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How to customize the Outlook checkbox



View reading window -a.a.a. Preview Panel – Displays the text of a message you have chosen, preventing you from opening the current message to work with it. Here's how to customize the box to your needs.

Outlook comes with several different boxes, including those you see by default ̵

1; the navigation window, for example – and others that you may not interfere with much like doing and people are moving. Each of these is designed to make it easier to find, view, and manage things in Outlook. We'll take a look at these boxes through multiple articles, so you can access, work with, and customize them. And we start with the reading window.

The reading box is enabled by default. When you click on a message in a folder, the box contains the contents of this message along with basic controls to reply and forward the message.

By default, Outlook displays the browser box to the right of the folders and messages, but you can change it by going to View> Box.

Your options are to change the position to "Bottom" (so Outlook shows the box under messages) or "Off" that hide the checkbox. These options apply to the reading window regardless of which folder you are in, so you can not set a different position setting for different folders.

If you set the box to "Bottom", you will see fewer messages in the folder, but you will see more information about this message and more of the contents of the checkbox. This was the traditional view before the introduction of widescreen displays, and many still favor it.

Setting the box to "Off" maximizes the number of items you can see in the folder, but you do not see any of the email content. This is a useful option if you clear mail, especially if you use it in conjunction with the View> Message Preview feature.

In default folder view, message preview is turned off. This means that you only see the information displayed in the columns of the To-From, From, Subject, Received, and so on. However, if you set up message preview to 1 line, 2 lines or 3 lines, you also see 1, 2 or 3 lines of content in each message without having to read the window. Some people love this attitude; Some think it's too messy. You have to experiment with it to see what you think.

RELATED: Create and customize a folder view in Outlook

But the browser does more than display the content of your message. It also determines how Outlook marks messages read and allows you to move through your single-key messages. By default, Outlook selects an email as "read" after you spend five seconds with the selected, but you can change it by going to View> Reading mode and selecting "Options."

Of course, this is Outlook, there are other ways to access these options. You can also go to File> Options> Email> Reading Mode (or Advanced> Read Mode) to open the same option.

Anyway, you choose reading windows will be displayed.

Out of the box, Outlook will see "Mark items read when it appears in the box" after five seconds. You can change this time to anything from zero (that is, it is labeled as read immediately when you select it) to 999 seconds. If you want Outlook to wait more than a few seconds, you may prefer the other option, Select item as read when the selection changes. This is either or a situation: You can tell Outlook to mark items that are read after a certain amount of time, or you can tell Outlook to mark items that are read when moving to another object, but not both.

The next option, "Simple Keypad with Spacebar" is really useful if you want to navigate with the keyboard. When you reach a message that is longer than the reading window can be displayed, you can switch the spacebar to move down a page in that message. When you reach the end of the message, the hit bar moves to the next message. This works well in combination with the up and down arrows to navigate in the folder. They allow you to move through the folder, and the space bar allows you to move through the selected message.

Finally, "Turn on automatic full reading in portrait orientation". This is for tablet users, and if it is turned on when your surf platform is in portrait orientation, click a message to minimize the navigation window, hide the reading window and display the selected message with the full screen. This does not work if you select the message with the up and down arrows or space bar only if you select the message with the touchpad / mouse or finger.

If you do not work in portrait orientation and you want a little more screen capabilities to view your messages, you can switch to reading mode by clicking the icon at the bottom of the Outlook window.

This minimizes all other pinned panels, Navigation, Tweaks, and People – so you can focus on your messages. You can view the boxes again by clicking the Normal icon.

The Reader can also help you read messages that are smaller than regular fonts, or if, as we sometimes did, you have left your reading glasses at home. Use the Zoom control at the bottom of the reading window to increase the size of the content (or less if it's too big).

You can also zoom by holding Ctrl while using the scroll wheel on the mouse. This works by message, so if you increase the size of a message, the zoom level in the next message you choose will still be 100%.

None of these options will work if View> Reading box is set to "Off" dock. They only work if the browser box is set to "Right" or "Bottom."


The Read Box is a simple but basic part of the Outlook app with many useful features that help you shape your reading experience as you like. If you've traditionally shut down, it may be good to turn it on again and see if it can help you make your workflow a little more comfortable and efficient.


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