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While working within the Inbox Pane, if I select an unread message, I would like to use a single keyboard shortcut to mark that active message as unread once I navigate to a different message.

I already know about Ctrl-U, but if you select an unread message, read it in the preview pane, and then use Ctrl-U, the message still loses its "unread" status when you navigate away from that message in the Inbox Pane. A quick combination of Ctrl-Q and Ctrl-U gets the end result I'm looking for, but I thought I'd still put it out there for a possible single shortcut solution.

If I were to switch focus to the Preview Pane, then use Ctrl-U, it would keep its "unread" status, but I'm looking for the least amount of steps to "unread" bliss.


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The issue is the fact that emails state are changed when the selection is changed (meaning moving on or off). Therefore, after you mark it as unread and move away you are changing the selection state and it is marked as unread which is undesired.

The closest option you have is under the Reading Pane options in Outlook 2010, click on Options and check mark item as read when viewed in the reading pane and change from 5 seconds to 0 seconds. Uncheck the Mark item as read when selection changes

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Worked like a charm -- thanks! In Outlook 2007, it's under Tools -> Options -> 'Other' tab -> Reading Pane. – eisb Jul 17 '12 at 14:17
I'm glad this works for you because it certainly seems like to the opposite to the question you were asking. I'm still not sure what exactly your trying to do but if you press ctrl+u soon before navigating away from a message it will appear is unread. – Celeritas Jul 17 '12 at 18:05

A better approach may be to disable Outlook from automatically marking the message as unread. Follow these instructions.

Here is a list of keyboard shortcuts for Outlook 2007 (expand the e-mail section).

Ctrl+u does work, why do you say it doesn't?

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I only want to keep a certain set of messages in my inbox as unread, so turning off auto-unread isn't an option for me. As I explained above, Ctrl-U works, just not the way I'm navigating between messages. If you select an unread message, read it without clicking/moving out of the Inbox Pane, then use Ctrl-U, Ctrl-U does not keep the message marked as unread. In any other case, it does mark it as unread. – eisb Jul 16 '12 at 19:47
Your doing it wrong you need to press Ctrl-U while you are still in the message you want to mark as unread. If that's not what you want can you elaborate? What do you mean "Ctrl-U works, just not the way I'm navigating between messages"? – Celeritas Jul 16 '12 at 19:54
I'm aware that Ctrl-U works if I go into the message (preview pane), but I do not want to go into the preview pane. I want to click the message in my inbox, read what shows up in the preview pane, then -- without moving out of the inbox -- press something that will keep the message unread, then move on to the next message. That's what I mean by "the way I'm navigating between messages". – eisb Jul 16 '12 at 20:22
First you say you don't want to read it in the preview pane. Then you say you want to read what shows up in the preview pane. Which is it? – Celeritas Jul 16 '12 at 20:36
I mean I'm trying to help but have trouble understanding you, is your English ok? – Celeritas Jul 16 '12 at 20:44

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