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I've just started using, after switching from WinXP to OSX. Both Outlook and have a preview pane, but in Outlook, I was able to configure it to only mark a message as unread after viewing the message for a given amount of time. As far as I can tell, doesn't have this option - as I use the arrow keys to scroll through my inbox, every email is marked unread.

Is there a way to have only mark a message as unread after, say, two seconds of viewing it? Are there plugins or anything for

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

What you're looking for is a plugin called TruePreview. From the home page:

One of the most common shortcomings/omissions/bugs/failures in Mail is the inability to truly preview messages. If the preview pane is displayed in the message viewer window, as soon as a message is selected and displayed, it is marked as read. Most every other e-mail client on the planet provides an option to delay marking messages as read. This particular issue has been the one nagging annoyance that has bothered me for years now. With every OS X upgrade, I have anticipated Apple finally adding this necessary functionality, only to be disappointed.


TruePreview screenshot from home page

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Works like a charm, thanks! – etlovett Dec 31 '09 at 0:51

While plugins may work, they could break for specific versions of Mail and leave you without this behaviour for a while. A foolproof method could be to manually mark the message as unread. The default shortcut for this is command+shift+u, which can be accessed conveniently with the right hand while using the arrow keys to navigate.

So you can go down, down, mark as unread, go down, down, etc. As a bonus this shortcut seems to work in other programs as well, and I use it a lot with NetNewsWire, an rss reader quite similar to

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Yeah, I found that shortcut, but I'd rather be able to scroll through the items in such a way that their state is left unchanged. – etlovett Dec 31 '09 at 0:47
As a side note, in NetNewsWire, all you need to press is u to mark it as unread. Or m to mark it as unread and move to the next unread item. – fideli Dec 31 '09 at 3:10

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