How do I enable or disable the Microsoft Outlook preview pane?

To enable or disable the e-mail message Preview Pane, also known as the Reading Pane, in the Microsoft Outlook software program and the Outlook.com online e-mail service, follow the steps below.

Note: This page only refers to the "Preview Pane" or "Reading Pane" feature in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook.com mail, not the "Outlook Mail (Preview)" version of Outlook.com. If you have Outlook Mail (Preview), according to Microsoft, there is no way to revert back to the previous version of Outlook.com. Please contact Microsoft support for more details and help.

Microsoft Outlook

The steps below are for the Microsoft Outlook software program that is installed on a computer. Keep in mind these steps may vary slightly depending on the version of Outlook you are using.

Enable

  1. Open the Microsoft Outlook program.
  2. Click the View menu or tab at the top of the program window.
  3. Click on the Reading Pane or Preview Pane option.
  4. Select the Right or Bottom option, depending on where you want the Preview Pane displayed.

Microsoft Outlook Preview Pane

Above is an example image of what the Microsoft Outlook Preview Pane looks like when enabled. The Preview Pane in this example is displayed under the e-mail listing and it displays the e-mail message currently selected.

Disable

  1. Open the Microsoft Outlook program.
  2. Click the View menu or tab at the top of the program window.
  3. Click on the Reading Pane or Preview Pane option.
  4. Select the Off option.

Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail)

The steps below are for the Outlook.com (previously known as Hotmail) online e-mail service, available through an Internet browser.

Enable

  1. Log in to your Outlook.com e-mail account.
  2. Click the gear icon to the left of your name, in the blue menu bar, in the upper right corner (displayed in the picture below as a white gear icon in the blue menu bar at the top right corner).
  3. Select the Options option.
  4. Under the Reading email section, click the Reading pane option.
  5. Select the Right or Bottom option, depending on where you want the Reading Pane, and click the Save button.

Outlook.com Reading Pane

Above is an example image of what the Outlook.com e-mail Reading Pane looks like when enabled. The Reading Pane in this example is displayed to the right of the e-mail listing and it displays the e-mail message currently selected.

Disable

  1. Log in to your Outlook.com e-mail account.
  2. Click the gear icon to the left of your name, in the blue menu bar, in the upper right corner (displayed in the picture above as a white gear icon in the blue menu bar at the top right corner).
  3. Select the Options option.
  4. Under the Reading email section, click the Reading pane option.
  5. Select the Off option and click the Save button.

Additional information