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Outlook 2013:Possible to remove/edit layout header in mail preview pane?

    Question

  • I get many hundreds of emails a day. I need to glance quickly at the first paragraph or so of an email.

    Can't do that, because the top of the reading pane is 100% NOISE (reading pane at bottom). It's an oversize repeat of what is in the email list, and, on smaller screens, blocks 100% of the email message. If I want to see a picture, and all the other extras, I can open the email. In 99.9% of all my emails, the picture is a placeholder anyways.

    And if you click on it to try and scroll it, you mostly get the empty placeholder social crap to pop up, causing even less efficiency, as you try to get it closed. Seems to be designed for light, casual use, not for IT professionals.

    So, can the layout be edited? Nothing that I can find so far.


    Rick Hantz

    Friday, February 01, 2013 6:27 AM

Answers

All replies

  • No, sorry, you can't reduce the size of the header at this time. You can switch to always use plain text - this will get rid of the picture placeholders - and it's easy to enable HTML on any message if you need to see the images. 


    Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]
    Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center
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    Saturday, February 02, 2013 3:54 PM
  • Ok,  I set it to read as plain text.

    However, that just changes the body to plain text, which is still 100% hidden by the header, which doesn't change at all. Picture--or, picture placeholder, still there. Social stuff, still there.

    I hate this trend of hiding data, using relative dates, etc. None of it works for me at all. Not just annoying, but reduces my efficiency tremendously.


    Rick Hantz

    Saturday, February 02, 2013 7:02 PM
  • Plain text only gets rid of the picture placeholders... Social stuff is turned off in View ribbon > People pane.

    To change the date in the Received column, go to View ribbon > view Settings > Format Column and you can show whatever time and date format you want. The Group headers (today, yesterday, Thursday) can't be changed but you can turn off grouping if seeing the full time and date in the received column is not enough.  



    Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]
    Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center
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    Saturday, February 02, 2013 9:18 PM
  • Plain text gets rid of pictures, etc , in the body, not the header.

    The header is what blocks almost 100% of the body if the preview pane is at the bottom.

    Preview pane on the side is a bit more readable, but then I cut everything else in half.

    I need full date/time, and the folders list, as I auto move lots of emails to specific folders.

    No grouping of any sort wanted. Grouping by date/time, or even worse, relative date/time , is as useful as grouping by the weather.

    I don't need visual caltrops scattered all over to slow down my processing of email.

    Turning the People Pane off, not only gets rid of it in the Preview Pane, but also when I open an email, where I might want to use it.


    Rick Hantz

    Saturday, February 02, 2013 9:41 PM
  • Did you try the people pane minimized? The arrow icon on the right will minimize and maximize it - easy to access when you need it, mostly out of the way when you don't.

    To turn off grouping, go into View, View Settings, Group button and deselect the Group options. That, along with the date change in Format column, will get rid of groups and show the full date/time in a wide selection of formats.

    Turn pictures off in the header in File, Options, Contacts. It's not going to reduce the header size and someone said it increases it by about 6 pixels. (I didn't measure it.)

     



    Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]
    Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center
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    Sunday, February 03, 2013 2:18 AM
  • People pane minimized doesn't work if the preview pane is on the bottom. The header squishes everything together so that you can't scroll the body or see where to click for the people pane. If you do click, you have to open the whole email to fix it.

    I'm trying the reading pane on the right, taking up about 15-20% of the width of the Outlook window.

    I'd call the header showing up at all in the preview pane to be a major usability bug.

    I've had grouping off for years. I like pictures on, just not in the header.

    You used to be able to turn headers off totally.  Maybe there is a registry setting that can be changed?


    Rick Hantz

    Sunday, February 03, 2013 3:05 AM
  • At this point in time, there is nothing. There is no registry key. We (the Outlook MVPs) have talked to the product team about it and we hope we can get some changes - if not a reg key, then a smaller header. It's a problem on netbooks and tablets too - even with the pane on the right -  and needs to be fixed.


    Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]
    Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center
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    Sunday, February 03, 2013 4:11 AM
  • Cool, at least others see it as a problem, too.

    Appreciate the help.


