Mobility

How to locate formatting options for Gmail app emails

Jack Wallen shows you how to find the hidden Format option in the Gmail email app.

When you're composing an important email, there may be times when you'll want to make text bold, and other times when you want to italicize something to show importance. You might even want to underline or change the color/highlight of a font. If you're using Gmail from within a browser that's an easy task, as there is a toolbar for that very purpose. But what about when you're composing an email from within the Gmail mobile app? Considering that Gmail developers went for a minimalist, simplistic interface, you won't find a formatting toolbar anywhere in the app.

Or will you?

Believe it or not, there is a formatting toolbar within the Gmail app. Thing is, the toolbar in question is somewhat hidden. Once revealed, this toolbar offers a minimal amount of formatting options. What formatting options? This hidden gem allows you to:

  • Bold
  • Italicize
  • Strikethrough
  • Highlight text
  • Change the color of a font

It's not much, but these are probably the most widely-used font formatting options you'll use (which is why the developers limited the set to the above). But how do you gain access to this formatting toolbar? It's actually quite simple.

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What you'll need

The only thing you need (besides an Android device and a Gmail account) is the latest release (September 26, 2018) of the Gmail app (Android, iOS). With that app updated, you have everything you need to format your email.

How it works

You won't believe how simple this is. Open the Gmail app and then start to compose an email. Long-press within the body of the email to reveal a pop up. This pop up allows you to Format, Select All, or Paste (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

The new long-press popup in the compose window.


Tap the Format option, and the Format Toolbar will appear above your keyboard (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

The new GMail Format Toolbar.

You can now format your Gmail text to better suit your needs.

If you've already composed your email and want to go back to do a little formatting, you can select the text you want (in the typical fashion of your mobile platform) and then, from the pop-up menu, select Formatting. Whatever formatting you choose will apply the string of text you selected.

No more boring emails

You no longer have to suffer through boring email formatting, when using the Gmail app. Although you won't find any advanced formatting options, these simple additions go a long way to help you compose more engaging emails.

Also see

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Image: Google

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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