My blog

Gmail Uncluttered

I find some of the layout in Gmail annoying, especially because I have my two screens in a portrait orientation. In particular, the ad bar when viewing a conversation takes up a lot of space and makes the email content very narrow. It gets worse with plain text emails as the narrow content area tends to break lines into a jagged mess. There aren’t even any ads in our Google Apps Education Edition accounts, so all I see is a large, useless blank space (Google should really fix this!).

So, I’ve been using a userscript (a.k.a. Greasemonkey script) to hide the ad bar and do some other tweaks to Gmail’s interface. I find many of the “minimal” Gmail scripts or extensions (e.g. Minimalist Gmail) tend to go overboard. I just wanted to maximise screen real-estate without losing functionality or dramatically changing the look and feel of Gmail. So I grabbed a script off that seemed like a good starting point and removed the bits I wasn’t interested in. I’ve been using this script for over a year and it’s been wonderful to reclaim that screen real-estate.

There were a few glitches with the script that I’ve managed to fix up in the last couple days. I also took the opportunity to add some additional tweaks. So, here’s my “Gmail Uncluttered” user script. I use it in Google Chrome and Safari (via GreaseKit), so I know it works in those browsers.

Install Gmail Uncluttered

  • Removes ads
  • Removes logo
  • Removes the “Search Mail” and “Search the Web” button
  • Removes button bar at bottom of message list
  • Removes quick reply box
  • Removes links and copyright notice at bottom, and repositions space and account activity information onto one line
  • Repositions labels in the conversation view above the subject line
  • Repositions the quick links in the conversation view horizontally as buttons across the top of the message
  • Other useful links (e.g. map and add to calendar suggestions) are put into a rollover activated by a small black box to the right of the quick links buttons
UPDATE [2011-02-01]: It now shrinks the top bar by 25px and moves the search box to the left to make room for message bubbles, which now appear to the right of the search box.

UPDATE [2011-02-12]: It looks like Google changed something in the header which breaks my attempts to shrink the top bar, so I’ve removed that feature for now.

UPDATE [2011-02-14]: Top bar shrinking is back. Also added a link to the Tasks canvas view in the top links bar.