How Can I Permanently Get Rid of Gmail's Purple Text?
March 18, 2016 11:02 AM   Subscribe

If Gmail detects that you've previously sent the same text in another email, it turns the text purple and sometimes cuts it off with an ellipse as if it's an older threaded message. The problem is that I send a lot of similar emails to different people. I tailor them to the person, but that one paragraph that I copy pasted from an old email will still turn up purple and possibly be cut off with my signature.

The Tx "Remove Formatting" button does not work for this.

Only ever copy pasting out of an unsent draft or a Notes file and never an old email sometimes works??? But literally Gmail why. Why would you do this and make it impossible to turn off.

I've done some cursory googling and I'm still having issues so I'm turning to my fellow Mefites.
posted by Juliet Banana to Technology (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Have you added anything to gmail or modified it in any way? I regularly copy several paragraphs from previously sent email and paste into a new compose window or add to an existing thread and I've never had this problem. I've been using gmail for years, basically straight out of the box (i.e., no mods—although I sometimes add a mail tracker).
posted by she's not there at 11:17 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

(FWIW: we use Gmail at work and I have also experienced the purple text when copying into a new email. I think it is a "feature".)
posted by jillithd at 11:20 AM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Well one thing in general is to turn on canned responses so you don't have to copy and paste. Go to settings then Labs then enable canned responses. Then go to compose an email and type your generic paragraph. I like using a big row of *** for stuff I need to fill in. Then on the bottom right of the email area click the arrow to get to canned responses and save it. Then when you go to email someone insert and edit that response. I only had the purple text problem if I were replying to an email thread with the same text - say a reminder - and in that case I'm sure it really only shows up on my end.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:35 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

This isn't an answer, but I have a text file called "googlesux". I copy my email text into this file and save and close, then copy the text back into my email. This doesn't work either. Thank you for asking this question.
posted by middlethird at 11:36 AM on March 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

I get rid of this by copying the text, and, in Chrome, right-clicking, and selecting "paste as plain text."
posted by My Dad at 11:40 AM on March 18, 2016 [7 favorites]

I have a lot of repeated stuff I send via gmail and I use either

- send as plain text (you can set this and forget it in settings if you want to have it default to plain text) which gives you a plain text compose window up until you decide to add formatting
- canned responses which are SO helpful for sending the same email over and over and you can still edit and fuss with the wording.

Since I use mostly plain text I am not sure if the canned text will do the "no purple" thing
posted by jessamyn at 11:51 AM on March 18, 2016

I think when you paste it, paste as plain text and then add formatting afterwards. Or, on preview, what My Dad said.
posted by AugustWest at 11:54 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can paste formatted text from the clipboard as unformatted, even into rich text fields, using Shift-Command V on Mac and Shift-Control V on Windows.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:13 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Would the Canned Responses google labs extension work in your case? This is what I use for form emails, and afaik I've never had any of these issues with purple text described here. (I see that Crystalinne has also mentioned this above)
posted by btfreek at 12:15 PM on March 18, 2016

Canned Responses is wonderful, I couldn't work without it (I send out lots and lots of similar email.) No purple text.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:17 PM on March 18, 2016

In case you are not aware, the email only turns purple and is cut off for you. So when you check your sent mail, it will be purple and cut off because you have similar messages in your inbox. But for the recipient who does not have those similar messages in their inbox, it is not going to be cut off or turn purple. Feel free to confirm this with a friend's inbox or a dummy email account, but I actually don't think you need to worry about this happening at all.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:00 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The purple text does show up for other people in my office who may have been copied on previous emails.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:10 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

In all my years with Gmail, I've never found a solution to this problem, and I even have a little program running called FormatMatch that automatically pastes everything as plain text all the time.

The only way around it (and this won't work for your purposes) that I have discovered is to add a period in front of the line (or paragraph) that you are repeating.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:36 PM on March 18, 2016

To slightly modify what AppleTurnover said:

If the text is showing up as purple for other people, then it's because Gmail on their end is detecting that the text is copied from other messages in the same thread. There's no actual purple-ness in the message that goes over the wire, so there's nothing you can do as the sender to control it. It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that you're using Gmail; the same thing would happen if you were using a different provider.

If the recipients are using Gmail and don't like the way it shows text, they're the ones who need to find a workaround. For example, adding this CSS rule with Stylebot seems to de-purple the text for me:

.im { color: inherit; }

Not a perfect solution, because it might break the next time Gmail recompiles their code, but it's probably the best you can do.
posted by teraflop at 7:47 PM on March 18, 2016

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