Remove Quotes in Email Messages

When an email message is forwarded and replied to, email clients add quotes to make it easier to see exactly who wrote what. While this is normally quite useful, multiple quote levels can often make a message quite cluttered.

In many email clients (such as Gmail), quotes are shown as a symbol at the start of each line. If the text has been quoted twice, the symbol is repeated.

Gmail Quotes

Now obviously you could click on each line and press delete, but this would take ages if there are multiple quote levels in a long message. The trick to getting rid of this type of quotes is to use the box selection method. To do this, hold Option (Alt) and drag a selection around the quote marks. This makes it so only the quote marks are selected, not the entire line. Annoyingly, this method doesn't work in some applications (such as Firefox). If you find it isn't working, try pasting your message into TextEdit before removing the quotes and then pasting it back into the email.

In the Mac OS X Mail program things are slightly different. Quotes are shown by vertical lines instead. While this may look nicer, it's not quite as obvious how to get rid of them. The answer lies in the Format menu, under Quote Level. From here you can increase or decrease the quote level of the selected text.

Mail Quotes

If you have multiple quote levels you want to remove it would be quicker to use the keyboard shortcut instead. To decrease the quote level simply select the text and press Command-Option-' (the apostrophe key). Every time you press this, one quote level will disappear, much faster than navigating the Format menu multiple times.

Mail Format Menu

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