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The new Outlook.com

reading pane

In the old version clicking on the inbox after clicking on a message refreshes the reading pane leaving it empty. In the beta version doing the same thing leaves up the last clicked message. Would like to clear out the reading pane if no message is clicked.

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Hillary and Hal Shoenfield shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

42 comments

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  • Erik Scott commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I want this feature back as well! Don't always want a message to populate the reading pane when I'm deleting from the list of messages using the delete icon.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I much prefer the style where the email subject is horizontally the width of the screen, and where the message appears when I actually click on the message, and it remains as an unread email until I actually click on the email. Otherwise, I see less of the subject, and it shows as "read" before I'm actually ready to read it. The purpose of the subject line is to glance and decide if I want to read the email now or later.

  • Jagmohan Singh Sidhu commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    1. Left Nav Menu (with items like inbox, draft, archive etc) has horizontal scroll which has annoying effect while scrolling vertically. Would be much nicer if it is fixed horizontally.

    2. Left Nav Menu should be collapsible to icon only state (Nice to have). Currently it can be either fully collapsed or open.

    3. Email detail section is not wide enough to view whole content, so to get full view user needs to use horizontal scroll, and it scrolling left and right, again and again, doesn't seem to good experience while reading text mails.

    4. Feedback dialog closes if user clicks anywhere on screen outside feedback dialog, and already added description is lost. I guess it already has discard button, clocking outside shouldn't close it.

    5. Would be better to have ads displayed horizontally in footer or header section. In small screens (i use 14 inch) it takes up significant screen space.

  • Hans Ruf commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I'm using the bottom style reading pane (as I have for the last 10-12 years now) and the window is not adjustable, when typing a message if I have more than a few paragraphs it makes it hard to read. When the mosue is hovered over the reading pane division line (line that divides the messages up top and reading pane on bottom) the icon for adjusting it becomes available, but it does not work. I'm using Windows 10 and both Edge and Firefox browsers.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi generally I really like the new look/GUI in the Beta version of Outlook. But as I have suggested earlier I would prefer to have the folder views on a vertical bar instead (the bar where you can now choose between beta and non-beta version of Outlook.

    It would be easier to navigate between the folders and views if they are on a horizontal tab bar above instead of in a left vertical pane as it is now.

    I also think you should reduce the number of views a little bit..by placing these views as tabs on a horizontal line then you can reduce the number of vertical split panes to only 2 instead of 3 as you have now.

    Having only 2 vertical split panes provides more space for e-mail content to make it easier to read and more space to make it more interactive, for example more space for youtube video links, integration with OneDrive etc....

    I really hope you will consider making these changes.

  • Rick W commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Cant see how to disable the preview panel, or how to open emails in a larger view.
    I have to scroll both horizontally and vertically to view html emails. It's **** near useless.

  • Henry Sky commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    If using current vertical reading pane. It is hard to read,...especially for email that have images.

    if using horizontal reading pane. (old one), also hard to read below email.

    It would be great if can be connected to other popup screen. So, i can travel around in fullscreen mode of MAC or in windows in dual screen (multiple monitor) mode

  • Don Walo commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The reading panel at the bottom allowed for better organization and reading of the e-mails, unlike the vertical panels where it is uncomfortable these shifting the horizontal bar to be able to read the contents of the same.

    I am in favor of restoring the lower reading panel.

  • Iñigo Cantos commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I like the new beta versioin, but for those who don't have wide screens, only vertical panels leaves little space for the 'reading email panel'.

    Please enable (as it was before) the possibility to choose whether the reading panel is to be vertical or horizontal, under the message list.

    Thank you.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    First Impressions:
    The panels look too squashed with all the panels side by side, with the (1)navigation panel(with "mail" "calendar" etc), (2)Inbox categories, the (3)list of emails, The (4)email preview AND the advert panel it's too crowded and squashed, even though each plays a role on the page.

    It's too crowded and compacted in. Having too many things on show is unappealing and makes me not want to use any of it I'm here just to read and send emails, not for photos etc, I have a hard drive for photos, and I have a phone for a calendar. There's too much going on and I don't know where to look. (So for anyone with attention difficulties this would make it completely unusable, a point I feel I should bring up as I know people with ADHD and they already struggle using simplified email services as it is. Making it difficult for them to use email services for business and leisure activities.)

