How To Change The Subject Line In Gmail

How To Change The Subject Line In Gmail

Email is one of the main ways we communicate these days. Whether it’s personal or professional correspondence, a clear and descriptive subject line is key. But sometimes you send off a reply only to realize afterwards that you need to tweak the subject. Or maybe the topic has organically changed over the course of the back-and-forth. Thankfully, Gmail makes it easy to change an email’s subject on the fly.

Why Change the Subject Line in Gmail?

There are a few main reasons you may want to change up an email’s subject line in Gmail:

  • The original subject is irrelevant now based on how the conversation has progressed.
  • You realize the original subject was too vague.
  • You want to flag the email in a different way for your recipient.
  • You simply made a typo in the original subject line. Hey, it happens!

The subject line acts like a title for your email – changing it helps keep your conversations clear and organized for all participants.

How to Change the Subject Line in Gmail

Gmail offers several straightforward ways to modify the subject line of an email you’re composing.

Method 1: Edit Subject

The most obvious way to tweak a subject is to just edit it directly. Here’s how:

  1. Open the email you want to modify.
  2. Click directly on the subject line to highlight it.
  3. Type your changes to the text.
  4. Hit Send when you’re done to preserve the updated subject.

Method 2: Type a New Subject

Alternatively, you can completely replace the existing subject by typing a totally new one:

  1. Open the email.
  2. Click inside the subject line to place your cursor.
  3. Delete the current text completely.
  4. Type your new preferred subject line.
  5. Send the email when ready.

This is great when you want a subject that is completely different from the current one.

Method 3: Using the Type of Response Button

Many emails in Gmail give you preset “canned responses” to quickly reply. The options appear if you click the down arrow next to the reply button.

Choose “Type your own” to view a field where you can type a new custom subject line before sending your reply.

Keeping Prior Replies as Reference

When you modify an email subject line in Gmail, prior replies remain unchanged and stay associated with the thread. This keeps the conversation organized and gives you a reference to look back on. The new subject will only apply for your latest reply and any future responses.

Improving Relevance and Enriching Text Content

A few tips for improving Gmail subject lines:

  • Keep it concise but descriptive – aim for under 50 characters.
  • Put key information first – names, dates, purpose of email.
  • Use relevant keywords related to your message content.
  • Avoid overused vague terms like “Hi” or “New message”.
  • Use conversational language when applicable.

Here are some examples of effective subject lines:

  • “Meeting notes from discussion with Sam on Friday”
  • “Your flight confirmation for trip to Hawaii on 5/19”
  • “Quick question about Project X deadline”

Highlighted Subject Line

When you begin typing a new email in Gmail, the subject line field will be highlighted in yellow. This prompts you to fill it in before sending.

Gmail does this because a clear, informative subject line allows your recipient to prioritize and categorize your email. Don’t skip it!

New Thread with Updated Subject Line

If the topic has completely changed, you may want to start a new email thread altogether with your new desired subject line. Here’s how:

  1. At the bottom of the email chain, click the down arrow.
  2. Choose “Start new conversation.”
  3. This opens a new compose window – type your new subject at the top.
  4. Send the email when ready.

This prevents an absurdly long email chain that drifts far from the original topic.

Prompted to Type a New Subject

When you reply to an email, Gmail prompts you to type a new subject by default. This cue reminds you to take a second to re-evaluate whether the existing subject still applies.

Take advantage of this built-in feature by thoughtfully considering if the subject line needs tweaking with each reply you send. Don’t become an overconfident subject line repeater!


As you can see, Gmail provides several easy ways to modify the subject line of an email during a conversation – editing inline, typing new text, using canned responses, or starting a fresh thread.

With a simple click or two, you can ensure the subject keeps your email exchange focused, relevant, and clear. Though a small detail, a descriptive subject line goes a long way in effective communication.

So next time you’re mid-email and realize the subject needs a change, use one of Gmail’s builtin tools to switch it up. Your recipients will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you change the subject line in Gmail?

A: Yes, you can easily edit the subject line of an email in Gmail by opening the email and clicking on it.

Q: What’s the purpose of changing the subject line?

A: Changing the subject line helps make your emails more relevant and organized for both you and your recipients.

Q: Can you change the subject of a threaded conversation in Gmail?

A: Yes, when replying to an email in a thread, you can modify the subject line to reflect the new topic.

Q: How do I reply to an email while changing the subject line?

A: Click “Reply” in Gmail, then click the pencil icon next to the subject line to edit it before sending your response.

Q: Can I keep previous replies visible while changing the subject line?

A: Yes, Gmail allows you to maintain context by keeping prior replies visible when composing a response.

Q: What tips can improve the text content of my email?

A: Enhance your email’s content by providing clear and concise information, addressing the recipient’s needs, and proofreading.

Q: How do I make my subject line more relevant?

A: Craft subject lines that accurately reflect the email’s content and purpose, making it easier for recipients to understand.

Q: Is there a straightforward method to change the subject line in Gmail?

A: Yes, Gmail provides a simple and obvious way to change the subject line when composing or editing emails.

Q: What’s the purpose of the “Type of Response” button?

A: Choosing the right response type button helps Gmail understand your intention, allowing you to adjust the subject line accordingly.

Q: Why should I use a highlighted subject line in Gmail?

A: A highlighted subject line makes your email stand out in the recipient’s inbox, increasing the chances of it being noticed.

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