Read Your E-mail, Faster

Processing e-mail can take a lot of time. And while writing responses may account for most of the time and effort, if you can speed up reading new e-mails, that helps a lot, too.

Minimizing the amount of keystrokes and clicks that I need to do my work has always been a great passion of mine. One of the Outlook features that really helps is the Reading Pane. You can display it via the main menu: View | Reading Pane | Right.

When the Reading Pane is visible, you can see the contents of the currently-selected e-mail without having to open it by hand. This removes a little bit of hassle for each e-mail, which adds up when you receive tens of hundreds of e-mails every day.

Most people that I train or coach are a little afraid of the Reading Pane, as there have been warnings of virus activity. Not to worry: in new versions, this has been fixed. The help file for Outlook 2007 states: “You can view messages safely in the Reading Pane. Potentially malicious scripts or attachments are not activated or opened automatically in the Reading Pane.”

Try it to see how it works for you.