Customize the Navigation Pane

The Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes panes such as Shortcuts or Mail and the shortcuts or folders within each pane. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.) appears in all views by default. You can resize or hide the Navigation Pane and you can also display a minimized version of the Navigation Pane, which uses less screen space. The contents of the Navigation Pane change depending on what view (view: Views give you different ways to look at the same information in a folder by putting it in different arrangements and formats. There are standard views for each folder. You can also create custom views.) you are working in, such as Mail view or Calendar view. Each view offers access to Microsoft Outlook information pertaining to that view, different view choices within the main view (such as Business Cards and Phone List views in Contacts view), and options for accomplishing tasks within that view.

Note You cannot change the font size, color, or type in the Navigation Pane. Windows Magnifier is an option that increases the font size on your computer screen. For more information see Can I change the font in the Navigation Pane?
What do you want to do?


Learn more about the Navigation Pane

The view buttons and commands at the bottom of the Navigation Pane correspond to different views, such as Calendar and Contacts. Depending on the view that you choose, you see a different set of panes, folders, and information. For example, you can display the view buttons in a small or large size  Button image    Button image , and you can add or remove buttons when needed.

You can change the number and size of the view buttons, but you cannot rearrange the individual panes within the Navigation Pane. For example, you cannot rearrange the All Mail Folders pane and the Favorite Folders pane, which are displayed in the Mail pane. Also, you cannot customize the colors or fonts in the panes. However, you can hide the Navigation Pane completely.

Mail pane showing buttons and commands

Callout 1 Navigation Pane
Callout 2 Large buttons used to switch views
Callout 3 Commands for changing the Navigation Pane appearance
Callout 4 Add or remove buttons to make their corresponding views easily available.

To increase space in the Navigation Pane quickly, you can change from large buttons that are displayed vertically at the bottom of the pane to small buttons that are displayed horizontally across the bottom of the pane. Point to the horizontal splitter bar between the folders and the buttons. When the pointer turns into a double-headed arrow Splitter bar, drag the splitter bar up or down. If you drag the horizontal splitter bar to the bottom of the Navigation Pane, all the large buttons are converted to small buttons and appear in a single row at the bottom of the pane.

Top of Page Top of Page

Add or remove buttons in the Navigation Pane

  • At the bottom of the Navigation Pane, click Configure buttons Button image, click Add or Remove Buttons, and then click the button that you want.

 Note   Although you can remove all the buttons from the Navigation Pane and maximize the folder pane space by dragging the horizontal splitter bar to the bottom of the Navigation Pane, it is not possible to remove the row of small buttons at the bottom.

Top of Page Top of Page

Resize the Navigation Pane

  • Point to the right border of the Navigation Pane, and when the pointer becomes a double-headed arrow Icon image, drag the border to the left or right.

Top of Page Top of Page

Change the display order of the buttons

  1. At the bottom of the Navigation Pane, click Configure buttons Button image, and then click Navigation Pane Options.
  2. To rearrange the button order, in the Display buttons in this order list, click the button that you want to change, and then click Move Up or Move Down.

 Note   To restore the default button arrangement, click Reset.

Top of Page Top of Page

Change the number of large and small buttons in the Navigation Pane

  • At the bottom of the Navigation Pane, click Configure buttons Button image, and then click Show More Buttons or Show Fewer Buttons.

 Notes 

  • To quickly see more buttons or folders, point to the horizontal splitter bar between the folders and the buttons, and drag the bar up or down when the pointer turns into a double-headed arrow Icon image. If you drag the horizontal splitter bar to the bottom of the Navigation Pane, all the large buttons are converted to small buttons and appear as a single row of icons at the bottom of the Navigation Pane.
  • To maximize the folder pane space, drag the horizontal splitter bar to the bottom of the Navigation Pane, and then use the small buttons to switch folder panes.
  • To see all your folders, and not just your e-mail folders, change the Folder List button into a large button, and then either move it above the Mail button or remove the Mail button from the Navigation Pane.

Top of Page Top of Page

Minimized Navigation Pane Hide or show the minimized Navigation Pane

You can save space in your Outlook window by using the minimized Navigation Pane. This Pane is a version of the Navigation Pane that collapses into a vertical bar of buttons that still provides access to your most used folders and views. For your convenience, there are several ways to hide or show the minimized Navigation Pane.

 Tip   If you have folders in Favorite Folders (Favorite Folders: A pane located on top of the Navigation Pane that has copies of your Inbox, Sent Items, and so on. You can add, remove, and arrange folders in this pane. Collapse or expand the pane by clicking the arrow in the Favorite Folders header.), you have one-click access to them when you use the minimized Navigation Pane. The number of folders that show as buttons on the minimized Navigation Pane depends on how much vertical space you have for your Navigation Pane. The folder buttons are visible in the order they are listed, from top to bottom, in Favorite Folders.

