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Can someone describe to me, step by step, what I would need to do in order to change the default Outlook "Mark as Read" behavior?

Default Behavior: Outlook marks a message as read when It has appeared in the viewing pane and I move to another message.

Desired Behavior: Outlook marks a message as read as soon as it appears in the viewing pane.

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1  
+1 My default setting for Outlook! –  Ivo Flipse Jan 25 '10 at 18:01
6  
+1, I was just about to ask the same question. Can anyone tell why the default behavior is the way it is. I just can't find a use case where this is the desired behavior. –  Laserallan Oct 7 '10 at 10:00

3 Answers 3

It took me a few minutes to figure it out in Outlook 2010 - once you get to the Reading Pane options, it's the same as squillman's answer.

  1. Go to FileOptionsAdvanced.

  2. In the Outlook panes section, click Reading Pane...

    The Outlook Options dialog

  3. Check Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane and set an interval in seconds before it kicks in.

    The Reading Pane dialog

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6  
The wait interval can be set to zero seconds. –  Keyslinger Jul 25 at 20:35
    
Setting to 0 seconds results in instantaneous marking as read, as opposed some other settings configurators where 0 means the setting is ignored. –  Paul Nov 11 at 18:08

For Outlook 2007:

  1. Go to Tools | Options and click the Other tab
  2. Click the Reading Pane... button under Outlook Panes
  3. Put a check the Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane and set an interval in seconds before it kicks in.

It's the same for Outlook 2003, except that in step 2 the section on the Other tab is called "Reading Pane" instead of "Outlook Panes".

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I was confused that the option reading Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane wouldn't allow for it to simply Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane without specifying a delay (setting 0 disables the option) — it turns out that selecting Mark item as read when selection changes has the desired affect.

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1  
-1 Selecting Mark item as read when selection changes marks the message as read only when you switch messages. This is the default option the OP is trying to avoid. –  TheSoftwareDev Jul 25 '13 at 14:45

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