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Hands-on: Gmail Preview Pane

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Google is giving Microsoft one hell of a compliment. Yesterday Google rolled out Preview Panes in Gmail Labs, a new feature which allows Gmail users to view emails in a side panel, just like you can in Microsoft Office though the Google blog likens the new feature to using Gmail on a tablet. However you want to slice it, Preview Panes is a convenient way to view your mail, eliminating the step of having to go back to the inbox every time you want to read a new message.

Continue reading to learn how to set up Preview Panes in your Gmail account.

Sign into your Gmail account. From there click on the Settings Icon and select Labs from the dropdown menu.

Locate Preview Panes in the Labs feature list and click Enable.

Save your changes, and return to the inbox screen. Then click on the list icon located in the navigation pane at the far right. The screen can be toggled between vertical, horizontal, or no split depending on your preference.

After selecting your viewing preference, simply click on an email to view.

Users can also adjust how long it takes for the Preview Pane to mark a previewed email as read. To do that, first click on the Settings Icon and select Mail Settings from the dropdown menu.

Scroll down to the Preview Pane section and choose from 3 seconds, 1 second, immediately, and never from the Mark as Read option.

To disable Preview Pane, simple go to Labs and click Disable.

So there you have it. Will you be taking Preview Pane for a test drive?