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How Do I Turn On the Outlook 2007 Reading Pane?

Subscriber Mike Gallagher wrote recently with an Outlook 2007 problem:

Hi Terry,

It is I again.

So far I have not had any lick with the Win XP, SP-3 install, even following your suggestions. Still trying however. I will keep you informed.

However, a "worse" situation has developed. My settings for viewing my emails in outlook have gotten set to something I did not deliberately do. I used to be able to see the entire message on the right side of the Outlook window.

Now I just see a listing of the email messages in a status line with all sorts of details about the message, but I have to click on the message to open it in a new window to read it. I thought I would just hit the reset to default button, and all wood be well. Now I cannot find the button!! Running Outlook 2007 in Windows 7, 64 bit.

Ain’t technology wonderful!!


Mike G.

The "problem" is that, somehow, Mike has managed to hide the Outlook 2007 preview panel.

I put problem in quotes because many people turn off the preview panel for security reasons. When you use the preview window to view a message, you have the same effect as opening an email.

The big problem in opening an email or using the preview panel, though, was solved in Outlook 2007. By default, Outlook 2007 will not display remote content. It will block the loading of images and 0-pixel image files that are used to confirm that an email was opened. Of course, it allows the user to open the remote content by clicking on a link that Outlook will display.

The other "fix" has been in Outlook for a number of versions. You can actually turn off the preview window, which Outlook calls the Reading Pane. That seems to be what Mike has done.

You can turn the Reading Pane on via the Outlook menu bar.

  • First, select the Mail display (not Calendar, Contacts or Tasks).
  • Then, from the Menu Bar, left-click on View.
  • Hover over the entry Reading Pane. This will make a fly-out menu display of the Reading Pane options.
  • From the available options of Right, Bottom and Off, select Right.

How do you turn off the Outlook 2007 Reading Pane? Just go through the same process, but select Off.

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