Gmail’s New Compose Box Is Rolling Out to Everyone

    March 28, 2013
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Google has just announced that they are ready to give all Gmail users the new compose box that they’ve been testing since October.

With the new compose enabled, Gmail no longer takes you to a different screen to write a message. When you click “compose,” a small message box pops up in the bottom-right-hand corner of the page. From there, you retain all the functionality of the old compose method – it’s just smaller and looks more like a chat box.

“You are busy people, so it’s no surprise that an overwhelming number of you opted to try out Gmail’s faster, simpler compose experience after it launched last October. In addition to telling us what you love about the new compose experience (like how much easier it is to multitask!) you’ve also been sending us helpful suggestions for what features you’d like to see added. As a result of your input, we’re now ready to introduce the new compose experience as the default for everyone. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think!” says Gmail Product Manager Phil Sharp.

Over the past few months, Google has been tweaking the new compose feature and has added the ability to send files with Google Drive, pop-out replies, and starring and labeling while composing.

Google says that the rollout will take a few days.

Overall, the compose box is pretty useful in some circumstances – especially when you’re writing an email and you have to reference another email. It simply saves a lot of time. You can also write multiple messages at a time and minimize any of them to finish later. It’s a solid improvement to the Gmail experience, and I doubt we’ll hear any bitching from Gmail users as the rollout proceeds.

  • Neil Epstein


    I think that the new “Compose Mail” function sucks. Don’t need it, don’t want it. I PRAY TO GOD that you are going to keep the classic gmail “Compose Mail” function as an option FOREVER. I love it, leave it alone. Recently, I have noticed that you are making things more difficult, rather then less difficult. You “think” that you are making things better when you are really breaking them. For example, when you stopped the keyword “cache” functionality on Google.com – where your keywords are highlighted within the body of the website. That’s one of the main reasons why I switched to Google search in the first place 10 years ago. (WTF !!??). And now your “new improved” sucky “Compose Mail.” JUST LEAVE IT ALONE. I wonder if you have been conspiring with eBay lately (they got rid of their “enlarge” picture function that worked simply by mousing-over the word “enlarge.”) Again, WTF !! ??
    Why don’t you “big business” programmers and web developers just leave things ALONE when they are working just fine !!! Oh yeah, that’s right – you need to keep your jobs, so you probably drum up messed up ways to “change things,” convincing your bosses that “it will be an improvement.” When, in reality, all it ends up to be is more mouse-clicks and LESS CONVENIENCE.

    • http://www.connectservices.biz Pat

      Google is only trying to keep up with Microsoft and is failing miserably. The new outlook.com by Microsoft blows Google off the map. I switched two months ago and will fully interrogate shortly with outlook. Google is on a major power trip. The give and take away…

      • lisa

        Gmail had more easily accessible options than Outlook currently has. Right now AOL has the best unless gmail provides an option to stay with the classic version. It was great to see all previous conversations, spellcheck, change font size, bold italic, colorize text in many colors attach pictures, documents..Gmail had it all. They have destroyed something great and unless and until they offer an option for those of us who wish to remain with the classic version we are leaving

  • http://anthonygoodley.com/ Anthony Goodley

    I really don’t like the new email compose screen. I much prefer to compose email in it’s own window, not some tiny overlay that makes it much less user friendly.

    Obviously this uses even more Ajax. I know from experience that if a user is using a slow Internet connection that the more Ajax functionality a service uses the more screwed you are when trying to use it.

    • http://textbox.io Gavin

      We hear you Anthony. Email (or any writing for that matter) deserves to be composed on its own – not in a little chat window!

      Check out our browser plugin http://textbox.io. Textbox.io adds a sweet full screen compose mode to Gmail, along with re-usable text snippets and a whole lot more.

      We think it will really brighten up your Gmail-ing.

      Get it for Chrome: goo.gl/LTVFH
      Get it for Firefox: goo.gl/KpJa4

  • http://anthonygoodley.com/ Anthony Goodley

    I really don’t like the new email compose screen. I much prefer to compose email in it’s own window, not some tiny overlay that makes it much less user friendly.

