Prevent Outlook From Automatically ‘Mark As Read’ Your Emails

Sometimes, we like to go quickly through all the emails received but as we proceed, Outlook automatically marks these emails as ‘Read’ & by the time we decide to start over in peace – we’ve already lost track of the emails or at least are in some confusion. The only option is to either mark them as ‘Unread’ or assign the ‘Read, Blue or Green’ tags.

Another situation is when, you’re reading someone else’s emails for some reason & then you don’t want Outlook to mark them as read automatically, so the owner can follow-up all unread messages at leisure.

Here how & when we should let Outlook mark emails as read

  • Outlook 2007 & older: Go to Tools > Options > Others (tab) > Reading Pane (button)
  • Outlook 2010 & Outlook 2013: View > Reading Pane > Options

“Mark item as read when selection changes” – this is the default selection which means, if you open one email & then select another, the previous email will be marked as read. If we disable this option, all emails remain “unread” unless we open each email in a new window by double clicking them.

Prevent Outlook From Automatically ‘Mark As Read’ Your Emails

Adding delay

Double clicking each email to mark as read is not a great solution for many of us… but, if you only need to quickly go through the whole set of new emails – then, adding a delay (duration) is a perfect way to handle it.

Prevent Outlook From Automatically ‘Mark As Read’ Your Emails

Now suppose, you’re quickly browsing your emails & approximately it takes about 10 seconds for you to review one email – then, “Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane” is the most correct solution. You should consider activating this option & put the value as 15 or 20 seconds before marking emails as read.

Keyboard shortcuts

In addition to the menu or context menu options, we can also use the keyboard shortcuts to mark items as read or unread. Below are the easiest shortcuts to mark as read or unread:

  • To mark emails as read, you can use: CTRL+Enter or CTRL+Q
  • To mark emails as unread, use: CTRL+U

Outlook provides several different options to choose from that fits best in your situation. Some people prefer one way & some prefer the other. It’s always best to try out these options to mark email as read or unread & see which you’re more comfortable with.

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