How to turn on Gmail's new preview pane Use Microsoft Outlook or Apple’s Mail application to check your email? If so, you’re probably familiar with the preview pane, which lets you peek at the body of an email without having to switch back and forth between your inbox and an individual message.

It’s a handy, time-saving feature that’s been absent from Gmail’s otherwise excellent web-based interface—until now, that is.

Here’s how to turn it on.

How to turn on Gmail's new preview pane

Just click the button to turn on Gmail's new preview pane.

  • Open Gmail, click the little gear icon in the upper-right corner of the page, then select Mail Settings.
  • On the Settings page, find the “Labs” tab along the top of the page and click it.
  • Scroll down the Gmail Labs page until you find the entry for Preview Pane, then click Enable.
  • Scroll to the very bottom of the page and click the “Save Changes” button.
  • When you return to your Gmail inbox, you should see something new in the top-right corner of the screen: a button for turning the new preview-pane view on and off. Go ahead and click the button now.
  • After a few moments, your two-column inbox view (folders to the left, messages on the right) will switch to a three-column view, complete with the new preview pane. Just select a message to see the preview pane in action.
  • Want the preview pane to appear below your inbox rather than next to it? Go back to the preview-pane button in the top-right corner of your Gmail inbox, click the little arrow to the right, and select Horizontal Split; now, the preview pane will switch to the bottom of your message list.
How to turn on Gmail's new preview pane

Gmail's new preview pane, split horizontally.

Have more Gmail questions? Let me know!