Currently, with the new version of Gmail, the default behaviour for the following two situations is inconsistently different.

  1. Reply clicking reply button. This fully quotes the previous email including all replies prior to it, so, if you have a conversation of 10 emails, it will show all 10.
  2. Reply using "r" shortcut. This sometimes will only quote the text in the previous email. So for a 10 reply long conversation, it sometimes only will quote the last of the 10 emails.

The maddening thing is I cannot seem to determine a pattern for this. I nearly exclusively use keyboard shortcuts to reply to emails.

I just did the following:

  1. Received new email (it was the fourth email in conversation, I had sent two, and received two replies in order)
  2. Opened the new email
  3. Hit "r" to reply
  4. Only included text for the last email (the fourth of them) in the quoted text
  5. Deleted this draft by hitting the trashcan button
  6. Hit "r" again
  7. The entire email was quoted (as expected)
  8. Went back to inbox
  9. Opened the new email again
  10. Hit "r" to reply and entire email was quoted

This is primarily a problem when forwarding emails or replying with CC'ing an additional person (hoping to include the entire previous email chain). This leads me to my question:

  • Why does the Gmail reply keyboard shortcut sometimes only include the last email instead of the entire email conversation?
  • 1
    Gmail only quotes the selected text in a reply. Did you perhaps have any of the text selected?
    – ale
    Jan 8, 2013 at 15:22
  • @AlEverett I did literally what I said. Unless there is an implicit text selection in that process, no, I did not
    – enderland
    Jan 8, 2013 at 15:22
  • Even when you get to the bottom of this discrepancy, there's a threshold of only including the last 10 messages in a longer conversation (at least in my testing), so longer threads will be cut off.
    – eisb
    Jan 17, 2013 at 16:27
  • @eisb that problem is far more livable :-)
    – enderland
    Jan 17, 2013 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


Hypothesis: The fact that some of the reply text is collapsed is confusing you into thinking that part is missing.

Click a ... box in the message to expand the collapsed text. Gmail is trying to help you out by hiding (initially) the text that you've read before, and it is really helpful.

It should not matter if you use the Reply button or the r key. And I don't think it matters if any of the text is selected.

(Also, if you want to forward an entire message thread rather than just a particular message with whatever previously quoted text it contains, ... well I thought there's a "forward entire thread" command in the pull-down menu but I don't see it right now. Maybe it shows up only when there's a non-linear tree of messages in the thread.)


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.