    Rick Hantz

    Sunday, February 03, 2013 4:36 AM
  • I just upgraded to Outlook 2013 and this Header issue is a major problem for me as well. Somebody really wasn't thinking when they put this Header like this without being able to change it.  Is there any resolution in the near future?
    Friday, March 08, 2013 2:33 PM
  • This is a huge problem.  It makes Outlook 2013 practically unworkable as a business solution.  You can't read emails without it taking extra hous of opening and closing messages. here is no need for the preview pane header to take up the whole screen.  I want to read the message not the header.  It needs to be fixed or this product is going to go in the dumpster. 
    • Proposed as answer by Steve Jum Saturday, March 23, 2013 1:03 AM
    Monday, March 11, 2013 3:01 PM
  • THANK YOU, Diane for providing a real answer, one that pointed to actual solutions rather than the canned garbage we have been getting. It is appreciated !!
    Friday, March 15, 2013 3:25 PM
  • Thanks for your honesty Diane. The fact that the "cute" preview shows 99% useless information, and that it cannot be turned off, makes Outlook useless to my business customers. Maybe the idiots who developed this can go find jobs working on iPhones.

    I had plans to move my 2007 and 2010 business customers to 2013 ... but now I am advising them to just buy more 2010 licenses and standardize on it. Obviously the development team thinks it is more important to show cute photo placeholders than it is to allow the customer to see the actual data in the email.


    Steve Jumonville http://www.affordablecomputingnw.com

    Saturday, March 23, 2013 1:07 AM
  • Although it is possible to remove the contact picture in outlook options people and reduce the font size of the subject and to/from in the message header (click on text and use mouse scroll to change size whilst hold ctrl key) this does not reduce the space taken up by the headers.  

    As a result it makes outlook 2013 virtually unsuable.

    Please confirm that it is not currently possible to correct this - for my wife's benefit who thinks it is because I have only installed 2013 on her pc that have not taken sufficient time to find a solution.

    Thanks

    Mike

    Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:50 AM
  • Tell your wife ... we are a Microsoft Partner ... and we are uninstalling Office 2013 after 4 days use. We are also recommending our customers (Microsoft's customers) don't buy 2013.

    Why? Microsoft has lost their minds and are changing their BUSINESS computers to use telephone interfaces and are changing Office from a BUSINESS tool to a "Social Contact Manager".

    MS has no regard for its installed base; they are so in love with social media they don't realize that there are actually people out there who need computers to be useful rather than "cute".


    Steve Jumonville http://www.affordablecomputingnw.com

    Thursday, March 28, 2013 1:37 AM
  • Although it is possible to remove the contact picture in outlook options people and reduce the font size of the subject and to/from in the message header (click on text and use mouse scroll to change size whilst hold ctrl key) this does not reduce the space taken up by the headers.  

    As a result it makes outlook 2013 virtually unsuable.

    Please confirm that it is not currently possible to correct this - for my wife's benefit who thinks it is because I have only installed 2013 on her pc that have not taken sufficient time to find a solution.

    Thanks

    Mike

    The size of the header pane is not adjustable at this time. If you use the reading pane on the right, the size of the pane is not a problem. It is a big problem when you use the reading pane on the bottom.


    Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]
    Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center
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    Thursday, March 28, 2013 1:48 AM
  • This REALLY needs to be addressed. 

    Please address this!

    Wednesday, April 03, 2013 11:21 PM
  • Diane,

    Thank you for your comments. I have seen some of your posts on other threads.

    I am chiming in (though it probably won't do any good) on this thread. I am a supporter of Microsoft, and a Microsoft Partner. 

    The Office 2013 version is a huge step backwards! It seems like Microsoft has forgotten their roots, their bread and butter, which is businesses. This header in the preview pane is just one issue with Office 2013. 

    I can't believe Microsoft hasn't addressed this yet! When you have partners and intergrators telling customers "Don't upgrade to 2-13!" that is a major issue!

    It seems like it should be a simple coding thing to either remove it (you can always look at the header if you want) or to allow an option. I know simple coding implementation would take a few weeks to code, beta test, roll-out, etc. But it seems that Microsoft either doesn't care or doesn't believe users when they say it, or they aren't hearing the backlash. Either of those three are huge issues.

    Diane, how can we file cases with Microsoft? How can we get them to hear that this is a problem?

    Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:25 PM
  • Although harsh, I agree with Steve's words.

    Apple has done a great job finding the young artistic market; Microsoft needs to continue appealing to the corporate market.

    As an avid Apple user for personal use and Microsoft user for IT work, I understand the benefit of both, and would plead with Microsoft to find out what their business users need and move in that direction rather than going with Apple/Facebook/etc.