    Obviously this uses even more Ajax. I know from experience that if a user is using a slow Internet connection that the more Ajax functionality a service uses the more screwed you are when trying to use it.

  • Jim Millar

    Agree with earlier comments do not like new format … even the the existing compose is not great when trying to untangle a longwinded response and counter response series of connected mails.

  • David

    Google is pulling it’s own version of Microsoft’s Metro UI debacle. Making change because a bunch of technical people have to be kept employed making changes. A chat window is for brief chats and that is what we are stuck with now in Gmail. The whole universe of user interface design is collapsing under the weight of stupid tech and marketing types taking control of the inane asylum. Maybe Google can hire Steve Sinofsky to “Fix Things Right”. You really think that this is progress? Unbelievable!

    • lisa

      How many millions could Google save by getting rid of these high paid idiots who have to justify their jobs with “changes”?

  • Isabel

    I HATE it. I have a 26″ monitor and having that compose box at the bottom right makes it hard for me to see – and a bit of a trip to get over there to enter my text.

    Would be nice if they gave us the option to put in a more convenient place via an options setting.

  • MEh

    I hate it, it’s pointless, I’d rather have a separate tab, I feel I’m chatting instead of composing an email.

    What were they thinking?!? Give the user the option to use on or the other.

  • Cathy

    Hate the new compose on G-Mail. Really Really HATE HATE HATE it!!!!!

    • william worrell

      Switched back to Yahoo. Compose is a chat box not serious at all!

    • lisa

      Thanks Cathy agree we all hate it! Give us the option to stay with the original compose

  • lisaistheone

    This suck BIG TIME, is there a fix for it yet!

  • lisaistheone

    How do you contact the GMAIL folks to say goodbye?
    Did anyone there check what people like or was this
    another new plan written on a cocktail napkin?
    If they have the nads to take ownership they will
    put it to a poll and see if it flies!

  • janis

    New Compose is small, irritating, and awkward. Let’s go back to what actually worked gracefully and easily.

    Progress isn’t always progress. Stop screwing with Corn Flakes!

    Grrrrrrr, J

    • lisa

      they need to justify their big paying jobs. Google needs to get rid of these people and they need to listen to the people who use their products get out of the ivory tower listen to the FEEDBACK

  • Ray

    W T F !!! I’m sorry but gmail’s new compose really sucks… I have a 15.6″ screen and the g geeks want me to compose an email in a time lower corner of that screen… I’ve already sey up my yahoo account!!!

  • Lynx

    “and I doubt we’ll hear any bitching from Gmail users as the rollout proceeds”

    Everywhere I look, that’s all I see. I found this article with the search terms, via Google “gmail new compose sucks”, so I hope they’re getting the message.

  • rose

    This new compose “box” is RIDICULOUS. I don’t like it. I hope there is an option to stay with the original compose. I won’t use this crappy tiny little box. I need a whole page to write emails. I want to keep using the original compose!!! I hope I don’t have to switch to YAHOO, but I will do it if this little box doesn’t go away. GOOGLE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? DON’T YOU GET IT? DON’T TRY TO FIX WHAT ISN’T BROKEN!

    • lisa

      hate that little box the whole thing is awful

  • Jim

    Don’t care for the new way. I attach many pictures to send to my daughter and unless I’m doing something wrong only one jpeg picture attaches at a time where in the past I could attach, depending on size, up to 120 pictures at once. Help if you can.

  • Kathy Kelly

    In the last couple of days I can’t open the compose box to create new email. It seems to be since gmail started with the reply box so small that the problem developed. I can get emails, I can reply to emails but I can’t create one. Any advice

  • Googler


  • James

    Uhg, I HATE the new compose! These constant changes really illustrate why I dislike web based applications so much. When you use a web based app, you are at the mercy of developers who make drastic changes on a whim. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!

