Change the Navigation Pane appearance

The buttons and commands at the bottom of 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.) correspond to different views, such as Calendar and Contacts. You get a different set of panes, folders, and information depending on which view you choose. You can arrange the size and appearance of these buttons and panes to prioritize access to the information you need most often.

ShowWhat are the buttons in the Navigation Pane?

These buttons are located at the bottom of the Navigation Pane and each corresponds to a different view in Outlook, such as Calendar or Contacts. You can use either large or small buttons. Use these buttons to quickly switch to the different views as you work. You can also add or remove the buttons.
Button image      Button image

Examples of the small and large Mail buttons.

Below, you can find out more about how to customize the appearance and functions of the Navigation Pane and learn how to make specific changes.

Change Navigation Pane appearance

Use the Folder List view in the Navigation Pane

Add or remove buttons in the Navigation Pane

Change the display order of the buttons

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

Resize the Navigation pane

Reduce the size of the Favorite Folders pane

Show or hide the Folder List

Change the Navigation Pane appearance

You can change the number and size of buttons displayed at the bottom of the Navigation Pane, but you cannot rearrange the panes within it, such as the All Mail Folders pane and the Favorite Folders pane displayed in the Mail pane. You also cannot customize the colors or fonts in the panes. You can however, hide the Navigation Pane completely.

Mail Pane showing buttons and commands

Callout 1 Navigation Pane

Callout 2 Large buttons used to switch panes

Callout 3 Commands for changing the Navigation Pane appearance

Callout 4 Add buttons to or remove buttons from the Navigation Pane to make their corresponding views easily available

For a quick way to increase space in the Navigation Pane, you can change from large buttons displayed vertically at the bottom of the pane to small buttons displayed horizontally across the bottom of the pane. Place your pointer over the horizontal splitter bar between the folders and the buttons. When the pointer turns into a double-headed arrow Icon image, you can drag the splitter bar up or down. If you drag the horizontal splitter bar to the bottom of the Navigation Pane, all of the large buttons will convert to small buttons and appear in a single row of icons at the bottom of the pane.

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Use the Folder List view in the Navigation Pane

For a simpler view of the Mail pane, one without the Favorite Folders 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. Just click Button image at the bottom of the Navigation Pane. To go back to Mail pane view, click the large 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 Folder List view and close Outlook, when you open Outlook again, you will see the Folder list.

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

If you click the Calendar button, you will go to the Calendar view in your main Outlook window, but you will also change the Navigation Pane back to "module" mode. This resets the Navigation Pane to display the different module views in the pane.

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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 you want.

 Note   Although you can remove all of 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 button row at the bottom.

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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 you want to change, and then click Move Up or Move Down.

 Note   To restore the default button arrangement, click Reset.

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Change the number of large and small buttons that appear 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 to see more big buttons or to see more little buttons.

 Notes 

  • You can quickly see more buttons or folders by pointing to the horizontal splitter bar between the folders and the buttons, and then dragging 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 will convert to small buttons and appear in 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.

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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.

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Reduce the size of the Favorite Folders pane

You can't remove or move the Favorite Folders pane heading in the Mail pane. However, you can minimize the space that the Favorite Folders pane takes up in the Navigation Pane by removing some or all of the folders in that pane.

 Note   When you delete messages from folders in the Favorite Folders pane, they are deleted from your Inbox. However, if you remove a folder from the Favorite Folders pane, the folder will still remain in its original location in the Mail pane.

Remove folders in the Favorite Folders pane

  1. Right-click the folder you want to remove.
  2. On the shortcut menu, click Remove from Favorite Folders.
  3. Repeat this for each folder that you want to remove. Folders must be removed individually from the Favorite Folders pane.

ShowTip

If you remove all of the folders and want to add a folder at a later time, just click a folder, and then drag it to the Favorite Folders pane.

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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.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2003