How do i stop Outlook 2016, 2019 / 365 marking my previewed emails as read?

Here’s a question from a reader:

I am using Microsoft Outlook 365. I have noticed that after i click on a specific email entry in the Outlook Mail tab and open it for reading, Outlook naturally mark it as read. What’s annoying is that i have noticed that items that i view in the Reading Pane are shown as being read as well… This makes it difficult for me to follow up on my email and take the required action. Now the question is the following: is there a way to modify the read / unread settings to keep my messages marked as unread in Outlook unless i explicitly set them as read (by making a right click and selecting Mark as Read). Thanks in advance for any tips.

Thanks for the question. Here we go with the answer (covering both Windows and macOS)

Stop marking unread on Windows

You can follow this procedure to turn off the single click read feature, so that Outlook will not mark messages as read:

  1. First off, go ahead an open Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Next, go ahead and hit File, then select Options.
  3. Select the Mail tab.
  4. Now, navigate to the Outlook panes section.
  5. Now, go ahead and  hit the Reading Panes button.
  6. In the opened dialog , go ahead and uncheck the first box as shown below.


  1. When done, hit the OK button.
  2. That will do the trick!

Note: There is another interesting setting in the Reading Pane, which allows you to mark items as read when selecting different items in your Inbox. The setting is not checked by default.

Keeping mails unread on macOS

To configure Outlook to stop “opening” your email automatically and marking your previewed email as read kindly follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook for macOS.
  2. From the top menu, select Outlook.
  3. Now hit Preferences and select Reading.
  4. In the Mark Email as Read section, select “Only when opened in separate window”
  5. Hit OK and that’s pretty much it.

Kindly leave us a quick comment in case of any questions.


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