How to Enable Preview Pane in Gmail: Add Email Reading Pane

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Want to read your Gmail messages quickly? Let’s enable Gmail Preview Pane feature that will let you see your emails side by side with your inbox, like a split screen. Gmail Preview Pane or Gmail Reading Pane comes in handy when want to see the highlights of recent emails while reading a full email body. This makes checking emails super easy and fast. 

Now, let’s go through the steps to enable message preview pane in your Gmail.


How to Enable Preview Pane in Gmail

Check your emails without opening them in Gmail with Preview Pane. Here are the quick steps to enable the Preview Pane in Gmail:

  1. Open Gmail and sign in to your account.
  2. Click on the Settings (gear icon) at the top right corner.
  3. Find “Reading Pane” in the “Quick Settings” menu.
  4. Select the “Right of inbox” or “Below inbox” to position the split pane mode.
  5. That’s it! Your Gmail Reading Pane is now turned on.

In the latest Gmail version, the Reading Pane comes enabled by default for convenience.

Quick Steps to Enable Preview Pane in Gmail
Quick Steps to Enable Preview Pane in Gmail

How to Disable Preview Pane in Gmail

Follow these steps to turn off the Preview Pane in Gmail:

  1. Log into your Gmail account.
  2. Click on the Settings (gear icon) at the top right corner.
  3. Go to the “Quick Settings” menu on the right.
  4. Find the “Reading Pane” section.
  5. Select “No Split” to disable the Preview Pane.
  6. Your inbox will return to its classic view without the Reading Pane.

If you are not able to see the “Reading Pane” section on the “Quick Settings” side panel, follow the below steps to enable it

Did you know that MS Outlook first introduced this handy reading pane feature, and many Outlook users enjoy using the email preview pane? As the name suggests the preview pane on the right, preview emails and the inbox displays the list of emails on the left pane. 

Gmail has become a top choice for businesses, professionals, and personal use over the last decade, thanks to its user-friendly interface. It has surpassed MS Outlook’s popularity by offering customizable features and enhanced user experience. However, unlike Outlook, the Gmail Reading Pane is not enabled by default.

Once you have enabled this option, you will be able to quickly go through emails using the Gmail Message Reading Pane, just like in MS Outlook. This easy-to-follow guide will help you enable the Email Preview Pane in Gmail and also cover solutions if your Gmail preview pane is not working.

Enable Email Preview Pane in Gmail - Outlook Like
Enable Preview Pane in Gmail – Outlook Like

Step-by-Step Guide to Enable Gmail Preview Pane

Great, let’s get started with enabling the Gmail Preview Pane. Just follow these simple steps to turn it on in no time:

  • Open Gmail Settings: First, click on the “Gear” icon at the top right corner of your Gmail page to open settings.
  • See All Settings: A menu will pop up when you click the gear icon. You will see an option that says “See all settings” on the “Quick Settings” panel. Click on that.
Open Gmail Settings
Open Gmail Settings
Go to the Inbox Tab and Enable the Preview Pane
Go to the Inbox Tab and Enable the Preview Pane
  • Go to the Inbox Tab: In the settings menu, you will find different tabs like “General,” “Labels,” and “Inbox.” Click on the “Inbox” tab to find more options.
  • Enable the Preview Pane: Scroll down a little in the “Inbox” tab until you find the “Reading pane” section. There is a checkbox next to the “Enable reading pane.” Click that box to put a tick in it.
  • Select Reading Pane Position: Select the “Right of inbox” option to enable the vertical Gmail Preview Pane, for horizontal Gmail Preview Pane you can choose the “Below inbox” option. Choose “No split” to disable the reading pane. You can also change the reading pane view using the “Toggle Split Pane Mode Button”.
  • Save Your Changes: Now, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Save Changes.” Gmail will refresh, and you will go back to your inbox with the Preview Pane feature turned on. That’s all!
Preview Pane in Gmail Enabled
Preview Pane in Gmail Enabled

The process the quite straightforward now. Earlier, Gmail Preview Pane was a part of the Gmail Labs for quite some time. The process to enable it back then was different, you had to go to the Settings page via the upper-right corner gear icon drop-down menu. Then enable the Preview Pane in the Advance Tab to turn on the Toggle Split Pane Mode Button. Which lets you choose the split mode. 

Now, let me share some tips based on my personal experience on how you can use the Gmail preview pane effectively.  

