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I'd like to be able to highlight portions of text in emails I receive from other people, in Gmail. When I reopen those emails (often large), I'd like to be able to see what portions of text I had previously highlighted.

5 Answers 5

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Not within the Gmail web client. I would recommend creating a Google Doc, pasting the contents of the message into it and marking it up there.

You could then take the URL of the Doc and put it in a reply to that Gmail thread addressed only to you as a quick way of referencing it in Gmail.

If a group of people are collaborating on this content, using a Google Doc instead of an email thread may be a faster, more efficient way of getting the work done.

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Not with Gmail all by itself. You can't edit messages once sent/received. At best, you can forward the email message to yourself with the text highlighting you want.

Otherwise, you'll need to look for a third-party solution.

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A browser extension for easily doing that can be programmed. Until someone does that, here's a more tedious method from here for editing emails:

  • In Thunderbird, copy the email from Gmail IMAP to a Local folder
  • Delete the original email in Gmail client
  • Edit the email in the Thunderbird Local folder with "Header Tools Improved"
  • Move this email from Local folder back to IMAP

For each part of the email you want to highlight, add for example <mark> before and </mark> after that part of the email.

Each such part ideally shouldn't contain unbalanced HTML tags nor block HTML elements; if you don't know what that means, then more generally don't try to highlight the code characters < nor > that aren't visible in the email anyway.

So if you want to highlight the end of one paragraph and the beginning of the next paragraph, and the paragraphs are separated by something like </p>, </div>, <p>, and/or <div>, highlight the end of one paragraph using <mark> and </mark>, and separately highlight the beginning of the next paragraph using <mark> and </mark>.

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As a workaround, forward the email to yourself and highlight those parts (or delete the other parts) before sending it.

In that forwarded email, you can also add some text to remind you to click the "..." button to show the forwarded text because Gmail usually automatically hides that text.

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Just found a way of highlighting text in my received emails (Gmail) by using Highlighter + Notes, a Firefox add-on (there might be versions to other browsers, but I'm not sure).

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