How to Change Outlook message preview settings? + [Change Reading Pane]

Last Updated on December 23, 2022 by Amit Bansal

For many people, Outlook is the go-to email program for managing their email accounts.

With Outlook, users can quickly read emails, delete unnecessary emails, and prioritize important emails.

One of the most valuable features of Outlook is the ability to customize the way emails are displayed in the message preview pane.

This feature can be used to make Outlook more efficient and organized.

In this blog post, we will walk you through the steps of how to change Outlook message preview settings to make your Outlook experience more efficient.

We will provide step-by-step instructions, screenshots, and helpful tips to make the process as easy as possible.

After reading this post, you’ll know how to take control of your Outlook message preview settings so you can make the most out of your Outlook experience.

It’s important to note that Outlook message preview settings can be changed on different versions of Outlook, including Outlook on the web,, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook for Office 365.

We’ll cover those in this guide, but the steps may be slightly different on the different versions.

So, if you’re looking for an easy guide to customize the message preview settings in Outlook, keep reading.

Outlook Message Preview is additional information about the email message which can be visible just below the email subject line on the mail list in a specified mail folder.

The preview pane or Reading pane feature in Microsoft Outlook can easily be modified, in this article, you will learn “How to Turn On/Off Message Preview in Outlook”.

Refer to: Image the yellow portion is additional information that can be expanded or removed by enabling or disenabling the using message preview feature.

Why Does Outlook Mail Say Preview

How To Enable/Disable Message Preview in Outlook?

Some of the user’s dislike mail previews (not even 1 Line, not even 2 Line, and not even 3 Line), they only want senders (from) and subject.

It helps to view the maximum number of unread email messages by scrolling down. Turning off or changing the preview doesn’t require rocket science, Follow the steps below:

  • Open Outlook.
  • Open a specific folder (in which you like to change the message preview).
  • Click View Tab above >> Click Message Preview
How To Enable Disable Message Preview In Outlook

Check out four options, by default one line is selected, and you can change it according to your requirement. Selecting off remove all the additional information of your email message,

Once you change the preview, Outlook changes the preview setting in the dialog box that pops up, click the All-mailboxes button or the This folder button according to your requirement.

change preview setting in

checkout image:


Select 1 Line

Select 2 Line

Select 3 Line

You can check all the sub information disappear and list the email message one by one.

Outlook message preview features not one of the favorites for the users but holds a specific task executor, which comforts the visibility and saves time to find specific mail, searching email by date or any other category, you can set up the message preview first.

How to Change Reading Pane in Outlook?

Reading Pane in Outlook is a helpful tool that allows users to quickly view the contents of emails without having to open them.

By making it easier to scan and read emails, Reading Pane saves users time and allows them to quickly prioritize their tasks. However, many Outlook users are unaware of Reading Pane and how to best utilize it.

In this section, I will explain what Reading Pane is, how to enable it in Outlook, and how it can improve your Outlook experience.

By using Reading Pane, you’ll be able to quickly scan emails and better manage your inbox. With its easy setup, everyone can benefit from Reading Pane and quickly start organizing their emails.

So, if you’re looking for an easy way to view emails without opening them, Reading Pane in Outlook is the perfect tool.

How to Customize/Turn Off Outlook Reading Pane?

You can very easily change the layout of message previews in Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook 2010 for each individual account in case you have multiple accounts added to the Outlook application:

Go to View and click on the Layout section which consists of multiple options every button represents something and changes the layout of the Outlook email folder.

Use Tighter Spacing

The tighter Spacing option simply increased and reduce the spacing between two lines must the users relax with the tighter layout because most all the emails are visible on one page besides increased spacing help users’ eyes to read.

Refer Image Below:

Folder Pane

The folder Pane controls the visibility of the left navigation section which consists of all the email account folders, the user can minimize, and turn it completely OFF, which increases the spacing overall.

By default, the Normal option is selected, under which you can easily check all the folders in the navigation pane.

Minimizing the keep folder pane on the screen allows you to increase the size to normal any time you click on the expander arrow.

Finally, click OFF and remove the section from the screen, the navigation pane in outlook disappeared.

Outlook Reading Pane

By default, the Reading Pane is normally displayed on the right. Click View >> Reading Pane >> Bottom to move it to the bottom of the Message List, check the image how it looks like:

Click >> Reading Pane >> Right to restore it to the top.

