Gmail’s New Compose Box Is About to Be Your Only Option

    August 20, 2013
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

If you’ve been temporarily using the old compose view inside Gmail, your days are numbered. Google has just announced that the new Gmail compose box will become the only option within the next few days.

“A few weeks ago we added a full-screen option to the new compose. Now that that option is available, we’re saying farewell to the old compose and switching everyone to the new compose over the next few days. The new compose opens drafts as a minimizable window so you can write multiple drafts at once, keep an eye on incoming email, adds support for inline images and much more,” says Google in a Gmail Google+ post.

It also comes with a bit of user backlash.

One of the main gripes that users had with the new compose box was that it was small, and was relegated to a corner of the screen. This complaint should have been alleviated or at least mitigated by Google’s recent update to allow of a full-screen option. Not only can users make their compose box bigger, but they can also set the full-screen mode as their default.

To be clear, this is what users have seen for the past few months. Even though Google technically rolled out the new compose box to everyone back in March, they’ve allowed users to opt out by clicking the “temporarily switch back to old compose” option.

This option will cease to exist by the end of the week.

  • Terry

    What an awful development. Being able to work on one email while examining others is essential for all but the simplest of emails. This is one in a series of steps that is rendering the Gmail GUI less and less useful. Time to move on to other GUIs.

  • John Doe

    Don’t like this look at all and now we are forced to use it.
    Why force it? I want to go back to the old look as soon as possible.
    CTRL or Shift clicking on firefox just gives a blank window. Works on internet explorer, which I won’t use.

  • http://BackToAhealthyFuture.com RS Mallory

    So Josh, can you offer any “work arounds”?

    I just spent 30 minutes composing and recomposing and editing an email I wanted to forward. Text disappears, you cannot UNDO an edit because when you have the large box it eliminates the browser top menu to UNDO etc.

    This is very unprofessional. Google people need to realize not everyone has ADD/ADHD and do not need to be looking at in box when composing an email. TOO MUCH is not always suitable!

    RS Mallory, 1 task at a time 😉

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/josh-wolford Josh Wolford

      Until they remove the option, you can temporarily revert back to the old compose view. But it looks like they’ll remove that option within the next day or so. After that, it’s the new compose box for all.

  • Scott

    Google hasn’t made a positive change to Gmail since about 2008. I would love to have that version back. I’m trying to switch to the HTML version but it leaves out a couple key features.

  • http://nothanks.org noyo busis

    new gmail is NOT full screen in full screen mode

    It is distracting with my email listing behind it.

    I HATE IT!

  • Jacob

    I also am very displeased with being forced to use the new compose. Everything is hidden and needs more clicks. It reminds me strongly of MS Vista. Sure it had improvements but many things were buried under more clicks and more mouse movement.

    I hope Google comes to their senses quickly. Or maybe everyone in their management uses tablets for 90% of their work now and they are out of touch with people who use a mouse and keyboard with a “real” computer.

    So frustrating. I can’t remember ever feeling the urge to find an alternative to gmail before but I definitely felt it today.

    No, I probably won’t switch, but that’s only due to the hassle of it. If I were providing a service it would not be satisfying to know my users only stay because it’s a pain to leave. It would be much better to know they stay because they’re thrilled with me and would recommend me to all their friends and coworkers (as I felt 2 days ago or so).

    Less is only better to a certain point, and Google has gone too far. Look up the Macbook Wheel. Good for a laugh whether you like Apple or not. Until you realize it reminds you of the new Gmail compose you can’t opt out of anymore.


    • K

      I am SO discouraged that those of us that are long-time Gmail users do not have a chance to opt out of this new compose format permanently! We may all have to transition elsewhere…

  • Philip

    Not happy. I prefer the older interface. I find it much more user friendly.

  • John

    Please back option “compose old look”!

  • Jenn

    I really hate the new compose. I’ve been using gmail for years, convinced all my writing groups to use it, and now, if there was a realistic /good/ alternative, I’d switch in a heartbeat. I don’t understand forcing everyone to use this. I don’t want my compose box right up front (full screen) or way down to the right. I work with a lot of people hovering over my shoulder and this seems to give me less privacy than ever.

