Back in 2005, I shared a tip about how to read the next (or previous) unread message in Outlook 2003. This method does not work in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, because the Next and Previous button on the QAT don’t include additional commands on the flyout.
My own preference is an Unread Search folder or a custom view that hides read messages, over using these buttons but if you prefer reading in an opened message form, you can customize the QAT (or Ribbon) on an open message to add Next Unread, Next from Sender, Next in Conversation. There are also Previous versions of each command.
To add the buttons to the QAT:
- Open a message and expand the menu in the QAT and select More Commands
- In Choose commands From, select All Commands
- Tab or mouse into the list of command and press O to jump down the list.
- Select Next Item from Sender and click Add.
- Repeat with Next in Conversation Topic (if desired) and Next Unread.
- Repeat for the Previous Unread if desired.
Note: the icon is a green ball for each. It can’t be changed.
Close the Customize dialog and now you can jump to the next unread message or next message from sender.
The Next Unread button is not working as expected in Outlook 2010 – it triggers a useless “Cannot open the next item” error, but moves to the next item, which will open when you click the button a second time.
Tip 307: Shortcuts for Reading the Next Message – for Outlook 2003.
Published June 27, 2012. Last updated on May 16, 2013.