How to Enable, Disable, and Use the Preview Pane in Gmail

Preview Featured

Gmail has various options to help you customize your inbox to your liking. For example, you can add different themes to your inbox and save time thanks to the Smart Compose feature that suggests what it thinks you’re going to type.

Another useful option is the preview pane where you can see the content of an email and the list of emails at the same time. If you have this option disabled, as soon as you click on an email, you lose visual contact of your inbox and only see that particular email.

How to Enable Gmail’s Preview Pane

By default, the Preview Pane feature is disabled. To turn it on you’ll need to go into Gmail’s settings and click on the Advanced tab.

Preview Advanced

On he third option down in the Preview Pane option click on the “Enable” circle and on the Save Changes button at the bottom.

Preview Enable

After clicking on the Save button you’ll see a new button that will allow you to change how you see the Preview Pane. By clicking on the three lines you will switch from horizontal mode and vertical mode.

By choosing Vertical Split, you will see the preview of your emails to the right. In Horizontal Split you will see the preview pane on the lower part of the split. If you ever get tired of the feature, choose No Split, and you will see your emails like you did before you activated it.

To the right of this button you’ll see a drop-down menu that will allow you to choose between the options previously mentioned and turn the Preview Pane off.

Preview Options

Which Split Is Right for You?

If you are using a traditional monitor, you may prefer to use the Horizontal Split so you won’t be looking at a preview pane that is cut off at the top or the end. The vertical split will make your emails look better if you have a widescreen display. This gives you the space you need to read your emails comfortably.

Tips on How to Use Gmail’s Preview Pane

You can adjust how much of each section you see. For example, if you place the cursor right in between the two parts, your cursor will change its shape. Afterward, you can either (after clicking on it) move it up/down and/or to the right/left.

Preview Move

Feel free to use the No Split option if at any time you get tired of the option. Not to worry, this is not going to undo what you set up in Settings. It is only going to temporarily disable it until you choose either the horizontal or vertical split. You can quickly disable/enable it by clicking on the four horizontal lines.

Preview Lines

By going to Settings and scrolling down until you come across the Preview Pane section, you can choose how much time needs to pass before an email is marked as read. You can choose between one second, three seconds, twenty seconds, and never.

Preview Time


Gmail’s preview pane is a useful feature. It helps you look at an email and browse through the other one you have in your inbox. Some may find it annoying since you can’t see either your inbox or the email as big as you could before. Do you find the preview pane useful or annoying? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Fabio Buckell

Just a simple guy that can't enough of Technology in general and is always surrounded by at least one Android and iOS device. I'm a Pizza addict as well.

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