Dec 20, 2013
I can’t believe I overlooked this. I’ve been complaining since Outlook 2013 came out about how unhappy I was that Microsoft eliminated the Minimize button for the To-Do Bar. Well, there is another button set that can be used instead, one that works pretty well and that I overlooked.
As I talked about in that earlier post, the problem with removing the Minimize button from the To-Do Bar is that when you close the To-Do Bar (using Off or using the close boxes on its sections), you have to reopen and resize all its components one by one. If you have a lot of optional sections open in it, reopening the To-Do Bar can take 7 or 8 mouse clicks. I basically concluded that, because of that, you should probably use the To-Do Bar only for tasks since closing and opening that one section is not so bad.
The Reading View Button
The button set I overlooked is the Reading View button set in the lower-right corner of the Outlook Window. It sits just to the left of the zoom control, and it’s been there since Outlook 2010. Above is how it looks in 2013. If you click the right side of that button set, it hides the To-Do Bar (and hides the Folders Pane and the Ribbon). If you click the one to the left, it reopens all of those, and the To-Do Bar opens with all its sections in-place and intact. Problem solved.
This is not exactly the same as the Minimize button, and I still hope Microsoft brings that back. But it’s not a bad replacement. The idea of this Reading View button set is that if you just want to read your mail you probably want to show as much as possible of the mail, and nothing else. Even better, if you are using the Reading Pane, that pane is the only part that get’s enlarged (not the mail list). So this button works quite well.
By the way, below is how that button set looks in Outlook 2010. And here is a link to Microsoft’s writeup of that feature.
Thanks to Wolfgang in Germany for pointing this feature out to me.