SOLVED! Outlook Reading Pane Does Not Display Email Content

At the moment, there is no shortage of email clients but for most Windows users around the globe, it’s impossible to go wrong with Outlook. Boasting everything that people need in an email client and more, Outlook proves handy on a lot of occasions. However, Outlook still sometimes experiences errors like “This item cannot be displayed in the reading pane. Open the item to read its contents” too. Read to the end if your Outlook reading pane does not display email content and you don’t know why. 

A Few Fixes

Outlook Reading Pane Does Not Display Email Content

Outlook could act up from time to time but if Outlook reading pane does not display email content, you should try out these measures.

Forward Message 

If you can’t open the message in Outlook’s Reading pane, consider forwarding it. If you have an email account that isn’t on Outlook, forward the message to that account. Aside from that, you make use of the web app. All you have to do is to go to, log into your account and see if you can read the problematic mail. 

Run Outlook In Safe Mode

One way to overcome the reading pane issue is to take advantage of Safe Mode. By doing so, you could circumvent many errors including “This item cannot be displayed in the reading pane. Open the item to read its contents”. 

  • Step 1: Press Windows + R to open Run.
  • Step 2: Type outlook.exe/safe and hit Enter.

Assuming Outlook could open the mail with relative ease in Safe Mode, you could conclude that one of your add-ins is messing up its performance. In that case, you should turn off the add-ins:

  • Step 1: Choose File, select Options and hit Add-ins.
  • Step 2: Proceed to click Manage Add-ins.
  • Step 3: Pick Go then uncheck the checkboxes next to the add-ins.

After you finish disabling the add-in, exit Outlook, launch it and see how things turn out. 

Repair Profile 

If the issue persists, there is a chance that something might be wrong with your Outlook profile. To determine whether the profile is at fault, you should repair your Outlook profile at the earliest opportunity. 

  • Step 1: Go to Search bar, type control panel and hit Enter.
  • Step 2: Choose Mail and select Email Accounts.
  • Step 3: In Email tab, pick your account and click Repair. Proceed to follow the on-screen instructions, hit Finish and restart Outlook.

Update/Repair Office 

As Outlook is part of the Office Suite, Outlook would go haywire if Office came across problems. Hence, when Outlook reading pane does not display email content, you should update/repair Office.


  • Step 1: Open Outlook, choose File and select your Office account.
  • Step 2: Hit Update Options and pick Update Now.
  • Step 3: Allow the update to run all the way. 


  • Step 1: Open Control Panel and click Programs and Features.
  • Step 2: Hit the Office installation package and click Change.
  • Step 3: Tick either Quick Repair or Online Repair then pick Repair. 

What Should I Do If My Outlook Won’t Open?

If Outlook refuses to run even after multiple attempts, it won’t hurt to reboot your device. Besides that, you could open Task Manager and see how many Outlook processes are running. Outlook has a tendency to hang up when two or three Outlook “sessions” are running side-by-side. To return things to normal, you will have to end all the sessions and restart Outlook. 

How Come My Outlook Is Unable To Send Emails?

Start off by checking your Internet connection and making sure you are connected to the internet. In case you don’t know, it’s not uncommon for Outlook not to send/receive emails if connection to the Internet is inconsistent. For good measure, feel free to restart or reset your internet connection (Wi-Fi, hot spot, or Ethernet cable). 

If the internet connection doesn’t seem to be the root cause, you should repair your Outlook and see if it helps. For this, you may start off by closing all of your Microsoft Office applications. After that, search Apps & Features in the search bar then press Enter. Navigate to Microsoft Office, click it and choose Modify. Select Yes if the user account control prompt appears. Proceed to pick Online Repair and hit Repair to initialize the repair process. After the repair process ends, restart your Outlook and see if it is able to send the emails again or not the next time you open it.

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