How to Enable Email Previews on Outlook

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Using the preview option in Microsoft Outlook is a good way to have a quick overview of your emails without actually opening each one. Because spam infiltrates email accounts even when spam filters are set, the preview makes it possible to pick and choose which ones you will open and which ones you will delete. Besides reading the content of a message, you can also open attachments and hyperlinks in this view.

  • Click "Reading Pane" in the "View" menu, then select from three choices: "Right," "Bottom" and "Off." Choose the view you prefer, right or bottom, and click it.

  • Resize the pane, if desired. In Right Pane view, drag the left edge to make it wider or narrower. In the Bottom View drag the top edge to make it higher or lower.

  • Click "Auto Preview" in the View menu for a view of only the first three lines of each message. The text appears immediately under each of the emails. You can also do this for Sent and Drafts, but each one has to be turned on separately.

  • Click "Current View" in the View menu to choose to see messages from the past seven days, which can include unread messages, auto preview messages and more.

  • Preview an attachment in a reading pane by double-clicking the attachment. Content that has been embedded in attachments such as scripts, macros and Active X controls are disabled during a preview.

  • Return to the message after previewing an attachment by clicking the "Message" button next to the attachments.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the type of preview that works for you. Some people prefer to click each message and see it in its entirety in the reading pane; others prefer to see a bit of each message without clicking anything (Auto Preview).
  • There are now several versions of Outlook. Instructions might be slightly different for your version.
  • You cannot open .RFT document attachments in the Preview pane. In general, only attached documents for which you have the software on your computer will open properly. In other words, if you have Word '97-2003 and the attachment is .DocX, it will not be readable.
  • Only open attachments from senders you know or trust to avoid inadvertently downloading a virus or malware.
  • Always have an active virus detection program on your computer.
  • If you have changed modes in the View menu and want to go back to a reading pane, you may have to click that choice to turn it on again.

References

  • Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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