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How to Fix the Outlook Reading Pane when it Disappears

by Joe Tracy, Publisher of
Several people have been experiencing problems with Outlook's reading pane. The reading pane in Outlook allows you to preview email messages when you select an email subject header.

The widest reported problem is that there is a crash in Outlook. When the person restarts Outlook, the reading pane (email preview window) has disappeared altogether and is no longer working. The problem is frustrating because you now have to double click an email and open it to see what it says. When you deal with a lot of spam, this drastically increases the time it takes to go through your email messages. With the reading pane, you don't have to open an email message, because just selecting the subject shows a preview, making it quick to delete if the message is spam or one you don't need.

The problem with Outlook crashing and then opening without the reading pane is sometimes contributed to an Add-In conflict (like an Adobe add-in) or just a problem with Outlook and Vista in general.

Luckily there is a way to get your reading pane back. What happened is that when Outlook crashed, it disabled (deleted) your reading pane so that it no longer works when you open Outlook. However, you can re-enable it and all will be good. Here's how...

How to Get Your Outlook Reading Pane to Show Again:

Step 1: Open Outlook.

Step 2: Go to the Tools menu and select "Trust Center".

Step 3: Select Add-Ins.

Step 4: There is a scroll down menu near the bottom of this screen to the right of the work "manage:". Select this scroll down window and highlight Disabled Items.

Step 5: Click the "Go" button.

Step 6: Click on "Reading Pane" then click "Enable".

Step 7: Click the "Close" button.

Step 8: Click the "OK" button.

Step 9: Close Outlook

Step 10: Reopen Outlook and your Reading Pane will be back!

That's it! You now should have your Reading Pane back with no problems. If you don't - or if you have a different problem - email our team via with an outline of your problem and we'll work to add another fix here for you.

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