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How to Set Gmail’s Compose Window to Full-Screen

Gmail has been around for a long time and it remains one of the best email clients on the market. This is an option that works well on all platforms, that offers lots of storage space and that has a ton of features, plugins and more to help you get the very most from it.

But some of those features and new options are a little divisive. For instance, the ‘compose’ window.

How Gmail’s Compose Window Operates

gmail full screen option

When you’re looking at Gmail in your browser and you hit ‘compose’, you’ll open up a new window to write your message in. In most email clients, this will then take you to a completely clean page where you can start filling out your new message (in some cases, you’ll be able to see your messages listed down the side).

This is what we’ve come to expect from our email clients and it has an effect similar to the ‘immersive’ modes offered by some software – in that it helps us to remove distractions and focus on the message we’re busy writing. So while the new ‘small’ compose window has been around for a while, it’s not something that everyone is a fan of and it’s telling that other email providers haven’t followed suit.

The idea presumably is that this small window allows for easier multitasking – and the option to minimize multiple half-written messages is definitely nice. The problem is just that it can look a little busy and it can prevent you from properly focusing. And this is more problematic for those with smaller screen sizes. The real question is why you would need to do this kind of multitasking in your emails at all – why would you need to see a list of your old messages while writing your current one?

The Solution

Whether or not you like this set-up, the good news is that you can choose to keep it or get rid of it as you see fit.

And doing this couldn’t be easier!

Simply open up your new message as you normally would and it will pop up in the bottom right corner. Now look for the small ‘down’ arrow in the corner (next to the trash can). Click this and you’ll be presented with some additional options, the first of which is ‘Default to full-screen’. Once this is selected, as you can imagine, the compose window will automatically assume the full-screen setting and won’t appear as the smaller window in the bottom. You can simply repeat the process to change it back.

Note that you can also increase the size of the window at any time on the fly by hitting the two arrows in the top right of that window. This works very similarly to the ‘maximize’ button in Windows.

Of course you’ll find that this isn’t quite full-screen still. Rather there will still be a slight border around your message. This is handy for accessing more features or having more than one compose tab open at a time, but it may frustrate some people.

Want to go more immersive still? A lot of browsers do have an ‘immersive mode’ that you can use to remove the ‘chrome’ and other features and to go full screen.


So there you go, it turns out you’re not stuck with the small compose window after all! You can choose the set-up that works best for you and that customization is one of the things we really love about Gmail.

So what do you think? Do you like the small window? Or will you be going back to the full-screen mode now you have the know-how?

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