How to mark all emails as read in Outlook?

Last Updated on March 26, 2023 by Amit Bansal

One of the annoying things about checking email is wading through all the messages you have no interest in reading.

Thankfully, Microsoft Outlook has a feature that can help you save time in your daily email routine. Learn how to mark all emails as read in Outlook.

In the preview article, you have learned to find the unread email in outlook, sort unread emails, conditional formatting, and move unread emails into a specific folder all are incredible methods.

After all that, in case you need to mark all unread emails as read, which indicates read unread messages in Outlook, it’s a quite simple method.

In this article, you will learn “How to mark all messages as read in Outlook“.

Every Outlook user (including me) observes parentheses next to the Outlook folder (Inbox, Draft, Outbox), which indicates something is pending, depending upon the nature of the folder.

  • The inbox folder reveals the number of unread messages.
  • The outbox folder reveals the number of emails, waiting to deliver.
  • The draft folder reveals the number of emails under preparation.
parentheses in outlook

The straightforward method to mark all unread mail as read is to click the right mouse button on the folder and Choose the Mark All as Read option from the list.

mark all unread mail as read

Mark All Emails as Read in Outlook Using Custom Search Folder.

The only issue with the above example is, that you need to entertain every folder and subfolder one by one and mark all as read.

How about grouping all unread messages into one folder and mark all read in a single attempt?

Using a custom search folder, which provides a view of customizing specific matches for your search query. the Unread Mail Search Folder lets you view all unread messages in one folder.

Let’s understand step by step process:

  • Open the Outlook application on your computer.
  • Find Search Folder from the navigation section, which is located on the button of all folders.
  • Click on the search folder >> New search folder
new search folder
  • Select unread mail from the “reading mail section” select the email address in case you are using multiple emails in Outlook and Hit OK.
unread mail
  • This step creates an unread folder, which you can easily turn all into reading in a single click.
Read In Outlook Using Custom Search Folder
  • Right-click the Unread folder and click Mark All as Read.
Mark All as Read

This step marks all folders unread emails into reading, which removes parentheses of all folders except the Deleted items folder. Finally, you can delete the folder permanently if not required by clicking on the right mouse button.

Few Direct Shortcut Methods to Mark All Emails as Read in Outlook

In the above method, you can easily right-click on the folder and click mark all read and parentheses disappear. In case you need to take a review before marking all read, click on the folder, and the list of emails (read and unread) appears.

There are two methods:

First, click on “Unread” just above the headers of emails, list of unread emails filtered, click “Ctrl + A“, all unread emails selected, now click the right mouse button, and click (Mark as Read).

Direct Shortcut Methods

Secondly, there are few filtration/sort options like (Date, From, To, Size, Subject, Type, and attachment), the outcome results in specific emails, you can repeat the above process and unread the email list out, click “Ctrl + A“, all unread email selected, now click right mouse button, and click (Mark as Read).

Mark all emails as read Quick Access Toolbar

Most users required the “mark all emails read” icon in the quick access toolbar as a shortcut. By default, a shortcut is not in QCT.

A step-by-step method to get the shortcut icon in Quick Access Toolbar:

  • Open Outlook >> Click File Tab >> Hit Options from the left portion of the screen.
  • Click “Quick Access Toolbar” from the available options on the life side >> Select “All commands” from the dropdown list of chosen commands.
  • Select “Mark all as Read” from the drop-down list. (It’s an alphabetic list, easy to find).
  • Click Add, “Mark all as Read“, which is added to Customized Quick Access Toolbar.
  • Finally, Click OK
Mark All Emails As Read Quick Access Toolbar

You can check the “Mark all as Read” icon on the top left-hand corner of the screen.

You can access the function via “Alt+3". The number depends on the position where you place the command. Press “Alt" by itself to make Outlook display overlays for all hotkeys.

Mark all as Read shortcut key

Click and Mark as read instantly 

Some users need to “Mark Messages as Read” as soon as they click on them, in general, practice outlook doesn’t mark them as read until you switch to another email on the list.

Here is Step by Step process to make Outlook mark messages as read as soon as we view them in the Reading Pane.

  • Lunch Outlook >> Click File >> Options >> Outlook options dialog Box pops up.
  • Click Mail from the left side options of the screen >> Click Reading Pane
Reading pane Outlook
  • Reading Pane Dialog Box appears, which consists of a few default active options, those outcomes, we all are familiar with. There is one option unchecked “Mark items as read when viewed in the reading pane“.

Checkbox this option results in “Outlook mark your messages as read when you view them in the Reading Pane”. This action will execute after a certain time, which can be adjusted manually by entering the number of seconds in “Wait [X] seconds before marking items as read“, just below this option. You can enter a maximum of 999 seconds.

Note that the Mark item as read when selection changes box is automatically unchecked when you check the ‘Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane‘ box.

The major difference between both is:

  • Mark item as read when selection changes’ – You must manually change the selection of unread email messages and the email convert to read.
  • Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane’ – In this option you need not change the email manually to turn read, it will automatically turn into reading in the prescribed time mentioned in the option. [Refer image].
Mark item as read when selection changes

Working with default features in Outlook is sometimes annoying, but slight adjustments make it work just as you have wanted for a long time. This article almost covers all related options of “How to Mark All Emails as Read in Outlook“.

Mark All Emails as Read in Outlook Web

Marking all unread emails to read in Outlook Web/PWA is slightly different, when you open the Outlook web page just above the inbox folder, the “Mark all as read” option is available, all you must do is click on it and all unread messages convert to read messages.

You also need to finally confirm but click OK.

mark all as read outlook web

How to Automatically Mark Deleted Messages as Read in Outlook?

Once you’ve deleted your email messages, right click the Deleted Items folder in the Navigation Pane, then click Mark All as Read.

Final Words

In conclusion, the Reading pane in Outlook allows you to mark messages “read” or “unread.”

By using the reading pane, you can determine which messages are important and which ones can wait. The reading pane is located to the right of the message list.

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Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of Through this blog, I focus on Microsoft Outlook, offering insightful and informative content. Additionally, I produce educational videos on YouTube to further enhance the understanding of my audience. visit my YouTube Channel

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