    (Moving from Left to right, opinions on each section as shown on the Beta.)

    1. Navigation(Mail, Calendar, etc)

    Visuals:
    It doesn't look pleasant having that far left panel with all the options towards the bottom of the screen when everything else is towards to top it doesn't make sense, someone with a compulsion and obsession for logical ordering and placement, this would be ****-ish.

    Practicality:
    The contents of that Panel are useful for some people, but not for everyone. Perhaps having an option in the Settings to "show/hide" those for people who don't want to use that, or perhaps having it as a panel on the bottom, horizontally ordered as a "navigation" tool or something along those lines.

    Other: I also feel that Tasks should fit under Calendar as that implies things that you plan to do anyway.

    2. Inbox Categories

    Visuals:
    Looks good, but for some people may feel like the spread is too far or short, perhaps the option to make it bigger or smaller. but generally nice and appealing to see.

    Practicality:
    Easy to use and add things to the 'Favourites' But perhaps the option to rename it just so people have the option to be quirky. Again Easy to use, add or take off favourites and no real problems found, other than that I think "New Folder" should have a "+" so we know we're adding the folder and not just clicking on a Folder that's not yet been Named! (Like how you've chosen to have "+ New Message", not just "New Message" at the very top of the panel)

    Other: //

    3.Emails

    Visuals:
    With the preview on, there doesn't need to be the first section of text under the title of the email, there's the preview right next to it. In fact I'm more annoyed by that small preview of the text than I should be, just seeing it is irking me (sorry I can't fully explain this visual one other than if feels pointless?) The mini text preview is wasting space on the page and making less emails visible.
    With the preview off the mini preview of the text isn't as visible making more emails visible, but making the user less sure of what the email contains. If I can't preview the whole email I'd like to know a small section of what the email is about, under the title. Or maybe the ability to hover over the email to see the first line of text.
    I like that it's sectioned off into "yesterday" "last week" "last month" that makes it easy to know if the email is old or if I've just gotten a lot of emails at once, without needing to specifically read and remember dates and times.
    I personally don't like the icons being next to the email, (personal preference) so maybe the option to turn them off for my inbox to load quicker and be less bulky?

    Practicality:
    It took a while for the selection option to show up over individual emails, so I wasn't sure how to select more than 1 email(without selecting all) for a while, if this was quicker then there's no problem, but the icon images seem to be in the way of it from being quick, especially if there are a lot of contacts and unique icons for each it would make the loading much slower, something to consider. Again, option to turn off icons would stop that being too much of an issue.
    Clicking the email to load with the preview off was very quick and efficient and was able to see the whole email easily, but with Preview on, I wasn't able to have the email across the screen like with the preview off, only showing it in the preview panel. I didn't like that I couldn't double click the email to view it normally.

    4. Preview Panel
    Visuals: images in emails didn't show correctly (such as email banners designed to make the email look more visually appealing). The result makes the emails look less appealing for people who are getting subscribed emails, (eg ebay, etsy, games, news websites etc) People generally don't like to scroll horizontally to see a whole image, it's typically unrewarding and not worth the effort to scroll. Personally I think that having no image show would be better, or having the images show to scale of the view.

    Practicality: if the preview

  • Katharine Quint commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Put colours back into the layout and make it more horizontal. It's hard to read and find information. The coloured circles beside each email is too much. The colour needs to be in the tools.

  • Dave Nickason commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I like the reading pane on the right, as in regular Outlook, but with the ad panel on the far right, it's too narrow. Many messages have to be scrolled horizontally in order to read them. I also can't find a way to pop an individual message out to read it in its own window, which would help with the scrolling issue.

    I plan to buy ad-free Outlook anyway, but if not for that, I would want to either switch back to the reading pane on the bottom, or turn it off (which is definitely not my preference).

  • Chris commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi, I have been using Outlook.com (hotmail) for ages. I also use Outlook 2013 for business on a laptop, more recently outlook 365 and outlook app on Win10. (The outlook app for win 10 is just horrible, can search emails correctly, hard to see unread emails, hard to find icons to reply, etc and outlook 365 actually take up more space on my main hard drive to "sync" files to the 365 cloud than I had before - so those have separate issues but I digress).

