How to Reply Quoting Only Highlighted Text in Gmail

A workaround for an abandoned Gmail experiment

Until mid-2017, Google offered an experimental feature called Quote Selected Text as part of Gmail Labs. With this feature activated, any text you highlighted in a message was quoted automatically when you began to type your reply. Google retired the Quote Selected Text feature effective June 28, 2017. 

Gmail does not provide an alternative solution. To quote only selected text in a reply, you must do it the old-fashioned way: by copying content from the original message. Here's how.

  1. Open the email you want to reply to.

  2. Click the Reply arrow at the top right side of the email to add a reply section at the bottom of the email.

    A screenshot of a message in Gmail with the Reply button highlighted
  3. In the original email, highlight the portion of the message that you want to quote in your reply using the cursor.

    A screenshot of a message in Gmail with highlighted text annotated
  4. Press Ctrl + C on a Windows computer or Command + C on a Mac to copy the selected text.

  5. Position the cursor in the reply email where you want the quoted material to appear.

  6. Click the quotation marks icon in the formatting bar at the bottom of the reply screen. A vertical line will appear in the reply box, indicating quoted material.

    A screenshot of a message in Gmail with the Quote Text button highlighted
  7. Press Ctrl + V on a Windows computer or Command + V on a Mac to paste the copied text. The quote appears in the reply as indented text with a vertical bar to the left side.

    A screenshot of a message in Gmail with the Quote Text icon highlighted
  8. Complete your email and send it as normal.

Gmail Labs is not the same as Google Labs, an experimental site that has been discontinued. Gmail Labs is still available under Gmail Settings. It offers a changing array of experimental features, some of which are eventually incorporated into Gmail proper and some of which are abandoned — like Quote Selected Text — or re-engineered as Android apps.