How to Stop Previewed Messages in Gmail from Being Marked as Read

Are you tired of Gmail marking your previewed messages as read? Don’t worry, it’s a common issue but one that can be easily fixed. In just a few simple steps, you can adjust your settings so that only the messages you actually open are marked as read. Say goodbye to the frustration of trying to remember which emails you’ve actually read and which ones just looked at in the preview pane.

Step by Step Tutorial: Stop Previewed Messages from Being Marked as Read in Gmail

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about what we’re going to do. Gmail has an option that allows you to adjust when an email is marked as read. By changing this setting, you can stop emails from being marked as read just because you previewed them in the reading pane.

Step 1: Open Gmail Settings

To stop previewed messages from being marked as read, you first need to access your Gmail settings.

Once you’re logged into Gmail, click on the gear icon in the top right corner of the screen, and then select “See all settings” from the dropdown menu. This will take you to the general settings area where you can make various adjustments to your Gmail account.

Step 2: Go to the Advanced Tab

The next step is to navigate to the ‘Advanced’ tab within your Gmail settings.

You’ll see a series of tabs across the top of the settings page. Click on the one that says “Advanced.” Here, you’ll find a collection of additional features that you can enable or disable for your Gmail account.

Step 3: Enable ‘Preview Pane’

Now, it’s time to enable the ‘Preview Pane’ feature.

In the ‘Advanced’ tab, look for the “Preview Pane” option and click on the ‘Enable’ radio button next to it. This feature allows you to see a preview of your emails without opening them, which is what can sometimes cause them to be marked as read.

Step 4: Save Changes

Finally, you need to save your changes to ensure that previewed messages won’t be marked as read anymore.

After you’ve enabled the ‘Preview Pane’ feature, scroll down to the bottom of the settings page and click on the “Save Changes” button. This will apply the new setting to your account, and you’ll be taken back to your inbox.

After completing these steps, whenever you preview an email in Gmail, it won’t be marked as read unless you explicitly open it. This means that even if you glance at a message in the preview pane, it will still show as unread until you decide to read it fully.

Tips to Stop Previewed Messages from Being Marked as Read in Gmail

  • Make sure to click “Save Changes” after you adjust your settings, or the changes won’t be applied.
  • You can also use keyboard shortcuts to navigate through your inbox without marking messages as read.
  • If you use Gmail on mobile, check your app settings as they might have separate options for marking messages as read.
  • Consider arranging your inbox by importance or unread messages to keep track of which emails need your attention.
  • Experiment with different inbox types (like Priority Inbox or Starred First) to see if they help you manage your read and unread messages better.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if the changes have been saved?

After clicking “Save Changes” in your Gmail settings, you should be automatically redirected back to your inbox. If this happens, it means your changes have been saved successfully.

Can I apply these changes to the Gmail mobile app?

These changes are specific to the web version of Gmail. For the mobile app, you’ll need to check the settings within the app itself as they may have different options available.

Will enabling ‘Preview Pane’ change the layout of my inbox?

Yes, enabling the ‘Preview Pane’ feature may change the layout of your inbox slightly to accommodate the preview pane. You can adjust the size and location of the pane to your liking.

Can I mark an email as read without opening it?

Yes, even with these changes, you can still manually mark an email as read by clicking on the ‘Mark as read’ button or using the appropriate keyboard shortcut.

What happens if I disable the ‘Preview Pane’ feature later?

If you choose to disable the ‘Preview Pane’ feature, your Gmail will revert back to its default behavior, which may include marking previewed messages as read.


  1. Open Gmail Settings
  2. Go to the Advanced Tab
  3. Enable ‘Preview Pane’
  4. Save Changes


In conclusion, having control over which emails are marked as read can significantly improve your email management and productivity. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to stop Gmail from marking your previewed messages as read. Remember that staying organized and knowing exactly which emails need your attention can make a big difference in your workflow. So, take a few moments to adjust your Gmail settings, and enjoy a more efficient inbox.

If you ever find yourself struggling to remember if you’ve actually read an email or just previewed it, refer back to this guide for a quick fix. And don’t forget, there are plenty of other features and settings in Gmail that can help you optimize your email experience. Why not explore them and see how you can further enhance your email productivity?

Happy emailing, and remember, a clean inbox is a happy inbox!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy