I'm trying to set up notmuch for sending and receiving my Gmail email, and I think notmuch uses message-mode for its reply function. I tried setting message-citation-line-function to nil, but replying still quotes the entire message with a > prefix on each line. But that didn't work. How do I set it so that when I reply to a message, the sender's original message doesn't get quoted at all, in standard Gmail style?

  • 1
    I don't use that utility, but a quick grep of the Emacs source code turned up some likely suspects -- the message-cite-function is frequently set to 'message-cite-original; and there are a few alist for a variety of settings -- e.g., message-cite-gmail-style. Also of interest is message-cite-style. Sorry that I can't be more of assistance, but perhaps those variables will give you a lead in the right direction.
    – lawlist
    Aug 10, 2015 at 16:39
  • Thanks. I tried changing all these variables to message-cite-style-gmail or to nil, but I was not able to get message-mode to remove the leading > at the beginning of each line. Aug 12, 2015 at 18:43
  • For what it's worth, Gmail does quote the original message, it just does so by indenting with four spaces instead of using >.
    – Basil
    Jul 26, 2017 at 17:06
  • None of this works. When I hit r on a message in notmuch there is no amount of message-* variables I can have set that will change the way it formats the message citations.
    – user5293
    Apr 10, 2020 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


The intended way to achieve Gmail-style citations is the following:

(with-eval-after-load 'message
  (setq message-cite-style message-cite-style-gmail))

Inspecting the value and documentation of the alist message-cite-style-gmail provides further insight into the involved settings:

(defconst message-cite-style-gmail
  '((message-cite-function          'message-cite-original)
    (message-citation-line-function 'message-insert-formatted-citation-line)
    (message-cite-reply-position    'above)
    (message-yank-prefix            "    ")
    (message-yank-cited-prefix      "    ")
    (message-yank-empty-prefix      "    ")
    (message-citation-line-format   "On %e %B %Y %R, %f wrote:\n"))
  "Message citation style used by Gmail. Use with `message-cite-style'.")

The message-yank-*-prefix variables are the most relevant to your question; see their documentation for more information.

Note also that message-cite-style-gmail is only provided for convenience; you can of course customise any one of the variables involved individually or by setting message-cite-style to a custom alist.

For completeness, see also the documentation of message-cite-style:

message-cite-style is a variable defined in message.el.


The overall style to be used when yanking cited text. Value is either nil (no variable overrides) or a let-style list of pairs (VARIABLE VALUE) that will be bound in message-yank-original to do the quoting.

Presets to impersonate popular mail agents are found in the message-cite-style-* variables. This variable is intended for use in gnus-posting-styles, such as:

((posting-from-work-p) (eval (setq-local message-cite-style message-cite-style-outlook)))

You can customize this variable.

This variable was introduced, or its default value was changed, in version 24.1 of Emacs.

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