    I already stopped using Google’s other products when they started pushing Chrome and G+ nagging me at every turn. This latest change will push me to go through the process of migrating to a different email service. So long Google, it was nice while it lasted. Hard to believe I used to love almost everything they put out and recommend it to everyone.

    • lisa

      SO agree! We loved Gmail. We used it for business mails not quick chats. The look is ugly and doesn’t work. Google needs to hear it’s customers and get out of the ivory tower and listen to the people that loved their products. We are going away. You got too big and too far away to hear what the people want. Your designers are in a bubble ..they cannot hear and do not want to hear the feedback. Let’s see if you are really listening and offer people the option to stay with the older version of compose. Then we will have new respect for Google. If not..it’s bye bye time

  • Amu

    I’m a Gmail user from D-Day…. but this new “Compose Mail” is awfull.
    Please Google, give us users(!) options. Be flexibel, OK?

  • City Kitty

    How can you Highlight text in the new Gmail compose box?

  • Den

    What percentage of Gmail’s users was the “overwhelming number” who opted to try out Gmail’s “faster, simpler compose experience after it launched last October” (Gmail Product Manager Phil Sharp’s words)? What smaller percentage of Gmail’s users provided the input as the result of which “we’re now ready to introduce the new compose experience as the default for everyone”? I suspect the overwhelming majority of us have had no input. I hope Phil Sharp will now listen to the input he is getting via Twitter, numerous forums etc and reverse his decision to make the new compose box mandatory. If he doesn’t a lot of users (and possibly some advertisers) will be saying goodbye to Gmail. I’ll be switching back to making Yahoo my main account and I might even give Outlook a try.

    “It’s a solid improvement to the Gmail experience, and I doubt we’ll hear any bitching from Gmail users as the rollout proceeds.” (Josh Wolford’s words). How wrong can you be?

    • lisa

      Thank you for providing some names of the people responsible for this disaster the new compose..for those that wish to chat they can use the chat feature. When you call Google
      650 253-000 (try this) they give an option to dial by name by pressing 8. When you press 8 a stilted little nerd voice comes on and says “This feature is no longer available.” Really, listen to that pathetic little cowering voice. One can no longer dial by name to get through or leave feedback or a message. Google needs to get that FEEDBACK is the most valuable thing a business can have. Google doesn’t want your feedback they just want to dictate. They are obviously very afraid to let go of some employees with high positions that they just don’t need anymore. These are extraneous people who wreak havoc trying to justify their jobs with new products and features or designs. This is ruinous for any company when customers are more than satisfied. and changes are made to products/services due to employees who have little to offer anymore and come up with ideas that are ruinous and are in fact detrimental fixing things that aren’t broken. At least give the customer an option. If it means a company has to let some people go because these people are not needed anymore then they must step up to do it. Goggle needs to listen to the people that use their services everyday not to employees who are dismantling their company insidiously

  • http://beautyofclassicalmusic.blogspot.com Doug Bauman

    Absolutely worst interface ever. The new gmail compose sucks big time indeed! I did the ‘Temporarily switch back’ which wasn’t obvious but I found it. If they force this on me I’m switching to yahoo mail (which I’ve had since 1998 but haven’t used much). The irony is that the old compose was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

    • Ida

      Totally agree. I was always so pleased with the old format. Very intuitive. Why do these companies feel the need to futz with a good thing?

  • Disgruntled Gmail User

    Mr. Josh: I scanned your roughly 765 blog posts since January 1st, and only seven other posts garnered more comments than this post about Google’s new Compose:
    January 21: Temple Run 2 Android Version (38 comments)
    January 24: Facebook’s problem with underage users (45 comments)
    January 29: Google’s SafeSearch (56 comments)
    Febarary 21: Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite Ad (53 comments)
    February 26: Internet Posting Removal Act (107 comments)
    March 6: Facebook doing the bait-and-switch (26 comments)
    March 8: Netflix tattoo (29 comments)
    March 28: Google’s new Compose (currently at 26 comments, on April 6, 2013)
    ALL of the comments so far are negative — i.e., from people who hate the new Compose. So I dare say that confirms that a LOT of people are seriously disgruntled with the new Compose.