  • http://www.villalagoontile.com Lundy Wilder–Villa Lagoon Tile

    The new format makes it much more involved for those of us who have multiple ‘from’ addresses that reflect different businesses or biz vs. personal ‘from’ address.
    I agree with other users that it takes more clicks to accomplish many tasks. And at this point it includes much hunting for a way to do it.

    I had been experiencing a bad quirk in old compose lately and maybe this is fixed. Sometimes I’d type a lengthy reply and then realize that I needed to do a ‘reply all’ at which point, if I clicked the ‘reply all’ tab, my entire typed text disappeared. (And no, undo would not bring it back)

  • John

    All who not loved new composing interface lets send feedback about this to Google!
    “Settings” – “Send feedback”

    • vk

      I went to do this; then I saw that there is no option when sending feedback to NOT send a screenshot, which google will keep in their files. You also apparently send all your browser, OS, and machince specifications, whether they are required for your comment or not.

      So I hurriedly canceled the comment submission, and would definitely not recommend it to anyone even slightly concerned about privacy.

      Apparently google no longer has any concern for users who started using it back in the day because it was the only interface with anything like the flexibility and power.

      Tonight I am testing Thunderbird, Yahoo, and Postbox. Anyone out there have any other ideas for a REAL email client– like gmail used to be?

  • Steve P

    I hate the new Google reply style. The old reply gave alot of room flexibility. Looks like I will be leaving Google after 5 years using their email service.

  • Marie

    Software engineers…if it ain’t broke, they fix it anyway.

    • Harold

      I how they justify keeping their jobs. Instead of working legitimate issues, they come up with this garbage.

  • Bryan

    Its unusable. I will not set up another gmail account for my clients.

  • ScottyB

    It’s not your only option if you close your Gmail accounts which is what I am going to do.

    I am so sick of Google trying to ram new things down my throat that I have decided it’s just not worth it anymore. Remember when Gmail used to be the better, cool email? Funny how quickly it’s become just a pure PITA.

  • Chris

    In addition to not liking the new compose, I can’t even get the screen to open when I click on the compose button. Any suggestions as to how to correct this problem?

  • http://webpronews Barbara

    I HATE the new compose feature ! I’m 65 years old and I’ve been with gmail from the beginning, but will switch to something else if this doesn’t get FIXED. Like someone said, if software engineers find something that is NOT broken, they fix it anyway ! I HATE this !

  • http://www.health-diets.net Linda

    I have several websites with Contact forms. I used to be able to see at a glance that the message had come via the website, so was able to quickly copy and paste the sender’s email into the To: box. Now because you can no longer see the fields and their names properly in the new gmail compose I keep mistakenly hitting the Reply button and end up sending the replies to my own server.
    I also make extensive use of the ‘send email as’ gmail function and this is also now more difficult with the new Gmail as once I start typing the message I can no longer see who I am ‘sending as’ and have been making errors.
    I just want to see all the fields and their names: To, From, Subject and Message properly like I used to. Because this has been taken away I feel angry and frustrated, just like so many others.

  • FibonacciSequence

    I won’t waste everyone’s time by repeating all the previous complaints everyone else has already stated here. Suffice it to say that I agree wholeheartedly.

    Here is a serious issue that I have not yet seen mentioned. While waiting for a new AC-Adapter for my laptop to arrive in the mail I was using my friends’ machine who live just down the hill from me to send out some résumé packages that could not wait for delivery of my new adapter. So of course, I was using gmail on the web instead of MS Outlook as I would normally do. This was the first I’d experienced being forced to use the “new and improved” compose/reply feature with no option to disable it. And yes, I was already extremely irritated with that alone.

    One of the headhunters to whom I mailed my résumé package replied to me asking if I was okay or if something was wrong with my email, which of course confused me at first, then I got a sick feeling in my stomach. I’d received my new AC-Adapter, so as my machine was back up and running, opened up the mail I’d sent him in MS Outlook. I was horrified. ALL of the words and letters were scrambled, and you could make no sense of the email I’d sent him. I immediately opened the rest of the emails I’d sent those two days w/résumé packages and they all looked the same way: as if I’d written them while I was falling-down drunk. *Super* professional. THANKS, GOOGLE! YOU’RE AWESOME!

