How To Change Gmail Subject Line On Received Email

Windows 7
Firefox 39.0

Sometimes I receive an email with a subject line that is not meaningful. But I cannot find a way to modify it without sending a reply email to myself, or using a desktop client such as Microsoft Outlook.

How can I modify the subject text of a message sent to my Gmail account from within Gmail itself, and without having to send the message back to myself with the new subject text? Is there a way to edit the source code or headers of that message?
Jerry LOperations ManagerAsked:
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
No email client should let you do that.  Editing a received message would break the ability to trace it from the sender and enable people to spoof other people's emails.  That would be a security nightmare.
You can't change the subject line of received mails, and I agree with the above. But in GMail you can organize your mails by moving them into folders or giving them labels so they would become logical to you.
Jerry LOperations ManagerAuthor Commented:
I am quite familiar with how to use Labels. If it turns out to be the only way, then I will create subject identification tags that apply to only one or two emails and put them under a Parent Label so as not to clutter the space. This is definitely not a good solution, and Google needs to allow us to make the changes we desire to the subject line. As for modifying the headers, I realize this is NOT the preferred way, but if it were possible, then it would suffice for my purposes.

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Eric AKA NetminderCommented:

I've checked Thunderbird, and it won't let you change the subject of a received mail, and my recollection of Outlook is that it won't either -- but don't quote me. Gmail's web mail won't even let you change the subject when you reply (e.g. Upcoming meeting changed to Meeting Tuesday (was 'Upcoming meeting') or some such).

I'm guessing that DaveBaldwin's comment is accurate; it's possible, I'm sure, to write some kind of script that would let you change the subject of a received mail, since the received ones are essentially text files (as far as the Subject is concerned), but I'm not sure it would be worth the effort. Better to just change the subject when you reply (unless, of course, you're using

The only alternative I can think of is to
1. Click Reply, and copy the text; then discard what is now a draft
2. Open a new message, paste the text, give it your new subject, insert the new recipients
3. Send.

Otherwise, you seem to be stuck with Labels.


He's using the web-client, the mail stays on the server that way and no text file comes to the PC, or if it does that is only temporary and one way. You can't edit any mails you look at through the web-client and that stay on the server.

If you wanted to edit anything, you'd have to use a mail client utility that downloads the mail to your PC and deletes it on the server, then you could edit the mails, and after that you could send the mails back to the server.
Jerry LOperations ManagerAuthor Commented:
@EricPete, If there is a script that will allow me to edit the Subject field of email received in my Gmail Inbox from within Gmail itself (without fwd'ng or sending reply) it would be worth the effort. Can you provide me with more information how to do this?
I'm sure, to write some kind of script that would let you change the subject of a received mail, since the received ones are essentially text files (as far as the Subject is concerned), but I'm not sure it would be worth the effort.
Another option while we wait for Google to implement this feature is syncing your messages with outlook using imap.  Once you have imap set up, open the message, highlight the subject and type away.  When you close the message, outlook will ask if you want to save changes, say yes.  Imap will then sync back with google and the subject line will change to the one you typed.

I have Outlook 2013 and it DOES allow you to modify a subject line or content of email received in your inbox. Using IMAP is not my preferred method of using Outlook. It creates a separate OST file for each account and fills my hard drive with files I do not need, such as the "Trash" and "Sent" folders as they appear on my Gmail server. A native solution for Gmail would be much better.

1. Setup the account in gmail as an IMAP configuration,
2. Setup the account in Outlook as imap with proper advanced settings.
3. Locate the folder in the Outlook Left Sidebar (All Folders), and that is where the emails will appear. NOT in your regular .pst folder.
4. Open the email of interest and make changes to the Subject Line. Then Save the email. You will get a message asking to save as a copy. Click "Yes". This will show up in gmail with the modified subject line.

RE: Change Subject Line in Gmail
Here are some Google Forum discussions on this topic. (I have not found Google's official reply.)

How to Edit Subject Line in Received Emails!topic/gmail/Mh1ofmSCR7s

pqinetwork said: 5/6/2010
We agree with sdd5903 and so many others as this very question is repeated in numerous Google and Help Forms on the web that it would be GREAT if GMail would start incorporating this very basic function.  We love to use GMail as much as possible but too often incoming email subjects are poor or blank.
Please consider soon!!topic/gmail-power-users/vCCSWJyDArU
Does anyone have a solution for editing the subject line of an email in your inbox?  I don't want to IMAP from an external client -- I would like to do this online within the gmail interface.
my real issue is emails which were received as replies to the original. More specifically, a colleague sent an email to a group of clients via BCC.  The separate clients are replying to the original email, with
all of these replies being captured under a single conversation.  I want to move these replies to new threads, but not necessarily create a reply on my own.!topic/gmail/cG0ym6pUwuU
For my business I need to be able to edit email subjects and in some cases remove personal info from the body of an email, that is sent to me.  How do I do this?   With Outlook you just click edit but I don't see anything like this on Gmail.  Thanks!
Well so much for Gmail.  I guess it hasn't entered the big leagues yet...Well not for business anyway.  I need to be able to quickly change subjects with words like SHIPPED and with dates and I need to delete some personal info in the body or sometimes add address information, etc.  Forwarding is no good because the email won't display the email address of the customer.  It will display mine. Get with the times, GMAIL

Why Gmail 2013 Sucks

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Eric AKA NetminderCommented:

If there is a script that will allow me to edit the Subject field of email received in my Gmail Inbox from within Gmail itself (without fwd'ng or sending reply) it would be worth the effort.
Please pardon me; I misinterpreted in that I thought you were using an email client  (like Outlook or Thunderbird) and not the online version. When I first saw this question, I did take the time to verify what Mr Baldwin had suggested -- there's no way using Gmail's web version to edit the subject, even if you are forwarding a message; I even had an occasion to speak with someone from Google over the weekend, and he called an engineer with the company to verify.

Yes, it's annoying... but given that it's Google's system, and they probably use a subject (in some fashion) to determine what advertising to show you, and give it to you at no charge... until Google decides to change things, it's likely to stay that way.

Oh... and they'll never respond as a company. You can't complain about Google's customer service, because there isn't any.
Jerry LOperations ManagerAuthor Commented:
The workaround using Outlook (and perhaps other 3rd party email clients) and IMAP seems to be the best solution.
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