I dislike the compose window anchored to the side of my Gmail window. Is there a way to force Gmail to default to the pop-out window without having to select it with every email?

  • 2
    At the moment, holding shift while clicking the Reply button does this. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 14:52

4 Answers 4


You can press shift when clicking compose. Would be good if you didn't even need to do that though.

  • 2
    This works also when clicking on the Reply button. Commented May 29, 2016 at 10:43
  • On Reply, this fails (does nothing) if a regular reply is already open.
    – ChrisJJ
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 23:38

In the lower right hand corner of the compose window, click the little triangle to see more options. Click the Default to full-screen option.

There does not seem to be a way to may the reply button always go to pop out window though.

  • This doesn't answer the question; Molly wants pop-out windows for replies. This answer tells you how to take an already popped-out compose window and make it full screen by default. The "default to full-screen" option is also available only on new Compose windows, not on replies that have been popped-out.
    – John Hart
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 0:59

To enable the new compose feature do the following:

  • Click compose
  • Look for the link "Try out the new compose experience" it is on the same line as send/save now/ discard/labels.
  • Click through the demo screens and now you are set to always use the new compose pop out feature.

To go back tot he old style of compose:

  • Click compose
  • In the lower right corner of the pop out window is a small menu next to the trashcan.
  • The first item in the menu is "switch back to the old compose"

One way to solve your issue is to switch to the old Gmail interface using the browser extension Retro Compose (Chrome), Old Compose (Chrome+Firefox), or Fix Compose for Gmail:

enter image description here

  • The link to Retro Compose is broken. Google took me here. Unfortunately, I installed this but it didn't work (in numerous ways). Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 5:21
  • All of the links in the answer are now broken.
    – WBT
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 0:23

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