The Outlook Reading Pane

The Reading Pane is an essential Outlook tool.  To many, this may seem like an optional item, but I would recommend having the Reading Pane enabled at all times.  What is the purpose of the Reading Pane?  The Reading Pane allows you to see the contents of an e-mail before you open it, enabling you to delete suspicious e-mails and prevent the launch of any associated virus.  Once you have double clicked an e-mail and opened it, if there is a bug in it, you’ve got the bug!  You can view the contents of an e-mail from within the Reading Pane by simply clicking the e-mail once with your left mouse.  This selects the e-mail only and does not open it, allowing you to safely view the contents from within the Reading Pane. 

The Reading Pane can be shown either below or to the right of the Mail view.  You can also adjust the size of the Reading Pane by clicking the dividing margin once with your left mouse, holding your left mouse down and dragging until you have re-sized the Reading Pane.

To Enable the Reading Pane in Outlook 2007

  • From the Mail view, click the View Menu
  • Click Reading Pane once with your left mouse
  • Select Right or Bottom from the drop down menu that appears
  • The Reading Pane will be enabled

To Enable the Reading Pane in Outlook 2010 and 2013

  • From the Mail View, click the View Tab
  • Select the Layout Group
  • Click the down arrow on the Reading Pane Button
  • Select Right or Bottom
  • The Reading Pane will be enabled

The Reading Pane also contains another great security feature that actually allows you to view the contents of an attachment before you open the e-mail.  To view the contents of an e-mail attachment from within the Reading Pane:

  • Select the e-mail (one left mouse click)
  • View the contents of the e-mail from the Reading Pane
  • Right Click the attachment from within the Reading Pane
  • The Reading Pane will display a standard security warning and enable the Preview Button
  • Click the Preview Button located within the Reading Pane
  • The contents of the e-mail attachment will be displayed

Next time you are in Outlook, consider using these essential tools to enhance your security when working in your Inbox.

This entry was posted in: MS Outlook Tips.
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