    Two of the résumé packages I sent that day were to old colleagues of mine so I was able to shoot those guys messages explaining what happened, and they understood. Plus it no doubt helps that they know me well enough to know that I would never do business while drinking, let alone while falling-down drunk. I have worked with the headhunter who I mentioned above before, so I’m pretty sure he accepted my explanation. The rest of the job applications I can kiss goodbye, many thanks to Google.

    So if you all have any avenue by which to see if the “new and improved” gmail compose/reply function is doing you the same way it did me I’d highly recommend you do so.

    For reference, the machine I was using has an XP OS; FF v.23 browser. My machine has since duplicated the same results: Windows 7, 65-bit OS; FF v.23 OS.

    Thanks, and good luck to you all!


    • http://eddiejones.org Eddie Jones

      Yes, I know. Google needs to take a lesson from NASA. You do not launch without full and redundant testing.

      The “feature” I found irritating is that the new interface doesn’t recognize past email names and addresses. Praise God I use Mac Mail so I can find my old contacts. But really, for a company of Googles size to force a change on users of this magnitude and fail to adequately test is shameful.

      And they want consumers to trust them with their online commerce transactions? Please.

  • Bob

    This “new Compose” is like “New Coke” — remember that debacle? If Google thinks they’re immune to customers taking their business elsewhere, they may be in for a shock.

  • Al

    They continue to ruin what was once a good product. This is the last start im switching to Yahoo

  • Abhishek

    I have been a avid gmail user since its launch and have introduced so many others to gmail over the years. But now I feel that Google is running out of innovative options so they are trying to bring in good-for-no-use enhancements like these.

    Recently they brought in the tabs feature in the inbox which I somehow managed to get rid off. But I don’t know in how many weeks that will be forced upon me.

    I urgently request Google team to reassess the brains that are behind these no-innovative add ons and send them to a far away place to chill out.

  • Brian

    I hate the new compose, I can’t believe they have forced it.

  • Maria

    The new gmail does not let me do my job, either. Unfortunately, my company is now using gmail for all of our mail, google drive, etc.

    I HATE not being able to switch back…

    I keep losing drafts of my emails and have to compose everything in word and then cut and paste into email.

    I used my drafts to manage my LIFE, all the projects I was working on were in my draft emails.

  • ffuucckk

    Починаєш писати лист, ховає тему і адресата. Постійно треба клацати, щоб подивитися, чи ти написав правильній людині і на правильну тему. Гівно собаче цей новий інтрефейс. Думаю, куди б перейти на іншу пошту…

  • Pizzaman7

    It is high time to lower my digital footprint. I only have Facebook, LinkedIn, and gmail. I am dumping gmail. I will host my own thank you. Do not trust the gov or the big government that is in bed with them.

    I take privacy very seriously and we are all going to have to soon ! Now the gov is asking SCOTUS if they can do away with warrants to get into our phones. This is ridiculous !

  • Bill

    this new Gmail it’s just the final straw. I’m trying to find a way to use Google as little as possible in every possible way. This s*** just makes me cussing mad.

    Google’s become like an evil drug dealer. they tease you into using their crap because it served so many good uses, then once you become addicted to what they’re giving you they start jamming more stuff down your throat; next thing you know they’re jamming s*** up your arm. Time to go cold turkey in rehab against Google in every possible way. I’ve really had so much more than enough!!!

    I’m thinking Bing & Outlook are SO on my horizon—whatever the hassle to transfer.

  • Mike L

    TIP: If you use an older “unsupported” browser such as IE8 or earlier, then, at least for now, you can still use the Old Compose. Just decline Google’s “helpful” offer to upgrade you.


  • unkown

    the new compose style is an eye sore and slows down my macbook pro.

    Goggle is really trying to lose their costumers.

  • LinnieMae

    I absolutely hate it. It f*cks up every time I try to edit an email I’m composing, and I have to start over. What a pain!

  • Gouranga Mondal

    not showing old compose mail

  • Andrew

    Just needed to write an e-mail, and found out that they finally took away the old compose as they threatened they would.

    It doesn’t show you the last time a draft was saved, or give you a button to save it.

    It doesn’t let you discard a draft in the compose window, you have to select the check box in the drafts section and hope you discard the right one. (Edit: I just saw the “trash can” icon that lets you discard.)

    They could have added the good new features in the old compose window, but they are determined to force people into using a pop-up window.

  • johny

    I hate new one please start old one

    • Susan

      I do not like the new one–please go back to the old version.