    After all, I think everyone has heard the news of the Apple bubble bursting. This is not because Microsoft put a few pictures in their productivity software.

    On a similar note, neither I nor my boss intend to move anyone to Windows 8 anytime soon. Trying to teach our 50-year-old+ users how to use a completely new OS GUI will go over like a lead balloon.
    • Edited by Krevbot9 Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:34 PM
    Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:31 PM
  • Tell your wife ... we are a Microsoft Partner ... and we are uninstalling Office 2013 after 4 days use. We are also recommending our customers (Microsoft's customers) don't buy 2013.

    Why? Microsoft has lost their minds and are changing their BUSINESS computers to use telephone interfaces and are changing Office from a BUSINESS tool to a "Social Contact Manager".

    MS has no regard for its installed base; they are so in love with social media they don't realize that there are actually people out there who need computers to be useful rather than "cute".


    Steve Jumonville http://www.affordablecomputingnw.com

    Sir,

    I applaud you.

    Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:08 AM
  • And to top it off, 2013 OWA no longer offers "Light" version, You are only allowed to use the worthless social networking oriented one.

    Unless, you install a non-supported Web browser, like Safari or Opera. Since the "Full" version is really unusable for high volume email, I installed Safari for the first time in my life. The "Light" version loads then.


    Rick Hantz

    Thursday, April 25, 2013 3:18 AM
  • Is there any resolution to this yet?

    To set something up like that and not provide an option to disable or alter it indicates a pretty myopic design view.  This is an example of why I use Thunderbird as a personal email client.  Unfortunately I don't have that option at work.

    Thursday, April 25, 2013 2:53 PM
  • No, and I don't expect anything before SP1, if at all. The MVPs talked to Microsoft about it in Feb but I have no idea what they are going to do.


    Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]
    Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center
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    Thursday, April 25, 2013 3:15 PM
  • Any updates on this? I find Outlook 2013 almost unusable due to this issue.


    John Marcum | http://myitforum.com/myitforumwp/author/johnmarcum/

    Monday, June 03, 2013 3:36 PM
  • Agreed - this is super frustrating. I'm shocked there's not a registry setting to reduce the font size/picture size at the least, to reduce the size of the header pane.
    Wednesday, June 12, 2013 1:28 PM
  • First time I write here. I am probably one of the first people to install Office 2013 in my company (thousands of people) and right away, this was my biggest concern. I searched for info on the web and found this thread. It looks I am going to have to get used to the large header or disable the reading pane. I used to have the reading pane on the bottom of the screen and I am now trying to see if I use it on the right side of the screen, but I do not like it. Indeed, there should be a way to disable this large header. Feedback for MS for a future release.
    Wednesday, July 10, 2013 7:21 PM
  • Today, after at least 6 months or trying to learn to deal with Outlook 2013, I removed it from my computer and put 2010 back. The issue with the header and even worse issues with how slow it is and the way the pinned icon on the taskbar works (or doesn't work I should say) made me decide once and for all that Outlook 2013 is TOTALLY UNUSABLE!

    John Marcum | http://myitforum.com/myitforumwp/author/johnmarcum/

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013 8:01 PM
  • Please stress the need to have it fixed.  It is a huge problem - the wasted space is crazy and I'm losing my mind trying to read my email and deal with it.  Not everyone wants the reading pane to the right, I like it on the bottom.
    Friday, July 12, 2013 6:26 PM
  • This is a huge problem.  It makes Outlook 2013 practically unworkable as a business solution.  You can't read emails without it taking extra hous of opening and closing messages. here is no need for the preview pane header to take up the whole screen.  I want to read the message not the header.  It needs to be fixed or this product is going to go in the dumpster. 
    Agreed!
    Friday, July 12, 2013 6:26 PM
  • I uninstalled it this week. I tried for over 6 months to learn to live with the nuances of 2013 but between the wasted space and the odd behavior of an icon pinned to the taskbar and the lousy performance I decided 2010 was a better choice.

    John Marcum | http://myitforum.com/myitforumwp/author/johnmarcum/

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 1:03 AM
  • An update: after heavely using Outlook 2013, I do agree I was more productive with Outlook 2010 due to the simple use of the preview pane. I see me enabling and disabbling it depending if I use my laptop or I dock it in and use a larger monitor. One reason I migrated was the use of excel which I think 2013 is better.

    Again, MS should implement enhancements like these ones coming from real users here in this blog.

