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

Here’s a question from a reader:

I am using 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 read as well… This makes it difficult for me to follow up on my email and take action. Now the question is the following: is there a way 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 your tips.

Thanks for the question.

Stop marking unread in Windows

You can set Outlook to not mark messages as read in Windows by following this procedure:

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


  1. Hit the OK button
  2. That will do the trick

Keeping mails unread on MAC

To keep messages as unread in MAC, proceed as following:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook for MAC.
  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 comment in case of any questions.


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