts work with the Keep pane in Gmail.

To open any note or list in Google Keep from Gmail Notes:

  1. Click the note’s menu button (⠇)
  2. Select Open in Keep.

Can I color-code notes?

No, while Gmail will show notes’ colors, you cannot add colors right in Gmail Keep.

Can I add reminders in Gmail Notes?

No, Google Keep in Gmail is oblivious to reminders. You cannot add, see, change or delete them.

To edit reminders in notes, open Google Keep in a separate browser window or tab.

Can I turn a note into a list?

No, while Gmail Notes lets you edit and use lists in notes, you cannot convert a note into a list.

You can create a new list right in Gmail Keep, though.

Can I use Gmail Notes in the Gmail Apps for Android and iOS or Gmail mobile?

No. Google Keep for Gmail is accessible in the desktop version exclusively.

You can try opening the desktop version of Gmail in a mobile browser access notes or, of course, use Google Keep in any mobile browser or try the Google Keep apps for iOS and for Android.

(Gmail Notes: How to keep notes and lists in Gmail tested in a desktop browser; updated January 2019)