    Luis

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 8:07 PM
  • I am in complete agreement.  I cannot believe that a company that built its foundation on business software could become so out-of-touch with its users.  This reading pane header is an absolute waste of space.  It contributes nothing to my experience and makes the reading pane useless.

    If I want pretty social features, I can get plenty of them, outside of my business software.  Please do not force me to waste desktop on features that only my teenage children find interesting, and has no place in the business communication stream.

    On top of that, Microsoft does social networking rather poorly.  If you must experiment, go make Skype work right.  I do not want Microsoft to compete with FaceBook or Apple, unless and until it gets its core stuff right. The day I see a huge mugshot in my Visual Studio... well, I don't even want to think about it.

    Diane, you're a saint for taking on this thread.  Lots of upset people here.  Please add my vote to the "death to the header" list!

    Cheers,
    Emerson Swan
    CEO, Cygnusoft Inc. (custom software is our life)
    Microsoft Partner for over 10 years

    Monday, July 15, 2013 9:04 AM
  • As this was noted in Feb 2013 as an issue (and probably earlier) I wondered if you were any closer to resolving the issue?

    I am a bottom reader and like several other people who have commented in this thread find using right hand view almost unusable due to the way I sort and file my emails.

    I do not have Outlook as a social tool, it is for business and this 'pretty' look is anything but.  To be able to adequately preview an email I have to use at least 50% of my screen to the preview.

    Surely all you need to do is to have the ability to switch off the viewing of the photo and then lay the user, date and subject along one line instead of 3.

    Please get on and rectify this - the amount of forums out there with people stating this is a major blight to their working life is astronomical.

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013 10:17 AM
  • I would up-vote  every response in this thread if it would help send a message. By far my #1 concern with Outlook 2013 on a laptop.
    Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1:18 AM
  • For me this was only one of three major contributing factors that led me to remove Outlook 2013 from my system and go back to 2010. The performance with 2013 was horrible.

    John Marcum | http://myitforum.com/myitforumwp/author/johnmarcum/

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013 12:27 PM
  • Ditto.  If I cared what the person sending me an e-mail looked like (and I really can't think right of any reason I would), I'd already know, and if I wanted a reminder, it would be in a frame on my desk or wall, so I wouldn't need it blocking what the sender was trying to say to me.

    Why is it that it seems that everybody designing MS products for the last 5 years or so clearly doesn't use them for anything remotely resembling work?
    Sunday, July 21, 2013 5:00 PM
  • Everything needed said was said, I believe.

    I'm just here to show support to the topic and that there are many more like me, silent but bothered by the huge useless header in the preview. Please fix it!
    Thursday, July 25, 2013 7:18 AM
  • Hi All - Just a quick note about a possible PARTIAL resolution - I have a large monitor so this answer may not apply to normal size monitors.  If you are showing the Reading Pane / Preview Pane on the bottom (as I do), there is a thin line WITHIN the Reading Pane that is just above the FROM name and the right-side Icon Pictures of People.  I dragged that thin line down and that opened up the actual content of the email.  It does NOT remove the Header stuff, but at least it helped.  Again, I don't know if my setup is unique, but wanted to add this note in case it helps others.

    Rex

    • Proposed as answer by flitcraft33 Friday, July 26, 2013 4:19 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by RickHan Friday, July 26, 2013 5:11 PM
    Thursday, July 25, 2013 3:51 PM
  • Thank you for susccinctly and openly expressing the truth about this. Hard to believe such a clear defect could survive even the most cursory testing. My guess would be much of this coding was done by programers with 6 weeks of training at MIcrosoft in India who have never used this product and never will. Microsoft should embrace Henry Ford's idea that the people who build this stuff have it for their own use. A free computer with Office 2013 for every programer would be the best possible fix for the obvious glaring inadaquacies in this crap product.

    Prime rib is the ubermeat

    Friday, July 26, 2013 4:15 PM
  • Please, please fix this.Please. Really, it is a HUGE problem. Please, please, I am begging you, fix this. I do not like MOZILLA THUNDERBIRD, but please, please fix this. Really. Pretty please with sugar on top. Really, this needs to b e fixed. It is a sanity destroying aberration from beyond time and space. Please. I am begging you.

    Dan Sichel


    Prime rib is the ubermeat

    Friday, July 26, 2013 4:22 PM
  • Any updates on that? This is new behavior is "Sofa King" annoying.

    Oh, and don't tell me to use a bigger screen, I'll slap you. I'm not receiving only 1 mail a day...

