Turn off “read” status when using the reading pane
Question: When I get an email, I have a reading pane open so I can read the email without opening it. If I move my curser to another email, the previous email changes from a unopened email to an opened email. I don’t like this feature and would like to turn it off.
Answer: If you are using Outlook 2010, you can select View > Reading Pane > Options. Then make sure to uncheck the top two boxes next to “Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane” and “Mark item as read when selection changes.” If using Outlook 2007 select Tools > Options > Other tab > Reading pane. In Outlook web access you can change by going to Options > Settings > Mail and unchecking first two Reading Pane options. With Outlook 2011 for the Mac, you can find this under Outlook > Preferences > Reading (under Email) and select one of three options under Mark mail as read.
You can also right click on a message and select Mark as read or unread. In addition, you might also find the shortcut keys Ctrl Q (read status)and Ctrl U (unread status) useful when changing from read to unread status when using Outlook 2007, 2010 or OWA. With Outlook 2011 you use Cmd+T to mark select messages read or Shift +Cmd+ T to mark as unread.