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Set Outlook to only mark as read when you open an email

A while back, a customer complained that Outlook always marked emails as read when he clicked over to another email, and wanted to know if there was a setting that would change this behavior. As it turns out, there is. Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to File -> Options
  • Go to Mail
  • Scroll down to Outlook panes, and click “Reading Pane”
  • Uncheck the option “Mark item as read when selection changes”:
Screenshot of Outlook Options, navigated to Mail, with the Reading Pane options dialog box open. The option "Mark item as read when selection changes" is highlighted.

Once you click OK to close the dialog boxes, the behavior should change, and you will have to either mark emails as read, or open them, to have them show as being read.

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