    Friday, July 26, 2013 4:38 PM
  • Please, please fix this.Please. Really, it is a HUGE problem. Please, please, I am begging you, fix this. I do not like MOZILLA THUNDERBIRD, but please, please fix this. Really. Pretty please with sugar on top. Really, this needs to b e fixed. It is a sanity destroying aberration from beyond time and space. Please. I am begging you.

    Dan Sichel


    Prime rib is the ubermeat

    I am willing to take a chance on Mozilla Thunderbird; it's installed and the initial glance reveals an old-school, sparse interface to my liking.

    As Microsoft clutters up its software offerings (Internet Explorer,  Office, the successor to Hotmail) I imagine Steve Jobs is laughing hysterically, where ever he is.

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013 10:35 PM
  • Still no hint of a solution?

    Are the powers that be aware of this blunder?

    I, too, after a few weeks suffering Outlook 2013 will move back to 2010. I just expect to not loose anything in the downgrade...

    Best.

    Thursday, August 01, 2013 9:44 AM
  • We moved to office 2013 at work and I'm having this same issue. I just want a streamlined interface that gets out of my way. So add me to the list of people that would like to see this changed.

    -MC

    Friday, August 09, 2013 2:54 PM
  • Do any MVPs have an update? I'm again a 2013 trial user for my company and i'm not letting it go anywhere until this is fixed
    Tuesday, August 13, 2013 10:03 AM
  • Good bye Office 2013, hello Office 2010 again, unbelievable.
    Wednesday, August 14, 2013 12:48 AM
  • Has there been any progress on this issue or is MS just blowing off their community entirely?
    Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:39 AM
  • Any status update on this?  It's been at least 7 months since this obvious flaw has been reported.  I'm consulting to a 1,000+ seat organization interested in updating to Office 2013 and without this resolution, I'm going to have to recommend against it.
    Thursday, August 15, 2013 1:43 PM
  • Ms. Poremsky,

    Any progress on this change by MS?  When I bought 365, they said it was easier to push upgrades out to subscribers.  Where's the upgrade.  I have read all the complaints and agree that it is very short sighted on MS's part not to allow the user to set the reading pane view up any way they want it.  I do not use photos of my contacts and that placeholder is HUGE and a waste of valuable screen space.  I don't use social networks, so again a waste of valuable screen space.  Cmon, Where's the Upgrade?

    Friday, August 16, 2013 4:14 AM
  • No, sorry, no update at this time. 


    Diane Poremsky [MVP - Outlook]
    Outlook & Exchange Solutions Center
    Outlook Tips
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    Friday, August 16, 2013 5:37 AM
  • We also will be severly limiting our roll-out of Outlook 2013 due to the following issues:

      TERRIBLE use of screen space with the huge message headers.  Makes Outlook unusuable with either preview panes or when used on small screens.

      Performance is worse than the 2010 client.

      Horrendious appearence:  too much white (even on the "Dark" layout) and way too much work to customize every view to try and bring back some sense of color.

    Friday, August 23, 2013 2:00 PM
  • Sure hope this gets fixed. I use email all day and this just blows. thanks for the updates
    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 10:09 PM
  • We were evaluating Office365 with Office2013 for our business.  Luckily they offered a 30 day trial.  We will not be switching to the service due to the large header.  Ridiculous -- We are not going to buy new laptops with larger vertical space because of a larger header. 
    Wednesday, August 28, 2013 2:08 PM
  • I installed Office 2013 a few days ago.  So far, the interface is afailure on all fronts.   At first I thought it was just my sense of taste, but this one is clear.  This gets in the way of business and therefore must go.  No one in my office will be upgraded to 2013 and none of my personal clients will be advised to do so until I see some fixes, especially this issue.

    I need software that does what I need it to do, not software that tries to get me to do what you want me to do.

    Thursday, August 29, 2013 4:06 PM
  • Just got a windows 8 computer with Office 2013. After I turned off all the live tile/social crap, and got into the habit of going straight to the desktop, Windows 8 is pretty good on a touchscreen laptop. (I can see how horrible Win8 would be on a non-touchscreen computer) Office 2013 however, is getting uninstalled.  I've noticed that a lot of things are simply less efficient, and not being able to see much text in the Outlook preview pain is the deal breaker. This thread was started in February. After 6 months of being open, I don't have high hopes it's going to be resolved any time soon.
    Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:15 PM
  • This will give some relief. 

