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Customizing the Reading Pane in Outlook



Outlook Read Area – a.k.a. Preview Window: Displays the text of a message you have selected, so you do not have to open the actual message to work with it. To customize the Reading Pane to meet your needs:

Outlook contains several different sections, including the default sections (for example, the Navigation Pane) and others that you may not be very familiar with, such as Personal Slices. Each of these elements should make it easier to find, view and manage things in Outlook. We will look at these areas in several articles and show you how to access, work with, and customize them. We start with the reading area.

The read area is enabled by default. When you click a message in a folder, the panel displays the contents of that message along with the basic controls for answering and forwarding the message.

By default, Outlook displays the read window on the right side of folders and messages, but you can change this by going to View> Reading Pane.

You can change the position to "Bottom" (that is, Outlook will display the reading area below the messages) or "Off", which will hide the reading area. These options apply to the reading area, regardless of which folder you are in, so you can not set different location settings for different folders.

If you set the range to "Bottom", fewer messages appear in the folder. You will see more details about this message and more about the content in the reading area. This was the traditional view before the advent of widescreen monitors, and many people still prefer it.

If you set the scope to Off, the number of items in the folder will be maximized, but you will not see any of the email content. This is a useful option when deleting emails, especially if you use them in conjunction with the View> Message Preview feature.

Message Preview is disabled in the default folder view. This means that you only see the information displayed in the columns of the folder – To, From, Subject, Receive, and so on. However, if you set the message preview to 1 line, 2 lines, or 3 lines, 1, 2, or 3 lines of contents of each message displayed without the reading area being needed. Some people love this attitude; some find it too crammed. You have to experiment with it to see what you think.

RELATED: Creating and customizing a folder view in Outlook

But the read area does even more then show the content of your message. It also sets how Outlook marks messages as read, and lets you search your messages with a single key. By default, an e-mail marks an e-mail as "read" if you have spent five seconds with the selected e-mail. However, you can change this by going to View> Reading Area and selecting Options.

Of course, this is Outlook, there are other ways to access these options. You can also open the same options from File> Options> E-mail> Reading Pane (or Advanced> Reading Pane).

In whatever way, the reading area appears.

After unpacking, Outlook will mark "read items as read after five seconds" when they appear in the Reading Pane. "You can change this time from 0 to 999 seconds (that is, it will be instantaneous If you want Outlook to wait longer than a few seconds, it may be a good idea to change the second option "Mark item as read when the selection changes." This is either a situation or a situation: you can tell Outlook to mark items as read for a particular item, or you can tell Outlook to mark items as read when you switch to another item, but not both.

The next option, "One-key space-reading" , is very useful if you want to use the keyboard to navigate. If you access a message that is longer than what is displayed in the reading area, you can press the space bar to scroll down te in this message to move down. When you reach the end of the message, pressing the space bar will take you to the next message. This works well if you navigate through the folder using the up and down arrows. You can navigate through the folder and use the space bar to navigate through the selected message.

Finally the option "Automatically turn on full power" is displayed – screen reading in portrait mode ". This is true for tablet users. When on, minimizes the navigation area when the tablet is in portrait orientation, hides the read window, and displays the selected message over the entire screen. This will not work if you select the message with the up and down arrows or the space bar – only if you select the message with the trackpad / mouse or with your finger.

If you do not work in portrait mode and you want a little more screen content to display your messages, you can switch to reading mode by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the Outlook window.

This minimizes all other pinned areas – navigation, to-do, and people so you can focus on your messages. You can view the windows again by clicking the normal mode icon.

The Reading Window can also help you read messages that are smaller than the normal font, or if – as occasionally – you've left your reading glasses at home. Use the zoom control at the bottom of the reading area to zoom in (or zoom out if it's too large.)

You can also zoom by holding down the Ctrl key while you use the scroll wheel on your mouse this works per message. So, if you increase the size of a message, the zoom level of the next selected message is still 100%.

None of these options work if View> Read Area is set to Off, though they only work if the Reading Area is set to "Right" or "Bottom."


The Reading Pane is a basic but basic part of the Outlook app with many useful features that will help you to customize your reading experience in your own way, so if you've traditionally disabled it, it may now be a good time to turn it back on and check if it's your workflow can make something more pleasant and efficient.


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