Use and configure the Reading Pane to preview messages

Applies to: Outlook for Office 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013.

When you choose a message in the message list, you can view the message in the Reading Pane and access several variations of file attachments. You can customise how the Reading Pane functions and looks, or you can deactivate it.

In addition to using the Reading Pane to help you quickly scan your messages, you can also preview the first few lines of messages in your message list, and you can break up long messages by splitting the message window.

Turn on, turn off, or move the Reading Pane

The Reading Pane is turned on by default. Do one of the following:

  • To turn off the Reading Pane:   On the View tab, in the Layout group, select Reading Pane, and then select Off.
  • To turn on or move the Reading Pane:   On the View tab, in the Layout group, select Reading Pane, and then select Right or Bottom.

Picking Off closes the Reading Pane only for the folder you’re in. To switch off the Reading Pane swiftly for numerous folders, on the View tab, click Change View > Apply Current View to Other Mail Folders, and then pick folders in the Apply View dialogue box.

Mark messages as read after previewing in the Reading Pane

  1. On the View tab, in the Layout group, choose Reading Pane, and then pick Options.
  2. To activate this feature, click the check box at Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane, and then type a number in the Wait n seconds before marking item as read box. To deactivate this feature, clear the check box at Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane.

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