Tips for Using Reading Pane in Gmail Effectively

Now that you have enabled the Preview Pane in your Gmail, let’s make sure you know how to manage reading pane in Gmail:

  • Choose Your View: Carefully choose how you want to see your emails. You can pick either:
    • Vertical Split (Right of inbox): This puts the Preview Pane on the right side, which is great for widescreen displays. I use this view all the time in my Google Workspace. 
    • Horizontal Split (Below inbox): This puts the Preview Pane at the bottom, better for square or vertically large screens.
Gmail with Horizontal Preview Pane
Gmail with Horizontal Preview Pane
Gmail with Vertical Preview Pane
Gmail with Vertical Preview Pane
  • Adjust the Size: If you want more space to read your emails or see more messages at once, just drag the line that divides your inbox and the Preview Pane to adjust the size.
  • Switch Modes Easily: If you want to go back to the regular view without the Preview Pane? Click the gear icon to open the “Quick Settings” panel, and select the “No Split” option in the Reading Pane section. 

Now, let’s discuss the common issues people might face with the Gmail Preview Pane.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Gmail Message Preview Pane

Sometimes, things do not go as planned. If you are having trouble with the Gmail Message Preview Pane, here are some quick fixes based on other people’s experiences:

  • Reading Pane Not Showing Up: If you can not see the Reading Pane after enabling it, make sure you have selected the option in the Quick Settings panel. If it is still missing, logout from your Gmail, do a hard refresh of your browser tab and sign in to Gmail again.
  • Reading Pane Not Working: Check if your browser is up to date, as older versions might not support all Gmail features. You can also try clearing your browser’s cache (or hard reload) and cookies. 
  • Preview Pane Wrap Text Issues: If the email text does not wrap correctly in your Preview Pane, check if the zoom settings in your browser are causing this issue. Try resetting the zoom to default to fix the problem.
  • Disabling the Preview Pane: If you want to go to the default view, you can disable the preview pane by selecting the “No Split” option on the “Quick Settings” panel. 
  • Gmail Reading Pane Too Wide or Narrow: You can always adjust the width of the reading pane by dragging the divider left or right. 
  • Turn Off Gmail Preview Pane on Mobile Devices: The Gmail Preview Pane is not available on the Gmail app for iPad or Android devices. To turn it off on mobile and tablet devices, use the web browser version of Gmail and select “No Split” mode.

If you are still stuck, I would suggest you search for your specific problem on the Gmail official forum.

Wrapping Up: Enhance Your Email Efficiency with Gmail Preview Pane

Hope you find this tutorial helpful and learn how to add reading pane in Gmail. This feature is really helpful for a quick scan through emails and managing inboxes more efficiently. Let us know which split mode you prefer in the comments section below. 

FAQs – Message Preview Pane in Gmail

How do I view Gmail in Preview Pane mode?

Go to the Reading Pane section of the Quick Settings panel, then choose the “Right of inbox” option for Vertical mode or “Below inbox” option for Horizontal mode split.

Why does not my Gmail have a Preview Pane?

You may need to enable the Gmail reading pane settings on the Quick Settings panel or update your browser if it is not showing up.

How to turn off the Preview Pane in Gmail on mobile devices?

The mobile app does not support Preview Pane, but you can disable it in the browser version by selecting “No Split.”

Gmail Preview Pane wrap text not working properly?

Ensure your browser zoom is set to default and try adjusting the size of the Preview Pane.

Where to find the Toggle Split Pane Mode Button in Gmail?

You can find it right next to the newer/older email arrow icon on the Email options header. 

Toggle Split Pane Mode in Gmail is Missing?

You have to enable the Reading pane option in the Settings > Inbox Tab > Reading pane section to view the Toggle Split Pane Mode in Gmail.

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Saurabh K
Saurabh K is a technology enthusiast and part-time blogger. He loves to explore the efficient use of technology and gadgets. He is an outlier and lensman. Add him in your social circle to know more.
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3 thoughts on “How to Enable Preview Pane in Gmail: Add Email Reading Pane”

  1. Avatar of eric

    So I subscribe to a lot of daily online news feeds that are presented in email format and I use Google Gmail for my main email. I get the preview pane through Labs and the toggle switch but there is no way to tab over the body of the email and scroll down using the arrow keys or anything else but a mouse. This would be a great fix to be able to do so. If it has please show me directions in how to do so.

    • Hey Eric,
      Unfortunately, The Email Preview Lab has limited functionality at this point.

  2. Avatar of David Berman

    How do we get the Preview Pane to present its “3-rows per email” in the new Gmail?


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