How to Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane by Default?

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How to Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane by Default?

How to Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane by Default?

How to Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane by Default?

Outlook’s Reading (Preview) Pane

You can preview Microsoft Outlook items without opening them by using the Reading Pane. You can also customize the Reading Pane according to your preferences. You can have Outlook show you mail without the preview reading pane by default.

Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane If You Like

What is it about Outlook and its reading pane?

That reading, or preview pane is nice and pretty and helpful, but perhaps you prefer not to have a one.

The View menu lets you turn off the Reading Pane easily (for the current folder only), and only for that session. To turn the reading pane off in every folder, you have to manually turn it off in each.

Outlook lets you turn the off by default and for all folders. You even have more than one flexible option to achieve that.

How to Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane by Default

To disable the reading pane in the default folder views make sure you are in a local or IMAP Inbox folder. Outlook uses different default views for POP and IMAP accounts. If you want to change both, do the process once for each kind of account.

In Outlook 2016

  • Select Manage Views from the menu.
  • Click Change Views.
  • Make sure the View ribbon is active.

In Outlook 2007

  • Select View | Current View | Define Views… from the menu.

Then (for both)

  1. Highlight Messages or IMAP Messages.
  2. Click Modify….
  3. Now click Other Settings….
  4. Make sure Off is selected under Reading Pane.
  1. Click OK.
  2. Click OK again.
    • You can now change the Reading Pane setting for other views as well, of course. Remember that IMAP accounts use a different default message view (called IMAP Messages only accessible from an IMAP account.
  3. Click Close.

It is possible for software updates or Outlook add-ons to reset the default folder views to their factory settings (with the preview pane enabled).

Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane by Default at Startup

To disable Outlook’s preview pane for all folders (regardless of account type, default views or folder settings) at start-up:

  1. Open the folder that contains OUTLOOK.EXE in Windows Explorer.
    • A typical location for Outlook 2007 is “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE“.
    • If you cannot find Outlook at this or a similar (say, “Office11” for Outlook 2003) location, try searching for “OUTLOOK.EXE“.
  2. Open the Start or Windows menu.
  3. Click on All Programs with the right mouse button.
  4. Select Explore from the menu that comes up.
  5. Drag and drop OUTLOOK.EXE from its folder to the Programs folder inside the start menu folder.
  6. Double-click the Programs folder to which you have just dragged Outlook.
  7. Click on OUTLOOK – Shortcut with the right mouse button.
  8. Select Properties from the menu.
  9. Go to the Shortcut tab.
  10. Append ” /nopreview” (not including the quotation marks) to what is in the Target: field.
    • Note the white-space character.
    • If the Target: field contains “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE, for example, make sure it reads ‘”C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE” /nopreview’ (not including the outer quotation marks) after editing.
  1. Optionally, go to the General tab and change the shortcut’s name from the default OUTLOOK – Shortcut.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Make sure you use the newly created All Programs entry to launch Outlook with the reading pane turned off for all folders.

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