In case you click Off, Outlook Disable Reading Pane entirely, to turn it On, either click the right button or double-click on the message you like to read.

Control How the Reading pane marks E-mails as read

The reading pane does more than just display the contents of your message.

It also controls how Outlook marks messages as read and lets you move from one message to another with one keystroke.

Outlook automatically marks a message as read after five seconds, but you can change this by going to View >> Reading Pane and selecting Options.

Mark items as read when view in the Reading Pane

Upon enabling this option, the unread emails will be changed to Read automatically after a certain amount of time has passed since you opened the email in the Reading Pane for the first time. You can select from zero (i.e., it’s marked as read immediately when you select it) to 999 seconds.

Mark item as read when selection changes

Upon enabling this option, the current opening email will be automatically changed from unread to read after you open another email in the Reading Pane as soon as you click on it.

Single key reading using space bar

If you enable this option, you can use the Space Bar to scroll through pages of the currently selected message in the Reading Pane and move to the next email when reaching the end of the current email. And use Shift + Space Bar to return to the previous message.

Turn on automatic full screen reading in portrait orientation

This is an option for tablet users. And when the tablet is in portrait orientation, clicking an email will display it full screen.

Always Preview Message

If this option is turned off, it will display “Select an item to read” in the Reading Pane when you navigate to a folder for the first time after launching Outlook, which is displayed when this option is turned off.

In the Reading Pane, if this option is checked, the most recent message will always be displayed if you navigate between folders and check this option.

Changing the size of the Reading Pane

Adjusting the size of the entire window is very easy you can adjust increase or decrease the zoom level in the Microsoft Outlook reading pane using two methods.

To begin with, you can use the Zoom control at the bottom of the Outlook window to zoom in and out. There is only one message that is affected by zoom changes at a time.

In the second method, when you are in the reading pane, press CTRL on your keyboard while rolling the scroll wheel on your mouse at the same time.

As the wheel is rolled away, the content becomes larger; as the wheel is rolled backward, the content becomes smaller.

To-Do Bar

Apart from all that if you are still comfortable with all the congested arrangements on your screen, you can turn on the visibility of Calendar, Contacts, and Task on your screen as well.

Frankly speaking that massy.

Go to View >> Layout section >> select the to-do bar, and you get three options Calendar, People, and Tasks. Once you select any one of them or altogether, they all appear on the right navigation section of the screen.

You can remove all of them by unchecking or clicking off.

How to Turn Off Message Previews on Outlook Web?

If you are Microsoft Outlook 365 Web user, you can also change the reading pane structure from the right to the button and also turn it off entirely.

Open Outlook web >> Select Settings gear in the upper-right corner of Select View all Outlook settings in the Settings menu from the bottom of the screen.

Select Mail tab >> then Select the Layout tab, and then:

  • Select on the right under Reading Pane if you like to display the reading pane on the right.
  • Select at the bottom under Reading Pane if you like to display the reading pane at the bottom.
  • Select hide reading pane under Reading Pane in case you like to remove the reading pane entirely.

Bonus Tip 1: Break Up Long Messages

Whenever you are reading or composing a message, you can split it horizontally into two panes to make it easier to read.

Ideally, this would be a helpful way to break up long messages to maximize the amount of space available on your display screen.

It is possible to scroll each pane separately when this option is activated.

  • Select your message
  • Press Keyboard Shortcut CTLR+ALT+S while choosing where your message needs to be split.
  • Drag the split bar to your preferred location.

Bonus Tip 2: Normal View vs Reading View

In order to have greater visibility for your messages, you will have to operate in a landscape orientation if you desire increased visibility for your messages.

You can switch to the Reading mode by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the Outlook window.

A simple but fundamental part of the Outlook app is the Reading pane.

This pane offers plenty of useful features that will help you tailor your reading experience in a way that most suits your needs.

There may be a good time to turn it back on if you’ve always turned it off.

This will help you make your workflow a little easier and more efficient. It might be a smart idea to turn it back on if you’ve always turned it off.

Final Words

In conclusion, changing the Outlook Message Preview settings can be a great way to improve your experience with Microsoft Outlook.

It allows you to customize how much of the message content is visible, which can be useful in managing your inbox and identifying important emails.

With just a few clicks, you can make your Outlook experience more efficient and enjoyable.

Also Read:

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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