Gmail Automatically Quotes Highlighted Text When Replying – How to Disable?

The Change:

Recently in mid November 2012, Gmail seems to have implemented a change that I can’t find any information about. All of the sudden, whenever you have text highlighted while reading an email, then you click in the reply box, the highlighted text will be copied in your reply. The rest of the original email (which would normally be fully quoted in your reply) is deleted.

No Big Deal? Think Again

Seems like a trivial change? Perhaps, but in my regular workflow, I am constantly copying information from an email and then replying. The extra 15 seconds or so this change takes per email can add up when you’re trying to get through dozens (or hundreds!) of emails!

I have searched, but have not been able to find an answer on how to change / disable this to return to the old settings. If any readers know, please leave a comment! The closest I could find was an old article that seems to have been written back when this feature was an option in Google Labs. However this “feature” currently can’t be found or disabled in Google Labs, or in any other settings that I could find.

For now, here are the alternative solutions:

#1 Of course the easiest thing to do is simply click an extra time before replying to make sure no text is selected. However after years of habitual workflow, this is tougher than it sounds.

#2 If you’ve already accidentally had text highlighted, then clicked to reply, you can click “Discard” to reset the reply box. Unfortunately doing this is pretty frustrating to do over and over again.

This article will be updated if and/or when I find the solution to this issue.

Update (2017): Thankfully, this automatically copying and quoting highlighting text was removed at some point in the past. I believe it was around for at least 1 or 2 years, though I don’t remember exactly when it was removed. This may or may not be related to a fairly large thread on Google’s forums where people were complaining about this.

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10 Responses

  1. M says:

    This is driving me crazy. I wish there was a way to disable it.

  2. Steven says:

    I second the claim that insanity awaits us! I have just added a similar comment to the thread on this related article – They should make this ‘feature’ optional. I was looking for a way to disable it too. I actually thought I’d enabled a Labs feature by mistake, as despite using gmail from 2006, I only started to notice it last week.

  3. Nikita says:

    Ugh, this is driving me nuts. And the Google Labs feature is nowhere to be found.

  4. Mark says:

    Add me to the list of people annoyed and waiting for a way to disable it.

  5. Dan says:

    please keep informed if you find any solution. this feature is a disaster :(

  6. Dan says:

    I’m terrible annoyed by this feature.

    Unfortunately, I think it’s here to stay. I remember exactly that it was an optional lab feature, like the alert regarding forgetting to attach files, and both became a standard staple of Gmail. Very, very annoying!…

  7. M says:

    Is it possible to build a Chrome extension that overrides this?

  8. Tujae says:

    This is indeed extremely annoying.

    This change makes me loose confidence about the reliability of and makes me think that I should find an independent email software like mozilla thunderbird or something else, still don’t know which… :(

    I’m a daily user of since its opening in 2004. Time has come to move on and take my liberty back.

  9. Andrew says:

    +1 want to turn this feature off

  10. M says:

    FYI – please join the conversation on Google’s help forums. We are trying to get the Gmail team to notice our complaints on this issue.!category-topic/gmail/report-an-issue/UKRHvGaQTTc

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