How to Add a Preview Pane to Gmail

Personalize Your Gmail Screen With a Split Screen

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Do you want to see a list of emails in Gmail, which the default, or would you prefer to see the list and a reading pane for the message you select? In Gmail, you can have both ways. You can even pick whether you want the reading pane and list to be arranged side by side, which is ideal for wide browser windows and screens, or on top of each other, which works well for narrow screens. First, you must turn on the Preview Pane function.

Enable Preview Pane in Gmail Labs

To make sure Gmail's preview pane is enabled for your account:

  1. Click the Settings gear icon in Gmail.
  2. Select Settings from the menu that appears.
  3. Go to the Labs category.
  4. Type preview pane in the field next to Search for a lab.
  5. Click the button next to Enable in the Preview Pane section to turn it on.
  6. Click Save Changes.

Toggle split pane mode button appears at the top of the email screen next to the Settings gear. Use it to choose between a vertical or horizontal split for the reading page or to turn off the split screen completely.

Add a Preview Pane to Gmail

After you enable the Toggle split pane mode button, you can choose to read messages using a preview pane at any time.

  1. Open your Gmail screen.
  2. Click the​ down arrow next to the Toggle split pane mode button at the top of the screen next to the Settings cog. Select either vertical split or horizontal split from the menu.
  1. Click on any message in the message list to open the email in the reading pane.

To turn off the split screen, click the down arrow next to the Toggle split pane mode button again and choose No Split.

Set Up the Gmail Preview Pane for Widescreen or Traditional Layout

To toggle between a vertical split that works nicely with a wide browser window and a horizontal split for the Gmail preview pane, which devotes more width to the message text:

  1. Click the down arrow next to the Toggle split pane mode button in your Gmail inbox.
  2. Select Vertical Split from the menu that appears for a widescreen layout that places message previews next to the message list or Horizontal Split for a traditional layout that displays message previews beneath the list of messages.

You aren't tied to a specific split screen configuration. Use the toggle button to try out both orientations with your email to see what works best for you.

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