Gmail Netbook Mode

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 11, 2010
Updated • Sep 3, 2016
Email, Gmail

Netbooks usually run at limited screen resolutions which often fail to display websites and services properly. And those that are displayed properly still need to be scrolled so that all of the content of the website can be accessed on the netbook.

Update: The same is true for tablets and other devices with smaller screen resolutions.

Netbook users who access Gmail on the web face the same problem. Many of the elements on the Gmail website take up valuable space that should be reserved for more important elements like emails and messages that you want to read.

The Greasemonkey userscript Better Gmail: Mini Wide adds a special netbook mode to Google's mail service that removes a lot of clutter from the service on demand.

The w key has been assigned by the developer to optimize the display of Gmail for netbook users. It removes the Gmail sidebar and header area so that only the main message area remains.

So, all you have to do is tap on W while on Gmail to switch to the optimized mode.

The search form, all navigational elements, ads, sidebar links and widgets are removed from the display upon pressing the w key after installing the Greasemonkey script. This in turn expands the message area so that it takes over the whole width of the browser window.

Another key press displays all the elements again which makes the script a comfortable option on netbooks.

Better Gmail: Mini Wide can be installed directly from the Userscripts website. It worked fine in the latest version of Firefox and might also work in other browsers that support userscripts. Firefox users need to install the Greasemonkey add-on before they can install the userscript.

Update: The userscript has not been updated since 2010 which unfortunately makes it incompatible with the most recent Gmail layout.

Another userscript that works on the updated Gmail page design does not appear to be available right now. What you can however use are user styles instead, of which a couple seem to provide the functionality that you are looking for. You do need to install Stylish before you can install those styles.

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Software Name
Better Gmail: Mini Wide
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Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Computer Repair said on March 12, 2010 at 7:32 am

    I was skeptical of getting a notebook because I had heard bad things about email and web displays with certain sites, but it seems that gmail has come up with a pretty good system. Honestly, I probably figured that Google would figure something that would be quality. Thanks for sharing.

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