How to stop Outlook from automatically marking emails as read?

Generally speaking, when you switch unread emails in the mailing list with the Reading Pane turning on, the emails will be marked as Read automatically. Sometimes, you may just want to switch emails but not read them. In this article, I will introduce the solution to stop Outlook from automatically marking email as Read when you clicking them in the mail list.

Stop Outlook from automatically marking emails as read


Stop Outlook from automatically marking emails as read

To stop Outlook from automatically marking emails as read when switching them in the mail list, you need to change the options of Reading Pane.

1. In the Mail view, click View > Reading Pane > Options. See screenshot:

2. In the Reading Pane dialog box, please uncheck both Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane and Mark items as read when selection changes options. See screenshot:

Note: Alternatively, you can also specify the options as follows: (1) check the Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane option, (2) enter the average time you spend on reading an email, and (3) uncheck the Mark item as read when selection changes option. See screenshot:

3. Click the OK button to save the changes.

From now on, when you switch unread emails in the mails list with the Reading Pane turning on, these emails will not be marked as Read automatically.


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Gianluca · 3 months ago
    Thanks a lot, super helpful.
    I overlooked tons of e-mails because of this default setting.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    pfotis · 5 months ago
    I changed the settings as described - uncheck Mark as read when viewed in Reading Pane, and uncheck Mark as read when selection changes - but the messages are STILL changing to not-bold after several minutes. HELP?!?!?!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Paul Fotis · 5 months ago
    I changed the settings as described - uncheck Mark as read when viewed in Reading Pane, and uncheck Mark as read when selection changes - but the messages are STILL changing to not-bold after several minutes. HELP?!?!?!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    guest · 9 months ago
    That was very helpful. Outlook has been driving me crazy with the default setting.