Outlook 2007: Configure How Messages Are Marked as Read When Viewed in Reading Pane

Posted April 13, 2009 by Rob Rogers in Microsoft Outlook

By default, Outlook marks items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane whenever the selection changes. You can turn this functionality off, or have Outlook wait a certain amount of time before marking the item as read. I use the latter method, setting Outlook to wait 60 seconds. That way, if I view a message that is going to take too long to read, I can move on to other messages without having the item marked as read. I will then go back to it later when I have more time to view it.

1. Open Outlook.

2. Go to the Menu bar, click Tools and select Options.

3. Select the Other tab.

4. Go to the Outlook Panes section and click the Reading Pane button.

5. If you wish to prevent Outlook from automatically marking items as read, uncheck the Mark item as read when selection changes checkbox.

To set Outlook to wait a certain amount of time before marking the item as read, check the Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane checkbox and input the desired amount of seconds into the textbox. I use 60 seconds as the value I wish Outlook to use. This allows me to manage my time reading emails, letting me review emails and leave the longer ones for a later time.

6. Click the OK button.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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  • nick

    thanks, exactly what i needed. I knew the functionality existed and what i wanted to set it to but i didn’t know how

  • Coladrikkeren

    Hi there… Is there any way to change the direction of the next email when marking an email as read with spacebar?
    Normally it goes from top to bottom while marking the mails read, but is there a way to change this so it goes from bottom to top when marking mails read with spacebar?

    • anon

      Shift+Spacebar Like in excel shift plus whatever button you are using reverses the direction you’ll move (eg. Shift+tab moves to the left one cell)

  • mrs

    Thanks for timely help, I know how to do however i for now. with your help i can able recall the same.

    Thanks lot

  • wolf

    this indeed fixed my problem and i was looking for it for a long time. thanks alot for your post

  • Jennifer

    Thanks so much. This was the exact information I was searching for.

  • Tammy

    i turned this feature off but unticking this, then yesterday it turned back on somehow, does anyone know how it would have turned back on? maybe via a keyboard shortcut or soemthing??