Friday, June 1, 2001

Solutions for your Preview pains


By Dan Velasco

Sometimes tips take on lives of their own. Take, for example, the series of tips on the Preview Pane that I've done recently for the weekly DominoPower Tips (which you can sign up for by going to and entering your email address in the gold box on the main page). It started with a simple observation I made about not using the Preview Pane Default feature much in R5. It slowly grew, however, into an investigation into how to get the Preview Pane Default feature working as expected for R5 mail. This spawned two more tips, including one of the longest tips that I've ever written. It's only fitting, therefore, that I give you all of the tips here, uncut, so that you can see both how the original tip evolved and what different approaches you can use to solve the problem for yourself.

Playing with the Preview Pane Default database option in R5

As I said, one of the Notes features that I don't use to its full potential is the Preview Pane Default database property. It's a simple way to change how you view database information that often gets overlooked. To change the Preview Pane Default property for any database, simply right-click on the database and choose Database-->Properties. Go to the launch tab (the rocket), and you'll see the Preview Pane Default button about halfway down the tab. Click on it, and you'll see your choices are Bottom Right, Bottom, and Right. Select the one you like and then click OK.

I've found that this works best when used in conjunction with the "Restore as last viewed by user" Notes launch property, since I can resize the panes to my liking and have them stay that way. Try playing with this setting with your mail file or another database you use often to see how a small change can affect how you view a database.

R5 Mail and the Preview Pane Default

An interesting thing happened after I wrote that tip about the Preview Pane Default database property. I got a message from alert reader Rob Falk, who talked about how he couldn't get the Preview Pane Default option to work correctly for his users. Whenever users would open their mail databases, the Preview Pane would be collapsed. Through further investigation, I found out a few interesting problems and some solutions as well.

By default, the R5 mail database has a launch property to "Open designated Frameset-->MailFS". When this option is selected, the Preview Pane Default button is grayed out. If you switch the launch property to another option, such as "Restore as last viewed by user", then the Preview Pane Default button will once again become available. An easy way to tell what your database is set to do this is to look at the left-hand pane. If it says "Mail" at the top, it's using the MailFS frameset, and if just says your name in small letters, it's opening the mail file using regular panes.