When I check my email, I often rely on the message snippets to figure out which messages to open first. Sometimes, though, I want to see more than snippets, which is why I’m happy to announce that you can now preview messages in your inbox using a new feature in Gmail Labs called Preview Pane. It’s probably a very familiar layout to those of you who have used Gmail on a tablet device. We also think it’s going to work especially well if you have a larger resolution screen.

Click the image above to see a larger version.

After you enable Preview Pane from the Labs tab in Gmail Settings you’ll see a toggle button in the top right corner of your message list, which lets you switch between preview and list views.

For those of you who have more vertical space you can also move the preview pane below your message list. You can enable this using the dropdown arrow next to the toggle button:

By default there is a 3-second delay in marking a conversation as read after previewing it. If that doesn’t feel natural to you, you can change the timing in the General tab of settings:

If you’d like to remove the new layout, simply return to Gmail Settings and disable the lab. Finally, don’t forget to let us know what you think about the latest addition to Gmail Labs.