Trim the fat from Gmail

minimal gmail

Google’s Gmail is a highly viable option for email. With numerous features and options like widgets, a task list, labels, and chat, Gmail has a slight tendency to get overwhelming and might force us to loose focus on what it is really all about: email.

What can make Gmail better? For starters, how about no ads; they are cluttering and distracting. What about getting rid of the widgets and unnecessary features like labels and chat that we think are supposed to make us more productive but really only make us lose our focus to send, read and reply to email? Nobody knows Zen better than [Leo] at Zen Habits. We weren’t surprised that he and his friends (with Firefox and Greasemonkey) have found a way to trim all the unnecessary elements from Gmail and make it into an email powerhouse that focuses on a basic productive email client. The minimalist inbox for Gmail consists of Greasemonkey scripts for:

  • Removing gadgets
  • Hiding labels, chat and footer
  • Removing ads
  • Removing stars
  • Getting rid of the Gmail logo and searchbar
  • Removing menu navigation bar
  • Cleaning up and removing unnecessary buttons

To get started focusing on email, and only email, head on over to ZenHabits for a list of associated scripts and what exactly they can do to help you on your road to the minimalist Gmail.


  1. Matt says:

    What is this, Lifehacker?

  2. Addictronics says:

    @Matt, LifeHacker + Reddit + Gizmodo + MAKE + Instructables + Arduino + Digg = HAD

  3. Matt says:

    I don’t mind the Arduino stuff. I think a lot of times, no one would complain if the Arduino was substituted for a bare UC, which does not seem like a valid complain to me.

    But these past two articles (temporary phone number??) are absurd.

  4. why would you get rid of labels or the google search bar… those IMO are the two key features that separate gmail from every other email app out there.

  5. Marco says:

    dear hackaday, can you publish an article on how to get rid of ads on the hackaday site ? Thank you.

  6. Peter says:


    firefox +

  7. Eric says:

    @Matt, wait until you read that the C64 emulator was removed from the iPhone’s app store…

  8. Marco says:

    Thanks Peter, but I was actually being sarcastic. It’s questionable for a site that relies on ad-revenue to explain how to get rid of ads on a different site.

  9. peter says:

    another good addition to this list is this one:

    it removes the sponsored links from the page as well, which annoyed me after i already had the “cleaned up” version all set up. it was easy enough to find anyway

  10. andrew says:

    “I have moved most of my communication to Twitter, Google Docs, a wiki, and Basecamp”

    what the hell is he smoking? email is probably the most efficient communication medium i know. twitter? oh please.

  11. Frank says:

    “might force us to loose focus”

    Bit of “loose” grammar there, hey?

  12. therian says:

    Gmail interface looks perfect fine to me.
    I disable ADbloker on it to show some ‘thank you” for such great email

  13. MDK says:

    You can use this Greasemonkey script to remove GMail ads too:

  14. chris gilmer says:

    this gmail hack is only meant for those that dont want any distractions. meaning, they want to get down to business and send and reply to email. personally, i have no idea how someone could live without search in their gmail inboxes…

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