    The problem is, there is no place to complain directly to Google about it! Everyone needs to call Google directly, M-F, 8 am – 5 pm Pacific time, and complain to a human being. Here’s the phone number:


    • lisa

      Absolutely the worst interface ever yes! Gmail was the best you could see all previous conversations as you scroll through. You could type important paragraphs and make words bold, italic spellcheck all of it you could easily do attachments it was perfect you could send emails in fonts and colors..This new version is awful and HATED they have permanently destroyed their integrity and whatever positive feelings about this company is over. They are bent on Self Destruction – too many employees at Google now..who have no real job there except to try to justify their job with new changes for things that did not need change. Fire these people. A company needs to streamline when people have nothing to to do but make products worse to justify their jobs. Google needs to streamline and clean away these people who have nothing to offer and need to justify their day job.
      Google give people the option to stay with their gmail compose as it was or switch to your new chat version if that is what others want. Leave an option and stop be dictator fascist monkeys

    • lisa

      Google does not provide any human contact on this telephone number. They are far off in the universe and way above us little people making their fascist dictator policies and changes they enforce on people. Gmail was great as it was. Goggle will be despised now. Thank you for providing the number but no human answers this it is all automated. They want to be removed from the people who they are supposed to be “helping”.. They are superior to us and know what is good for us. But the truth is they are destroying their company. This is the nail

  • Disgruntled Gmail User

    New compose is terrible!!

    There is a petition here to ask Google to revert to the old Compose. Use a fake Post Office Box number in your zip code as your address to sign the petition, and share the link with everyone who uses Gmail:


  • http://oscarinaland.com carolita

    I hate the way it appears in the lower right hand corner! It’s too small, and too far to the right, and I always have to enlarge it and bring it to the center! That saves me NO time at all. Why can’t we choose our own defaults?

  • Roberto Berner

    I am really dissapointed. The new interface is awful. They were doing an excellent job with the original version. Please urgently revert to the original version.

    1. Can’t find to select and can’t see the contacts in a BCC list once selected !!

    2. problems with the color palette, does not match original typing color.

    3. pop window needs to much work (clicks) to appear in a decent size. Very uncomfortable.

    4. it results in lots of clicks and tedious waste of time to do something.


    Thank you

  • http://www.techaheadcorp.com Nathan

    Not only the new gmail compose is annoying but it is cornered and reduces the space in which you can write an email think about people who have a weak eyesight, Google should stop dominating the market and remember that many of its experiments google wave and orkut have failed in the past.


  • Sam Jones

    Agree with comments – new gmail compose is absolutely terrible.

  • David E

    I wanted to like the new compose box because of its one advantage – that you can look at one past email while replying to another – BUT it has too many negatives: it’s too small for composing comfortably, it as often gets in the way of the other email you want to refer to so you have to collapse it and most annoying of all for me it seems to be impossible to select text and then choose a colour for it. When you select the colour the text you selected is deselected. This is RIDICULOUS! I’ve been round this particular loop several times and never found a way to do what I want. Then, as someone else has said, the colours are not the same as before – which means not the same as my default colour. This means that if I start an email on my Nexus (where it’s written in black) and continue on my laptop (in a dark blue), I cannot obtain a unified colour for the email. And as for saving time, once I’ve written a subject for an email it takes me on average ten clicks to obtain a cursor and be able to actually start writing it. Please google fix these infuriating problems ASAP (for example by reverting to the previous set-up!).

  • Theresa

    Yuk. Just yuk. Fail.

  • http://www.AirOneAirSolutionsInc.com Air One Air Solutions Inc.

    I don’t like it, maybe because it’s new but I like to be able to see things on my computer screen and the small box just makes me angry.

    I wish I had an option to have the old style back.