Tips & Tricks: Send an Email Without Opening Your Inbox

By December 24, 2010 Posts 8 Comments
Distraction

At Less Doing we try to spend as little time in our email inboxes as possible. If you want to get work done, keeping your inbox open is not going to help.

This does not mean that you should have to wait until you open your inbox to send emails. If you use Gmail (or Google Apps), there is a very simple way to open up a new email window without opening your inbox.

Magical JavaScript

The key is the following Javascript:

javascript:(function(){ window.open(‘https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&shva=1′,’Compose Gmail’,’status=no,directories=no,location=no,resizable=no,menubar=no,width=600,height=600,toolbar=no’); })();

(Note: If you are a Google apps user, replace “.com/mail” with “.com/a/[your domain]/”.)

Simply add a bookmark in your browser of choice and put that Javascript where you would usually put a URL. I suggest saving the bookmark to your bookmarks bar for easy access.

An Even Better Way

If you are a Chrome or Firefox user, then you can open a new email window by simply typing a command into the address bar and hitting enter. I have set up my browser to use “compose” as the command.

Chrome

To make this work in Chrome, you have to trick it into thinking the JavaScript is a search engine. To add a new search engine to Chrome follow these instructions from Google:

To manually add, edit, or remove search engines from the browser, follow these steps:

  1. Click the wrench icon on the browser toolbar. wrench icon Mac users: If you don’t see the wrench icon, go to the menu bar at the top of your screen and click Chrome.
  2. Select Options (Preferences on Mac and Linux; Settings on Chrome OS).
  3. Click the Basics tab.
  4. Click Manage in the “Default search” section.

Use the buttons in the dialog to manage the search engines in the list. You’ll need to provide the following information for each search engine:

  • Name: Nickname for the search engine.
  • Keyword: A text shortcut for the search engine. Use the shortcut to do keyword searches.
  • URL: The web address for the search engine.

Fill in Name with whatever you like. (I used “Compose Mail”.) The Keyword is the command you use to launch the window. (Again, I used “compose.”) Put the JavaScript in the URL section.

Firefox

Firefox provides the ability to associate a keyword with a bookmark. Simply open the bookmarks manager (select Bookmarks from the menu, then Organize Bookmarks…), find or create the bookmark with the JavaScript and click the arrow button underneath Tags. This will open a few more fields including a Keyword field. Simply type in the keyword you would like to use.

The Little Things Add Up

Some of you might think this is a lot of set up work for a small thing (it’s actually pretty quick), but it’s important to remember that the small things add up quickly. More importantly, this will let you send emails without opening your inbox which can easily distract you from the task at hand.

6 comments
psome
psome

Love this post. Def. a pro tip for the hard core gmail / chrome user. Count me in!

Jameson Detweiler
Jameson Detweiler

Thanks Peter. Definitely takes a bit of set up time, but it dials down the distraction level like nothing else.

Kateryna Sytnyk
Kateryna Sytnyk

Hey Ari, does this still work for you? It seems like chrome automatically strips out "javascript:" part in the beginning. So that if you just copy paste the code in the address bar, it will be pasted starting with "(function:..." which doesnt bring the compose window up, only if then you manually type "javascript:" part in. I guess it's also a reason saving a bookmark or creating a custom search engine doesnt work. At least for me. What do you think?

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