    If you don't want to display photo when viewing an Email item in Outlook 2013, please refer to the steps below:

    1. Click "File", and then click "Options".
    2. Navigate to "People".
    3. Uncheck "Show user photographs when available" under "Online status and photographs".

    Monday, September 02, 2013 11:47 AM
  • Hallo everyone,

    I write in the hope of a solution (alert of it)

    Thursday, September 05, 2013 3:31 PM
  • Please, please, please add your voice to the list of users if you are frustrated by this pointless arrangement/limitation.  It is insane that this issue has not yet been addressed.  Ms. Poremsky... please add my name to the "petition".  Thanks!

    ------------

    A. PITA
    MCSA/MCSE/MCITP (2008, 2003, 2000, NT)
    MCT since 1997.

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 4:20 PM
  • Add me to this list. This is a huge waste of viewing space. Seems that this would be a relatively easy option to add to Outlook.
    Thursday, September 12, 2013 2:46 PM
  • Just installed Outlook 2013, and this is a deal breaker. Please, listen to the many voices asking a change in this. Let us minimize the header in the reading pane. This makes this version of Outlook unusable on regular notebook computers.
    Friday, September 13, 2013 8:29 AM
  • Add me to the list as well. Can't stand the 2013 preview pane. I actually like the office for XP the best, easy to learn and to change settings.
    Sunday, September 15, 2013 5:05 PM
  • I'm not sure what to say. It's been 6 months since my customers started revolting against Office 2013, and the idiots at MS could give a darn less what their customers need ... not even a hint that they recognize the mess they've made or that they intend to fix it someday.

    The deafening silence from the managers of MS Office indicates that they truly have divorced their business customers needs and intend to continue to pursue an iPad User Interface for their future Business Systems.

    Meanwhile, my customers have revolted en masse and are no longer upgrading ... either Windows or Office systems. Our company is being engaged to develop deployment plans for OEM versions of Windows 7 (Windows 8 is a disaster in our business customers) and OEM Office 2007 ... we can give them to our customers at half the price of Windows 8 and Office 2013 ... and there is no training ... and they no longer have to worry about Microsoft forgetting business customers and chasing skirts and the new young kids.

    Customers overwhelmingly indicate Windows 7 is their 7 year plan, and Office 2007 has everything they need (hint: they could give a damn if Outlook is Facebook compatible, LOL).


    Steve Jumonville http://www.affordablecomputingnw.com


    • Edited by Steve Jum Monday, September 16, 2013 6:26 AM
    Monday, September 16, 2013 6:25 AM
  • Perhaps Microsoft is giving up on the business segment of the market?  I've been more than patient with this crappy product.  It's slower than the previous version and not remotely useable as a mail client in the business setting.  There are relatively simple fixes that will enable this product to be useable but Microsoft apparently could care less.  Thunderbird makes a nice mail client and it's free.  I really dont want to downgrade and am hoping that at some point Microsoft will see the light.  BUT the part that concerns me the most is that Microsoft hasn't even acknowledged that it's a problem worth addressing.  At least tell me if you plan to fix it.
    Monday, September 16, 2013 6:25 PM
  • We need a +1, or should it be a -1, on these forums ;)

    +1 or -1 for the headers
    +1 or -1 for the colors as well. Very little contrast and being color deficient I can't say I particularly like the new color settings (understatement).

    Thursday, September 19, 2013 8:04 AM
  • Any update to this since February, The reading pane, is a real pain, completely useless, half my screen real-estate is white space with no useful information on it. If you go to open the message on its own window it is very slow.
    Thursday, September 26, 2013 7:39 AM
  • Same issue, downgrading to Office 2010 which at least will allow horizontal reading pane without excessive header noise if I'm reading these comments right.
    Wednesday, October 02, 2013 8:28 PM
  • Office 2010 was an absolute peach. I think 2013 looks great, and there are some interesting new features. But the reading pane detail header problem is baffling, for two reasons:

    1) Why was it ever considered a good idea (so good that they offer no way for the user to adjust it)?

    2) After all the complaints, and all the people rolling back to old versions, and all the time, why no action to fix it?

    I'm perplexed. Diane's done a great job of fielding comments here and it's hugely appreciated. I just hope the people making the update decisions are listening.

    As a further comment on the baffling nature of the reading pane... if they are going to make such a large detail header, why not assimilate attachment and category information into it, too? All that space to the right of the date and 'from' name, wasted. When you have an email with attachments and a category, the whole problem is magnified further.

