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MS Outlook: Read in the Reading Pane from Top to Bottom and Back Again

Many of us have our Inbox view set up so that it includes the Reading Pane.


It’s definitely a time saver – you can read your messages without actually opening them into their own window allowing you to read multiple messages without having the inconvenience associated with all those separate windows to open and close and close and close.

Oh, and don’t get me started on all the mouse work it takes to make all that happen…

You get the picture.

If you use the Reading Pane then you are already avoiding the open and close windows routine – but what about the mouse work?

Are you using the mouse to scroll through the message if it’s longer than the visible portion?

Do you use the mouse to switch from message to message?

If so then here’s a good trick for using the reading pane more efficiently… in fact, it’s so efficient that you don’t even need to use the mouse!

Start by using the up and down arrow keys to select a message.

Once the Reading Pane loads to the selected message simple use the Space Bar to advance one Reading Pane screen size down.

Continue reading using the Space Bar whenever you’re ready to advance again.

Next question: When you need to move back up through the message do you use the mouse and vertical scroll bar or the up arrow key?

Trick question – the best answer is neither!

The up arrow key will only select the message above the current one, definitely not your intention, and the scroll bar thing will work but aren’t we trying to avoid using the mouse?

Next time you need to back track through the Reading Pane try Shift + Space Bar.

This key combination will move back up through the message one Reading Pane screen size.

When done use the arrow keys to change messages and start all over again.

~ April