Here’s how to Split your screen to read and browse emails side by side in Gmail

It is a smart idea to use a descriptive subject line in Emails. However, not everyone who sends you Emails realizes this and you have to open emails to find out what that particular email is related to. To sort out this problem, Gmail has an in-built feature known as preview pane that let you read the emails without opening them on the whole screen. What this feature really does is it splits your screen into two parts so that in one half you can read the emails and on the other half you can continue browsing Gmail.

Using the reading pane feature in Gmail is a breeze, you can choose to put the reading pane on the right side of the screen so that you can view and browse messages side by side or you can put the reading pane at the bottom of the screen. This tutorial will let you know the step by step methods to enable and use the preview pane in Gmail.

How to enable preview pane using Gmail Labs?

Before you get started with using preview pane you have to enable it through Gmail labs by following the steps given below:

  1. Firstly, you need to sign in to Gmail and click on the settings gear icon from the top right corner.
  2. Click on “settings” from the drop-down menu that will appear.
  3. Open “Lab” tab.
  4. Scroll down to find “Preview Pane” lab or Type “Preview” in the search box available next to the “Search for a lab” option.
  5. Select the “Enable” radio button available next to the Preview pane lab.
  6. Click on the “Save changes” button from the bottom of the screen.
  7. You will be taken back to the inbox as soon as you click on the “Save Changes” button.

Now, the preview pane lab is active. If you find a new button appearing at the top of your Gmail inbox screen right next to the settings icon then it is a confirmation that the lab is enabled.

Adding a preview pane to your Gmail                 

After enabling the preview pane it is completely ready to use and accessible. All you need to do is put it to use in Gmail.

  1. Click on downward arrow available next to the “Toggle Split pane mode” button at the top right corner of the screen near the settings gear icon.
  2. From the appeared drop-down menu you have to choose how you want to split the screen to use preview pane.
    1. Vertical Split: If you choose this split, the content of the emails will open on the right-hand side of the screen and browse Gmail on the left-hand side of the screen.
    2. Horizontal Split: In this mode, the content of email opens in the bottom half of the screen and you browse Gmail on the upper half.

Now, you can click on any type of email, the preview pane will open it on the right-hand side or the bottom of the screen as per your preference. In case you face any kind of error message during the process then you should Contact Gmail support for further help.

How to use preview pane in Gmail in a most efficient way?

We have already explained you the process to add a preview pane in Gmail. Here are some tips by which you can use preview pane in the most optimized way.

  • If you have a widescreen monitor then it is better to go for the vertical split option because in the widescreen monitor you will have enough space to read the emails side by side.
  • If you are using a traditional monitor which is more of a square in shape then you should go for the horizontal split so that the preview pane doesn’t get truncated.
  • You can also customize the size of the split screen. All you have to do is place your cursor right over the line splitting the screen, now you can drag the line to change the size of a split screen. This will help you customize the split screen in whatever size you want.
  • When you choose either horizontal or vertical split, you can find an option of “No Split” as well. What this option does is it temporarily disables the preview pane and let you use the Gmail normally on your full screen. However, it does uninstall the lab but turns off the split screen mode you are using.

Switching between Split pane modes and No Split 

Here’s how you can switch between Split pane mode and No Split mode.

  • You don’t have to click on the downward arrow next to the “Toggle Split pane mode” button and choose the no split mode manually every time to turn off the split mode. Instead, you can directly click the “Toggle Split pane mode” and the preview pane you are using will disappear straight away.
  • If you want to switch between the reading pane modes i.e. between the vertical and horizontal pane, then you should click on the downward arrow next to the “Toggle Split pane mode” button at the top right corner of the screen and choose the correct split pane mode. However, you don’t have to reinstall, disable or refresh the preview pane in order to do this.

Note: It should be noted that switching between the reading pane modes while the email is open will “reset” the reading pane. In simple word, we can say that if you are reading an email in vertical mode and then switch to horizontal mode while the email is open then the email will be marked as read and preview pane will say no conversations selected. So, if you want to read the message in the horizontal mode then you have to reopen the email once again after switching.