Maximize the available space for viewing email messages

When reading email messages in Microsoft Outlook 2010, you can quickly increase the available space for the message list (message list: The middle part of the main Outlook window that displays the contents of the selected folder.) and the Reading Pane (Reading Pane: A window in Outlook where you can preview an item without opening it. To display the item in the Reading Pane, click the item.) by using the Reading Reading button button on the status bar. The status bar appears at the bottom of the Outlook window.

View and zoom slider controls

Switch mail reading views

In Mail, two views are available — Normal and Reading. In Reading view, the Navigation Pane, To-Do Bar, and the Outlook ribbon are all minimized. This view provides additional width for the Reading Pane.

Example of Outlook in Reading and Normal views

  • To turn on Reading view, on the status bar, click Reading button.
  • To turn on the default Normal view, on the status bar, click Normal button.

When minimized, you still have full access to the items in the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes buttons for the Mail, Calendar, and Tasks views and the folders within each view. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.) and To-Do Bar. Click either and a temporary expanded view appears. When you click elsewhere in the Outlook window, the Navigation Pane and To-Do Bar return to their minimized view.

Likewise, when the ribbon is minimized, you can click a tab and the full ribbon temporarily appears. When you click elsewhere in the Outlook window, the ribbon returns to the minimized view.

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Minimize or expand elements individually

The view buttons minimize or expand the Navigation Pane, To-Do Bar, and ribbon at the same time. To minimize or expand one element, do one of the following:

Minimize or expand the Navigation Pane

  • At the top of the Navigation Pane, click the Minimize the Navigation Pane Minimize the Navigation Pane button or Maximize the Navigation Pane Expand the Navigation Pane button arrow.
  • On the View tab, in the Layout group, click Navigation Pane, and then click Minimized or Normal.

Navigation Pane command in the ribbon

  • Keyboard shortcut    To minimize or expand the Navigation Pane, press ALT+F1.

Minimize or expand the To-Do Bar

  • At the top of the To-Do Bar, click the Minimize the To-Do Bar Expand the To-Do Bar button or Maximize the To-Do Bar Minimize the To-Do Bar button arrow.
  • On the View tab, in the Layout group, click To-Do Bar, and then click Minimized or Normal.

To-Do Bar menu

  • Keyboard shortcut    To minimize or expand the To-Do Bar, press ALT+F2.

Minimize or expand the ribbon

  • Click Minimize the Ribbon or Maximize the Ribbon arrow..

Minimize the Ribbon button

  • Double-click a ribbon tab.
  • Keyboard shortcut    To minimize or expand the ribbon, press CTRL+F1.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2010