Beginning with Microsoft Outlook 2000 post-SP1 security patch, Outlook is very secure and reading messages in the preview or reading pane is actually slightly more secure than opening messages. Choose to use (or not use) the reading pane based on your habits and needs, not because of perceived insecurity. Note that Outlook 2000 SP1 and older and all builds of Outlook 98 are less secure in the preview pane and Chilton Preview is recommended (if you can find it.)
All current versions of Outlook have a reading pane, effectively killing the market for third party preview pane add-ins. However, the reading pane in Outlook 2007 and 2010 support reading attachments in the reading pane and we are including preview handlers on this page instead of message previewers.
If PDF files won't preview in Windows 64-bit, see Can't open or preview .PDF attachment in Outlook for the solution.
Adobe Reader 8.1 and above installs a preview handler for Outlook and Windows or you can use FoxIt.
For those who use Foxit Reader, not Adobe, for PDFs, there is a PDF preview handler available for Outlook 2007 and Vista.
Preview handler for zip and additonal file types. Also includes instructions for developers who wish to write their own preview handler.
Adds preview handlers for .config, .psq, .xps, "xmlfile", .resources, CSV files, SNP files, MPE files.
Add Preview Handlers for Outlook 2007
Vista includes some built-in preview handlers but if you want to preview more file types in the Reading pane, you'll need to install preview handlers. Instructions for writing your own handlers along with some common file types are available in Stephen Toub's managed preview handlers. (The ZIP preview handler requires Microsoft Visual J#® 2.0 Redistributable Package- install it before installing the preview handler.)
You'll need to download the code (PreviewHandlers2007_01.exe) linked at the top of the MSDN page. After installing the exe, look for the PreviewHandlers setup.msi in the \PreviewHandlers\Installer path and double click to run it.
Tip: If you use WinZip or similar, right click on PreviewHandlers2007_01.exe after downloading and extract to a folder. Open that folder and repeat - open the Installer folder to find PreviewHandlers setup.msi.
If you use Windows XP, you need to do the following to install the handlers:
- Install Microsoft Visual J#® 2.0 Redistributable Package
- Install Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package
- Install PrevHandlerPack from //www.azarfamily.org/previewhandlersforwindowsxp#download. This package includes Stephen Toub's managed preview handlers.
Stephen Toub's preview handler editor utility: Preview Handler Association Editor
If you have an ActiveX control for a file type, see Get Preview of More File Types/Extensions in WDS 3.01/4.0 Preview Pane on Windows Xp for instructions to set it up as a preview handler.