Gmail message windows can stretch far and wide:

enter image description here

And they can be narrowed, spilling text over into the next line, while keeping all text visible.

But at a certain point (about 450px wide), narrowing the window hides the text and the footer toolbar:

enter image description here

This is problematic for those of us who like to write in thin columns or "dock" fully-visible messages at the periphery of the screen.

Is there any way around this? Is there a Chrome extension or preference that lets you resize a Gmail message to even narrower than 450px? And is there a way to save this preference?

  • try removing the overflow:hidden css property from that element – Mevin Babu Dec 19 '12 at 18:32
  • @MevinBabu - This might work on a one-time basis, but is there any way to save this CSS change so that it takes effect any time I open a new message from any machine or browser? – samthebrand Jun 23 '13 at 18:00
  • Just to clarify you looking for a chrome extension or something that works in any machine or browser (as per your comment above)?I imagine the answers might be different... – batpigandme Jun 23 '13 at 18:28
  • @batpigandme - Just looking for a permanent solution -- don't want to have to modify the CSS every time I open a new message. – samthebrand Jun 23 '13 at 18:47
  • Not sure I quite understand you @batpigandme. Any solution here will do. – samthebrand Jun 24 '13 at 2:41

Here is what you can do, it is not the most clean way but will do the job.

First go ahead and download the Stylebot Extension for Chrome. It will allow you to edit and keep the css styles for GMail.

The rest is pretty simple, just use the Extension to set the preferred width of the text-area and next time you visit it will remember your preferences.

  • He said on "each computer", this requires to install Stylebot on each computer. – Ofiris Jun 26 '13 at 18:09
  • Well if he uses a Google account it will sync all the extensions over all computers. After-all it only takes 1-2 min to set up that extension manually. – bukka Jun 26 '13 at 18:33
  • This seems really promising, but I'm having trouble opening the extension from within Gmail -- not to mention from within a new message (no browser extensions visible within a new message). Hmmm. – samthebrand Jun 26 '13 at 22:51
  • Alt+M will usually open the extension – edi9999 Jun 27 '13 at 13:23
  • Why not just right click. – bukka Jun 27 '13 at 14:39

I poked around inspecting elements in the dev tools and here is what you need to add to Stylebot:

.hx, .aeF {
  min-width: 0px;

Now from the screenshot, your UI looks a little different than mine (it might be an older iteration). If that's the case, the CSS may be different. Here is what mine looks like:

enter image description here

Also, the smallest Chrome would let me go in width is 400px.

Regarding opening Stylebot on Gmail, the way that should always work is clicking on the browser icon (next to the address bar) and choosing Open Stylebot.

  • Thanks for the help! Unfortunately, it doesn't appear this CSS tweak allows the text to overflow any more than the default value. With your addition, the window can collapse to about 100px wide (the width of the "Send" button), but the text doesn't respond beyond about 450 px wide. Hmmm. – samthebrand Jul 1 '13 at 20:24

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