    Does anyone know what the latest is? It's been over eight months.

    David

    Wednesday, October 09, 2013 2:11 PM
  • We've heard nothing from Microsoft on this issue. Nothing. They have made it crystal clear that they just don't care what we think.


    • Edited by ABCFED Wednesday, October 09, 2013 4:13 PM
    Wednesday, October 09, 2013 4:10 PM
  • The huge, space consuming header has got to go.   Please build in an option for a smaller, leaner header ASAP.

    Diane, I do appreciate your genuine, uncanned responses in this thread!

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013 10:54 PM
  • I've recently moved to a new PC and Outlook 2013, I've been using Outlook since I could use a PC and 2013 is terrible, the Reader Pane issue should have been solved, it's pure arrogance on the companies behalf. I've spent the majority of the time on setting up the PC on Outlook and it's rubbish, a complete waste of time, you can't read it easilly. The people responsible should be brought to boot for their inactions and not listening to loyal customers.
    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 3:25 PM
  • I am a student that is starting a business and this issue is bothering me too. 

    When financial issues are taken into account, it is even more an issue. 

    All I wish is to make my dream come true in helping others with computer solutions. If I could have an upgrade as soon as possible, please advise. stephaniec03031234@hotmail.com

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:25 PM
  • Deafening silence on MS side.

    I am always amazed what logic runs MS

    This is just like the file explorer of 2007 remapping the folder position if you double click it.They build in irritating features to not loose the chance to warrant "upgrades"

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:39 PM
  • Diane, has there been any update about this display issue?  I just upgraded and am struggling.  I appreciate your help.  Thank you
    Wednesday, October 30, 2013 3:49 PM
  • It's obvious no one cares about our complaints, this page goes back to February, why not put a link onto your Facebook page to shame the company and ask your friends To Share. It's about time Microsoft gave a damn about it's customers. There is/has to be an easy technical solution to this, it's terrible we have to shame them into it.
    Tuesday, November 05, 2013 4:37 PM
  • This is ridiculous.  This is poor design for an enterprise product.  Perhaps your goal was to reach the consumer with outlook.com, but you hijacked a main feature.

    Thunderbird?

    Friday, November 08, 2013 2:15 PM
  • Very strange that problem is still not resolved...

    Don't understand logic of people who made this ... If i had small screen what should i do?

    Friday, November 08, 2013 8:30 PM
  • They finally fixed the Upcoming days Todo bar pane!!

    Any chance the ridiculously huge Header is next on the list?

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013 4:29 PM
  • same here,

    here a screenshot example (without people picture) from http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/172/t/155795.aspx

    Example

    Tuesday, December 03, 2013 4:41 PM
  • So, any progress on this?
    Friday, December 06, 2013 2:22 PM
  • This problem has been fixed as of version 15.0.4551.1005 (check your version by File, Office Account, under Office Update).  Details are in the Microsoft Community thread "Remove the message header in the reading pane"; I don't seem to be able to post the link here.

    It is a good sign that something got fixed. 

    If they fix the washed out look and icons that are almost indistinguishable on a Surface screen I might even renew Office 365 rather than go back to Office 2010.


    • Edited by Mickey Segal Thursday, December 12, 2013 9:40 PM problem fixed
    Thursday, December 12, 2013 9:21 PM
  • If you are running the latest updates for Outlook 2013 there was a change in the November Public Update to add a "Minimal Header" feature.  For example, my reading pane is on the bottom.  If I am clicked onto a message there is now an expand/collapse option in the message header.  We are not able to completely hide the header but it is an improvement.

    Thursday, December 12, 2013 9:48 PM
  • This is still an eyesore and a complete waste of space

    Every piece of ms 2013 software, including windows 8, is garbage

    Just the interface itself is terrible but once you start using it you find the workflow stinks

    I have downgraded to win7

    vs 2012, wish i could go to 2010

    I am stuck with office 2013 so

    When is the team going to fix the complaints or are you just going to do the usual and ignore them?

    Friday, December 27, 2013 5:47 PM
  • Sorry,

    but after a year of almost no changes, the entire Office 2013 suite still sucks. Worst. Office. Ever.

    Thanks to the entire Office team who has continually ignored this issue over the past year. That takes great skill to suck that much.