    This new beta of outlook.com I feel is attempting to jam too much into one page. I use a 24" monitor. Although many people have larger monitors these days, not everyone does. Many use the MS surface pro or laptops or smaller monitors on desktops.

    Starting left to right:
    - the icons for the different aspects of outlook (mail, calendar, people, pictures) is a good idea to highlight those icons, but not at the expense of screen width real estate. You had them at the bottom of the folder view previously. It worked but maybe not the best place for them. Perhaps at the top of the screen for easier viewing?

    - The folder view is nice. Always need a clear and easy way to see and navigate folders. It might need a tweak or something to make it more streamlined but ok for the most part.

    - The vertical panel showing the list of emails is too much going on. I have a lot of emails in the inbox and other folders. The current version I can get something like 25 emails in the monitor view and I like having them arranged by date. The beta version (in one of my folders) I can see 8 emails only and then I have to scroll (so 25 versus 8 --- means a LOT more scrolling to find something). This is because the view now shows a massive icon for an attachment (icon of the file type with file name). It is a good idea but my gosh you have eaten a huge portion of the screen just to show this info.

    Actually I prefer having the outlook 2013 option of having the vertical email list and arranging everything by date and conversation. This is the only email program that does a good job of this. The list shows the last email in said chain but does not throw 25 stacked emails in your face to show it was a conversation. It has a minimal arrow next to the email to let you know it is a part of a convo and by clicking the arrow you get the expanded list of each separate piece of the convo. Clicking the arrow quickly stacks them back as one email again. Take this as something that works and not just ignore the good from older programs and try and reinvent the wheel now.

    - Middle part of the screen - the reading panel. I like the vertical reading pane (I know others prefer having a horizontal view with the email list above or below). That being said, please provide the option of changing the way the beta shows emails part of a conversation and where the reading pane is. I send a lot of new and lots and lots of emails as parts of conversations. There is one email chain with 10+ replies back and forth. The beta now stacks a massive icon of the senders initials, then name and first line of each email one below the other. Now 75% of my reading panel is used up before I even read the new email. Why? Then if one or more of the emails in the convo has an attachment, then that icon and file name takes up yet more room.. again why?
    Then when I try to reply the text area to compose the email is jammed into the small space at the bottom of the screen where the previous emails in the convo and forever stacked upon it still. So if I have to compose an email of more than a few lines I have to start scrolling up and down? Again why? If I am doing an new email DONT force a tiny space for that composition. Makes aggravation a common thing for every task worse. As stated above I prefer the Outlook 2013 method of dealing with conversations where the email list allows the user to toggle the single email view or the full chain email list quickly. This new outlook.com beta stacks it all in your face and makes it hard to view anything.

    - The far right panel The advertising space take up about 20% of the remaining width of the screen. Somewhat large.

    Take that into account and you have an email portal/program that is not an email portal/program. It is a portal/program where you have access to folders, icons, email lists and ads and then a 1999 method of composing emails.
    Honestly, the 1999 version of hotmail when users had monitors that were 19" had more email composition space and was easier to use.

    - Now for the button layout. You have the top left menu icon that you can access lots of things, then a left panel with icons in just the lower 1/8 of the panel, then a close to the top and center screen panel for new message, delete and junk, etc. Then when I am reading an email I cant quickly find the reply button because rather than having all the common type icons in one place (like with the new email) I have to click each and every email in the conversation to collapse them individually to

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Keep the horizontal format without having a navigation window. You can easily scroll and select the message you want to read. This format is simple and effective. I like having a personal email format which looks different to my work exchange email

  • Kris Levi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I understand that several people have commented on the appearance of the vertical panes vs. the horizontal panes, but I think it's worth repeating that the Beta version uses space much less efficiently. On my 17-inch laptop, the lesser space after ads, reading, inbox, and folders is not felt so much. However, when I'm on a screen that is 14 inches or less, it feels really compressed. With ultrabooks, Chromebooks, and smaller screens becoming more prevalent, the older view allowed for easier reading, sorting, and organizing.

    On another note, you could consider a search option for unread emails. There are times in a larger inbox where unread emails could get buried, and sorting by unread emails could help one find it quickly.

    Overall, thanks for a great product. I'll take Outlook.com over your competitors a googolplex times over!

  • felixlandry commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Need to have the option to select a horizontal reading panel instead of just "vertical or none".

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