Killing reading pane - "globally"

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Outlook version
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I don't care for the Reading Pane feature. I chews up valuable real estate, etc. So, I'd like to kill it. I note that once it's turned off in the main Inbox, it reappears on other folders. Is there not a way to globally shut it down? There doesn't appear to be but maybe someone knows of a slick trick ...
This seems to be the roust answer but I can't get it to work:

[h=3]Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane by Default at Startup[/h]Turn Off the Outlook Reading Pane by Default at Startup To disable Outlook's preview pane for all folders (regardless of account type, default views or folder settings) at start-up:

  • Open the folder that contains OUTLOOK.EXE in Windows Explorer.
    • A typical location for Outlook 2007 is "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE".
    • If you cannot find Outlook at this or a similar (say, "Office11" for Outlook 2003) location, try searching for "OUTLOOK.EXE".
  • Open the Start or Windows menu.
  • Click on All Programs with the right mouse button.
  • Select Explore from the menu that comes up.
  • Drag and drop OUTLOOK.EXE from its folder to the Programs folder inside the start menu folder.
  • Double-click the Programs folder to which you have just dragged Outlook.
  • Click on OUTLOOK - Shortcut with the right mouse button.
  • Select Properties from the menu.
  • Go to the Shortcut tab.
  • Append " /nopreview" (not including the quotation marks) to what is in the Target: field.
    • Note the white-space character.
    • If the Target: field contains "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE", for example, make sure it reads '"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /nopreview' (not including the outer quotation marks) after editing.
  • Optionally, go to the General tab and change the shortcut's name from the default OUTLOOK - Shortcut.
  • Click OK.
  • Make sure you use the newly created All Programs entry to launch Outlook with the reading pane turned off for all folders.

None of my Shortcuts list a target (the field is blank).
That should work for Outlook 2003...

What shortcut do you use to open Outlook? You can edit that shortcut and add the switch to it - it probably has /recycle switch, which you can replace with nopreview. (or you can copy the shortcut)

I'll double check, but I thought Outlook 2003 has an option to turn off the reading pane globally without a switch. It's been awhile since I used it, so i could be forgetful. I'll check on it though.
Thanks for your reply. My 1st line, btw, was supposed to be:

This seems to be the robust answer but I can't get it to work:

My Outlook shortcut is stored in the Shortcuts folder. I display it on my Desktop. I have attached a window that shows its proerties and, as you will see, there is no target to which to add " /nopreview"

This is frankly a bit surprising as I thought all shortcuts listed the target (pathway to the exe).

Any more thoughts?


  • Outlook Shortcut Properties.jpg
    Outlook Shortcut Properties.jpg
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That is the start menu shortcut? I thought the quick launch one had the path - but its been awhile since i looked the older versions on winxp.

Try this - close outlook. Use windows key + R to open the run command and type or paste

outlook.exe /nopreview

and press enter. Does it disable the preview pane?
Actually, I don;t have the Windows key. I did Start | Run

I pasted in your string and it took me to the Outlook login. I launched Outlook and voila! No Reading Pane !!!!! Woo-Hoo!


(preferably the easy way)
Actually, it seems to be "permanent" for my "main" (original) Outlook account. But for the one I added recently (for my personal e-mail ported fromOE6), the Reading Panes are still there. What a pane!
It's just imported into a pst file, correct, not an IMAP account? I know changing views on imap accounts doesn't always stick. If the switch didn't turn the pane off on the imported folders you'll need to turn it off one folder at a time.

BTW, what is the reason you don't want to use the preview pane? The pane is actually as secure as opening mail, so if security is your only reason for turning it off, its not necessary.

How Safe is the Reading Pane? - Slipstick Systems
• As to my reason, as I said initially:

It chews up valuable real estate, etc.

• All my Outlook accounts are POP3 (no IMAP).

• It appears that your Start | Run Outlook.exe /nopreview "permanently" did the trick for the Main Outlook account.

• My 2nd account was created via export from OE6. I understand you to say that the same trick above will/can not work for the 2nd account. I therefore must shut down the Reading Pane folder by folder in the 2nd account. Do I have any of this right?

• IMHO, this is a huge functionality oversight by Microsoft. Indeed and for absolute sure, there should be an Options setting for each Outlook account to globally turn Reading Pane off or on. Period. Can I get an amen?
I missed that in the initial post (or, more correctly, didn't go back to re-read it).

The switch *should* apply to the entire profile, not per account or per pst it does here. I opened 2 additional pst files in an outlook 2003 profile and all 3 have the reading pane off. Using this method, i need to start Outlook with the /nopreview switch every time - it doesn't switch the pane off permanently.

Try this: restart Outlook with the cleanviews switch. Run > outlook.exe /cleanviews. Then go to view menu and find the Define views command. Select Messages view, modify. In other settings, set reading pane to off. Apply the view. Because you changed the default, it should apply to all folders using the view.

It's the same method as here: Disable the Group By View in Outlook - Outlook Tips
Re: Killing reading pane - "globally": SUCCESS!

Thanks Diane. First a little clarification. When I say "2nd Account", I mean 2nd profile with an account in it. I now have 2 profiles and 2 accounts (the original Outlook profile and its account and the one I created by porting the OE6 messages).

Per your latest suggestion, what I did was this:

With Outlook closed (better procedure?), I ran outlook.exe /cleanviews to (as I understand it) reset all the stuff I did yesterday (Start | Run Outlook.exe /nopreview, etc.). I relaunched the 2nd Profile/account (the one that had the myriad of Reading Panes) and confirmed that, indeed, all the #@%*#$ reading panes reappeared.

Then I did:

View | Arrange By | Current View | Define Views and highlighted Messages. I then clicked Modify, which then displayed the Customize View: Messages window. I clicked Group By which launched another dialog window. In this dialog, I unchecked Automatically group according to arrangement

I believe this choice effectively causes Outlook to apply view changes globally, which was the main objective.

I OK'd out of there and made sure View | Reading Pane was turned Off. I then noted that, Voila! - all folders and subfolders displayed NO Reading Panes. I'm stoked! :D

I essentially followed this article you posted (which was very helpful):

Disable the Group By View in Outlook - Outlook Tips

I feel like I just gave birth and through all this, I learned way more than I ever wanted to about Outlook configuration. But I really appreciate your help, Diane. When I comes Outlook, you really are smarter than the average bear. ;)
Re: Killing reading pane - "globally": SUCCESS!

When I say "2nd Account", I mean 2nd profile with an account in it.

Ah... yes, that makes sense now. I was thinking 1 profile, 2 pst files.

Thanks for the compliment and I was glad to help. Outlook can be overwhelming and frustrating but it also can do so much too. :)
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