You spend lots of time in Outlook. So, you want to set it up to support the way that you work. For example, to create more space to see your mail and calendar items, you can hide some elements. Within each view, you can also move, add, remove, or resize columns so that information is presented in the way that you want to see it.
This illustration shows the main elements of the Outlook window.
Customize the toolbar and ribbon
Customize the toolbar
The toolbar can be customized to show icons and text, icons only, or text only.
- On the View menu, click Customize Toolbar.
- On the Show pop-up menu, click the option that you want.
Note To hide the toolbar, on the View menu, click Hide Toolbar.
Minimize or expand the ribbon
You can minimize the ribbon so that only tabs appear.
- On the right side of the ribbon, click .
Tip You can also minimize the ribbon by clicking the active tab.
Customize the navigation pane and view switcher
Hide the navigation pane
- On the View menu, click Navigation Pane.
Tip If you hide the navigation pane, the view switcher is also hidden. To change views while the view switcher is hidden, on the View menu, point to Go To, and then click a view.
Minimize the view switcher
You can minimize the view switcher to make more room in the navigation pane.
- Rest the pointer on the top of the view switcher, and then drag the edge down.
Turn off the unified inbox
By default, the Outlook folder list (folder list: The list of your mail folders visible in the navigation pane, which is the pane on the left side of the main Outlook window. The folder list is only visible in Mail view.) groups similar folders, such as inboxes, from all your mail and Microsoft Exchange accounts. This feature can make it easier to read all your messages at one time, without having to move around between mail folders. If you want, you can turn off this feature so that each account and all its folders are separated in the folder list.
- On the Outlook menu, click Preferences.
- Under Personal Settings, click General .
- Under Folder list, clear the Group similar folders, such as Inboxes, from different accounts check box.
Customize the item list
In the main Outlook window, the item list is the list of messages, contacts, tasks, or notes. By default, the item list is displayed vertically between the navigation pane and the reading pane.
Note The item list is not available for Calendar view.
Change the text size for the item list
- On the Outlook menu, click Preferences.
- Under Personal Settings, click Fonts .
- Under Item lists, on the Font size pop-up menu, click an option.
Change the sort order in the item list
- On the Organize tab, click Arrange By, and then click an option.
Choose columns for the item list
If the reading pane is hidden or positioned below the item list, you can choose the columns you want for the item list. The available columns vary, depending on the type of items in the list.
- On the Organize tab, click Reading Pane, and then make sure that Below or Hidden is selected.
- On the View menu, point to Columns, and then click a column name. Columns in the current view are identified with a check mark.
- In the item list, you can click on a column heading to sort by that column.
- To rearrange the columns, click a column heading, and then drag it to a new position.
- To resize a column, rest the pointer on the right edge of the column header until the pointer changes, and then drag the edge.
Customize the reading pane
The reading pane, sometimes called the preview pane, lets you read items (items: Units of information in Outlook, such as e-mail messages, calendar events, contacts, tasks, and notes.) without opening them. You can customize the reading pane according to your preferences.
Reposition or hide the reading pane
The reading pane can be positioned on the right of the Outlook window, below the item list, or hidden.
- On the Organize tab, click Reading Pane, and then click an option.
- To change the size of the reading pane, rest the pointer on the border between the reading pane and the item list, and then drag the border.
- The reading pane is not available for Calendar view.
Change the size of text for messages in the reading pane.
- At the bottom of the navigation pane (navigation pane: The left pane of the Document Connection for Mac window that displays saved locations and files.), click Mail .
- Click a message, and then on the Format menu, click Increase Font Size or Decrease Font Size.
About organizing in Outlook
Choose a default font for outgoing messages
Change the calendar view
Filter messages or tasks
Arrange and group items