Hide or show the minimized Navigation Pane

  • In the upper-right corner of the Navigation Pane or minimized Navigation Pane header, click the arrow Button image.

To see your folders in the Navigation Pane from the minimized Navigation Pane, click the Navigation Pane button.

 Note   When you expand the minimized Navigation Pane into the Navigation Pane, the Navigation Pane is reset to the same width as it was previously. If you exit Outlook with the Navigation Pane collapsed into the minimized Navigation Pane, it appears that way when you restart Outlook.

Top of Page Top of Page

Add or remove view buttons in the minimized Navigation Pane

The view buttons that show in the minimized Navigation Pane, such as Mail, Calendar, and Contacts, are the same view buttons that show in the full Navigation Pane view.

Button image    Button image

A large view button appears as a small view button in the minimized Navigation Pane.

 Note   The view buttons are different from the vertical folder buttons in Favorite Folders that also appear in the minimized Navigation Pane. The folder buttons are determined by the amount of vertical space that is available in your Outlook window, and the order in which the folders appear in Favorite Folders. These buttons can be added or removed by adding or removing folders from Favorite Folders.

Add or remove view buttons in the minimized Navigation Pane

  • At the bottom of the minimized Navigation Pane, click Configure buttons Button image, click Add or Remove Buttons, and then click the button that you want.

Top of Page Top of Page

Show or hide the Folder List

For a simpler view of the Mail pane, try using the Folder List (Folder List: Displays the folders available in your mailbox. To view subfolders, click the plus sign (+) next to the folder. If the Folder List is not visible, on the Go menu, click Folder List.) view.

Show the Folder List

  • At the bottom of the Navigation Pane, click Folder List Button image.

Hide the Folder List and go back to the Mail pane view

  • At the bottom of the Navigation Pane, click the Mail button Button image or Mail Button image.

Top of Page Top of Page

Use the Folder List view in the Navigation Pane

In this view, all your folders, including your Inbox folders, remain visible in the Navigation Pane when you switch to other views (view: Views give you different ways to look at the same information in a folder by putting it in different arrangements and formats. There are standard views for each folder. You can also create custom views.), such as Calendar or Contacts. Just click Folder List Button image at the bottom of the Navigation Pane. To go back to the Mail pane view, click the Mail button Button image or Mail Button image at the bottom of the Navigation Pane.

Keep the Folder List as your main view

If you switch to the Folder List view and then exit Outlook, you see the Folder List when you start Outlook again.

 Important   If you want to keep the Folder List as your main view in the Navigation Pane while you are working, do not use the buttons at the bottom of the pane to navigate to other views. To keep the Folder List view while you move around in Outlook, click the appropriate folder, icon, or name in the Folder List itself.

If you click the Calendar button, the Calendar view is displayed in your main Outlook window, but the Navigation Pane is changed back to pane view mode. This resets the Navigation Pane to display the different views in the pane.

Top of Page Top of Page

Remove or minimize Favorite Folders

Favorite Folders provides a convenient way to keep your most frequently used folders visible at the top of the Navigation Pane. You determine the contents of the Favorite Folders list by choosing which folders to include. If you don't want to use the Favorite Folders pane or wish to make more space in the main Navigation pane, you can use one of the following options.

  • Reduce the size of the Favorite Folders list by removing individual folders from the list.
  • Minimize the Favorite Folders pane beneath the header.
  • Turn off the Favorite Folders pane
Folder buttons on the minimized Navigation Pane

 Tip    In the minimized Navigation Pane, the folders listed in Favorite Folders appear as vertical buttons, making them available there as well. The vertical buttons displayed depend on the vertical space available in your Outlook window and the arrangement of the folders in the Favorite Folders list. You can use Favorite Folders to customize the minimized Navigation Pane.

Choose any of the following:


Remove folders from the Favorite Folders list

You can remove any or all of the individual folders from the Favorite Folders list to reduce both the length of the list and the size of the pane.

  1. In Favorite Folders, right-click the folder that you want to remove, and then click Remove from Favorite Folders on the shortcut menu.
  2. Repeat step 1 for each folder that you want to remove.

 Notes 

  • Folders in Favorite Folders must be removed individually.
  • Removing folders from Favorite Folders does not remove them from the All Mail Folders list.

Minimize the Favorite Folders pane

  • In the Favorite Folders header, click the arrow Open or close heading.

Use the arrows to open and close Favorite Folders

To expand the pane, click the arrow Open or close the folder list again.

You can minimize and expand Favorite Folders as needed, making your folders available when you want them, and keeping them out of the way when you don't.


Turn off Favorite Folders

Turning on or off Favorite Folders does not affect the folders in the list. If you have folders listed in Favorite Folders when you turn the feature off, those folders are there when you turn it back on again.

  • On the View menu, point to Navigation Pane, and click Favorite Folders to remove the check mark.

Click Favorite Folders again to turn the feature back on.

Top of Page Top of Page

 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2007