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Outlook hide message header bug

A useful little feature in Outlook 2010 has been dropped but not removed from the menus.

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Outlook 2010 has a handy feature to recover some more space for the message reading pane – what a pity it doesn’t work.

Screen space is a scare commodity, especially in Outlook 2010 with its many different panes, buttons and the ribbon. Anything that can let the user recover space for another purpose is welcome.

In this case Microsoft has (inexplicably) removed a feature but neglected to remove the option from the Outlook settings!

In Outlook 2010, there should be an option to turn off the message header information above the reading pane.

Outlook - message header above reading pane image from Outlook hide message header bug at

In Outlook 2007 you can recover that space to see more of the message, only the subject line is shown. Most of the information in the header is also in the message list anyway.

To remove the header you are supposed to go to the Advanced View settings.

Outlook 2010 - Hide header information image from Outlook hide message header bug at

What a pity the option doesn’t work in Outlook 2010! Check the box, click OK twice to return to the view and there’s no change. Go back to the View settings dialog and the option has been UNchecked again.

The feature works fine in Outlook 2007 at View | Current View | Customize Current View | Other Settings.

This isn’t the first time an Office option doesn’t work despite being known during the testing period. Microsoft is strangely unwilling to change dialog boxes even to fix spelling mistakes!

In this case it would seem simple to hide the option in the dialog box (in programming terms there’s a flag on the control to show/hide). The check box would be there but hidden from users until the bug is fixed. Microsoft won’t do that and instead leaves customers to waste time on a tempting feature that doesn’t work.

The bigger mystery is why remove the hide header option at all? What was the mindset that led to removing a feature and then didn’t bother to even hide the control of the now omitted feature? Outlook is a complex product but surely someone noticed before public release?

Microsoft’s KB notice is at

Article posted: Thursday, 30 September 2010

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