How to stop sending emails from GMail before they’re ready

So there you were, happily typing your email on the Gmail web page when suddenly, #POOF!#, it starts sending and before you can do anything to stop it you’re taken back to the inbox. Message sent. Ready or not.

The reason:

  1. Google have set up their email page so that pressing the “Tab” key moves the cursor to the next field or button on the web page, which in this case happens to be the “Send” button. And then when you next press “Enter” to end the line you’re still typing because you didn’t know you’d done it, off it goes.  You probably hit the “Tab” key by accident, or you maybe pushed the button intentionally to create an indent like you would in Apple Mail or Word.
  2. Alternatively if you’re anything like me, sometimes you might just get trigger-happy and blatantly hit “Send” on things that really shouldn’t be sent…

Easiest workaround:

  • Log into Gmail in Chrome, then click on the big dark cog at the top right:
  • Then select “Settings” from the menu that pops up.
  • Click on “Labs”
  • Scroll down and find the “Undo Send” lab option. Select “Enable” next to it.
  • Scroll down to find the “Save changes” button, and click it.
  • You’ll be taken back to your inbox.

Now, when you hit the “Send” button, a yellow notice comes up at the top of the browser window offering the chance to undo the send – but you only get a few seconds to do it!

Easy-ish workaround:

Don’t put the recipient’s names or addresses into the “To”, “CC” or “BCC” fields before typing your new email. If you’re replying, delete the recipient addresses.

That way, if you activate this intentional keyboard shortcut (which is what it is, no matter how annoying), it won’t be able to send because there are no addresses to send it to. And it will tell you.  And eventually you’ll drop the habit of bashing the “Tab” key without sending embarrassing or otherwise empty or half-baked emails to others.

Harder workaround:

If like me you *still* keep sending messages before they’re ready, and particularly if you’re working on a longer message that will take a while to get right, there’s no shame at all in composing the email text somewhere else and then pasting it in before sending. For incidence, I’ve written this as a document in Google Docs, and that’s enabled me to get all of the formatting, layout and thinking sorted without needing to worry I’ll send before I’m ready.

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