Outlook 2007 - Reading Pane Automatically Downloads First/Topmost Message

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Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account

In the past, experts warned email client users about the preview/reading pane in desktop clients (perhaps esp. Outlook Express), because of it automatically downloading messages thus viewed bringing all sorts of spyware, malware & viruses with it.

Well, I'm not sure how things are these days with regard to reading/preview pane security, but I tend to want to avoid automatically having messages downloaded. With Thunderbird, Mailbird and many other desktop clients, when new mail is detected in an IMAP account, only the header will show, even if there's only one message in the Inbox. You must click on that message to have it downloaded to the client for viewing in the reading pane. But with my Outlook 2007 (on Windows 7 Pro 64-bit) the first/topmost (or only) message in my Fastmail IMAP Inbox is automatically displayed in the Reading Pane.

I know I can turn off the reading pane and just use the Auto-Preview function to get an idea if I want to view/download the message. But I've been trying to find if there's an option in Outlook to prevent the message from automatically downloading, so I can turn Auto-preview off and use the Reading Pane in the Inbox without concern in this matter (in case the first message happens to be a spam or otherwise dangerous email to download).

Btw, I do have the account set to download headers only (not entire message & attachments). But that hasn't stopped this behavior of auto-downloading & displaying the first message in the Inbox.

Any suggestions/comments appreciated. :)


Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Wow! You must set records for the quickest response time! Thanks!

Just for the sake of precision, I'm not really referring to my "selecting" an IMAP message. When Outlook starts up and automatically checks mail at my FastMail IMAP account, whether there's only one new message or several, Outlook will 'select' the topmost one and download & display it in the Reading Pane all on its own, without my doing anything.

But I won't worry about it, based on what you said about the Reading Pane being safe. :)

And thanks for the link! I did do a search myself at the slipstick site for Reading Pane informtion, but I must not have done it correctly, since I didn't see the result you linked to. But even if I had found that page, I still would have been curious about the auto-displaying of the topmost message. ;)

Thanks again!

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
Sometimes I'm quick, sometimes I'm slow. :)

Right - it's just that the message is selected, the reading pane doesn't care who selected it. :) If you leave outlook open, it should stay on the last selected item, not the newest downloaded item. When Outlook is first opened it always defaults to the top of your inbox.
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