  • Susan

    Why would you change to this when no one likes it? Please give us the option to change back……I agree with all other comments.

    • adrian

      yes, I agree: the new reply option is a pain in the butt.

      I often need to see what people have written and then answer their questions. This no longer seems to be an option, apart from cutting and pasting their letter to my reply and working from there.

  • Lin

    I hate the new compose box. Have to look for the spell check! I hate that! They have to do this right when I am very busy with my business and do not have the time to “learn” a whole new get up. I am about ready to get rid of Google altogether!

  • Silvercreek Moon

    I can’t stand the new compose feature!!! Although I have been a consistent gmail user for years, I am seriously considering giving up on it and using another email and calendar system from now on. I will give it a few weeks to see if Google comes to its senses and responds to criticism. Everyone I’ve talked to hates this as well. At the very least, give us back the option of using the old system please!!!

  • Steven Lee

    I totally agree with this article. Hopefully the backlash will start to gain traction!

  • Manju

    not good this not a friendly user

  • Simon

    By the way, it’s not a gripe when your professional life has just been made considerably more difficult for no apparent benefit to anyone other than giggling, monosyllabic school boys and girls. You may not have meant it as such but it sounds a loaded phrase and more suitable to a fanboi post defending their fav brand (what is it with that, showing love for a corporation? I must be getting gold). Griping is what your stomach does after a dodgy pizza.

  • http://PJR.bz Paul Richardson

    I’ve been a die-hard Google fan-boy for years. It feels strange to be critical of Google, but I gotta side with the ‘gripers’ here. Screen-space is king, and the quick-paste snippets (like phrase-express, but inside gmail) lab was a huge time-saver. This really is nuts, and I’m betting folks are migrating out now of gmail now, as a result. I’m using Outlook/Thunderbird for now, till this gets fixed, otherwise, I might actually start shopping around too.

  • http://PJR.bz Paul Richardson

    Ok, so I retract my comment about “Canned Responses” (it’s still there, just hard to find now). —- another ingenious strategy. Hide everything from users, just because the dumb outnumber the smart (and can’t handle the cognitive overload of a “busy screen”, with lots of info). They need big stupid icons shaped like kids toys, instead of text, and labels, which are a natural preference for those who lack an aversion to text. But again, the single biggest factor here, is definitely the irrational “window inside a window inside a window inside a browser”, so that even in the silly ‘full-screen’ mode, it’s a loss of about 1/4 of screen space. Maybe if your attention span is 144 characters long, that suites you fine, but if you prefer real meat over pudding, your might have actual paragraphs, etc., inside individual communications.

  • Usama

    The gmail reply option is a disgrace. There is absolutely no good reason for them to switch. It worked perfectly, and was very powerful, which what made gmail special.

    Now it just takes a little bit longer to do the same stuff you could do before, so really no advantage at all.

    One option that is totally LOST in the new interface (which is SHAME), is the ability to copy all the e-mail addresses that you have entered in the To section. Now each single e-mail address that you type, doesn’t stay as plain text, but changes into a box which you can’t do much with. You have to double click each single name to be able to copy it, and you can only copy one e-mail at a time.

    Horrible, horrible mistake!!

    • Andrew Chong

      I agree with this comment absolutely,and faced the very same issues! Why does Gmail have to make a good thing so difficult and bad? It was the most beautiful compose option till the new one.
      Please do not have those boxes with the x next to them. You cannot copy them or do anything with them.

  • rick

    there’s a fix. oldcompose dot com. does the trick and gets you back to something that is actually useable.

  • http://google/gmail Sue

    I am sitting with the same problem. I sent very important emails and are waiting for reply’s. Next morning when I want to open my gmail, I received a complete other sight, it states I must create a new email account to a new compose. I won’t do it! I can’t open my gmail at all and what about my messages, and reply’s to come? I am bitterly dissapointed.

  • Kathy

    What hath Google wrought? What are they thinking? The latest changes are not an “update,” but a new product, and a lousy one at that. Sorry I allowed this update to happen.

  • http://www.health-diets.net Linda

    We no longer have to put up with the new Compose interface. There is a new Chrome / Firefox extension that restores Gmail to proper functionality. Pity Google couldn’t be bothered. Works great. Here it is http://oldcompose.com/