    Saturday, December 28, 2013 3:48 PM
  • These are the exact same problems I noticed. The reading pane's header and the colors. I can deal with the colors on the darkest mode but the reading pane is a real issue!
    Thursday, January 02, 2014 8:56 PM

    • File-> Options-> People-> disable: Show user photographs when available

    Restart Outlook, and the pictures won’t show anymore.

    Better late than never.....

    Tuesday, January 07, 2014 9:51 PM
  • Yes, what a drag that the header in the preview pane is gigantic and takes up too much space. This problem is still bad with the reading pane all the way to the right with maximum vertical space. Maybe with legalized marijuana those MS designers are smoking too much grass and have lost all sense of perspective. And they've certainly abandoned their core customers. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE FIX THIS NOW! 
    Saturday, January 18, 2014 12:04 PM
  • Please check http://www.pcandtablet.com/outlook-2013/1050/how-to-disable-displaying-the-picture-of-sender-in-the-reading-pane-in-outlook-2013-a.html

    It will prevent the photo.

    In short:

    goto "File"  --> "Options" --> "Persons" --> Deselect "Show user photographs when available"

    Restart Outlook.

    • Proposed as answer by JeroenM72 Monday, January 20, 2014 11:02 PM
    Monday, January 20, 2014 11:01 PM
  • I totally agree with the above complains: we cannot perform a speedy reading of hundred of email with the email layout we are forced to use today in Office 2013!!!

    Removing the photograph is not enough. All this makes our work clumsy and highly inefficient.


    Wednesday, January 22, 2014 4:54 PM
  • I upgraded to office 2010

    all the 2012/2013 products are fluff and do not work right

    Don't ever change your default email folder, all your email will disapear

    Friday, January 31, 2014 7:39 PM
  • The solution provided by JeroenM72 helped, because the photo placeholder took a a large chunk of space.  That said, Microsoft will fix this.  They would look foolish if they didn't.  With devices and screens getting smaller, it is very strange that they've designed this product to waste so much space.  It makes you wonder if the people who desinged this don't need to read email to get work done. 

    John Sorbel DBA

    Tuesday, February 04, 2014 1:22 PM
  • See:  http://superuser.com/questions/518077/reduce-visual-redundancies-in-outlook-2013

    "It looks like the most recent MS Office update (version 15.0.4551.1011) adds an option that allows for the message header in the reading pane to be collapsed...  Once toggled, it should remain collapsed while switching among messages. Go to the File tab -> Office Account to check your version and update."

    Turn off File | Options | People previews, and its downright usable!


    Wednesday, February 05, 2014 12:46 PM
  • This is driving me crazy too! Enough that I have wasted an hour of business time to try and find a solution. For some, this may be a casual social application. But, for everyone I know it is a business application. For those of use that want "information at our finger tips" an option for a compact header would be great. It's too bad we can't edit the entire header display.

    Perhaps the dev team could offer us a header view dropdown that offers none, compact and social.

    So far I have been disappointed with the general design of Outlook 2013. All of the office tools are used by myself and my peers as business tools not casual social media interfaces. An application should be designed of it's audience and not driven by trends.

    Additionally, I also agree with all of the messages I have read on the internet complaining that the flat grey look is not easy on the eyes; perhaps distracting, possibly wasting productivity time. I have make sure my laptop screen is positioned just right so I can distinguish one thing from another. I have tried the limited grey color choices.

    Lastly, is there a way to stop the scroll bar from popping on and off as I go back and forth from the Outlook folders and the list of messages pane? I have a lot of folders and a lot of messages. Aside from the visual annoyance of it's flashing on and off, it is annoying to not know where my scroll bar handle is when I am moving my mouse into the folders pane. I would prefer just to have it on at all times.

    Thank you, Bob


    Bob Moyers

    Monday, March 24, 2014 10:10 PM
  • Any updates on this? 
    Monday, August 18, 2014 4:30 PM
  • Can't do that, because the top of the reading pane is 100% NOISE

    I totally agree with your statement.

    Microsoft seems to go for more and more design and style and less for functionality and usability :(

    Low contrast themes and degraded calendar functionality are some other flaws introduced in OL2013.

    Thursday, September 18, 2014 9:05 AM
  • It's a problem on netbooks and tablets too - even with the pane on the right -  and needs to be fixed.

    Don't they do any end user testing on various devices anymore?

    Microsoft office has degraded in so many ways from 2003 that it's almost unbelievable to me.

    Thursday, September 18, 2014 9:12 AM