Geek Stuff

Disable The People Pane In Outlook 2010 [How-To]

One of the great features in Office Outlook 2010 is the social feature, aka the People Pane.  The People Pane does look very promising. (IE: Tracks Social Activities from RSS Feeds, Twitter <enter social network here>, Recent Conversations, Status Updates, Calendar Items, Attachments, etc. from the selected contact.)  Since the product is in Beta and not fully working it does take up A LOT of room especially if you’ve enabled the preview pane.  With that in mind, let’s get rid of it!


Who knows, perhaps when a few of the social networking plug-ins become available for Outlook 2010 the People Pane will be more useful.


Until then, if minimizing the People Pane isn’t good enough (just Click the Down arrow on the right-side of it) you always have the option to disable it completely.

the people pane is annoying and takes up half of your screen in outlook 2010


Wow, what a space hog, let’s disable it!


How To Remove The Annoying People Pane From Outlook 2010 Emails


1.   Click the View tab, then Click the People Pane button.  From the People Pane menu, Click the Off option.

how to turn off the people pane in Microsoft office outlook 2010


Viola, that was a simple solution and one more annoyance marked off the list!  We can always come back later and re-enable it if we decide to use the Outlook 2010 People Pane.



  1. ShockerSH

    Yeah I'm kinda torn on the People Pane myself. I like the extra info regarding emails and calendar items from the user but… it does take up a lot of room.

    Personally I keep it minimized.

    What about the preview pane? Do you keep it on the bottom, right or disabled?

  2. Izzmo

    I don't mind it. It sits minimized on my preview pane, which is on the right side.

    I have a 23″ monitor, so I have a lot of real estate to use up.

    At this point, I haven't had a need for the people pane yet as I do not work in a big office environment anymore where I think is where that would come in handy most of the time. Especially with Exchange, people pictures and information would probably be auto-populated.

  3. MrGroove

    You know, for whatever reason with Outlook 2007 I always kept the preview pane on the bottom but now that after using Outlook 2010 for the last week I tried to keep it on the right side and I'm actually getting used to it and…. I like it. ;)

    People Pane, I think its nice. LIke Izzmo said, I do work in a large office so it's very handing to have the other details. The Social aspects of it are still limited (Sharepoint only) but I personally leave it open.

    Still, good article groovyDexter!


  4. ShockerSH

    Yeah I'm in a corp environment so the exchange/outlook is linked to Sharepoint so we get all ppl's pics in there. Still, until more social networks are added I keep it minimized. takes up WAY to much real estate.

  5. ShockerSH

    Ya know, I tried the right side but i just don't like it that not all my columns show up…. bottom for me… I never actually OPEN email, preview pane for the win.

  6. Sapient

    Thank you. Saved me from some frustration

  7. Schmedlap

    Thanks – around here we call it the people pain!

    • MrGroove

      Yeah, I’ll admit, personally I don’t use it. I just use the Outlook Search for anything I want/need. It’s just special eye candy that takes up to much room when I’m doing email.

  8. Wodaman

    I added the linked in connection but found it suspicious how in the people I may know window in linked in showed people who I recently recieved emails and in no way would know otherwise.

    I have now decided to remove it completely…

  9. John M. Oudenaar

    Does anyone know how to completely disable the social network connector and people pane.
    I know that I can turn it off, but that does not mean it doesn’t send the attachments.
    This feature can cause us a lot of problems with the privacy legislation.
    We are a law firm and have to be extremely careful.
    We just changed a week ago from XP and Offcie 2003 to Windows 7 and Offcie 2010.
    I have spend an entire morning trying to disable this feature without success.
    Even though I deleted the social network option in the options of Outlook, it still sends out attachments.
    My tech people have been working on this as well, without any luck.

    Any help in totally eliminating this from Outlook 2010 would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

    • Timothy Takemoto

      I hope that Elizabeth’s answer below is correct – that the people pain (sic) is just a search feature that displays whatever is related in the Outlook in which it sits rather than attaching anything to email as John M. Oudenaar suggests.

      I have windows search turned off because I STILL use the wonderful Google Desktop which works far faster so the pain did not work for me anyway and displayed nothing.

  10. Elizabeth

    The People Pane feature just grabbed a bunch of old emails and attached them to a new email I sent a client. I did not realize it was doing this (I must have accidentally enabled the People Pane in View). But I believe my client has now received some very private personal emails, such a family member’s health information, as well as emails ABOUT my client that I sent to a co-worker that my client should never, ever have seen.

    Can someone please verify for me that this has happened? That is, when I look at the email I sent to my client, it appears that he can open and read all the old emails that Outlook attached? Or is that view only on my PC? This is a very urgent issue for my company.

  11. Elizabeth

    Update: On a Microsoft community forum, it was explained to me that the People Pane feature only displays data on the PC of the person sending the email–it’s like a search folder. I’m told it does NOT actually send all the data in the email. I was confused because when I forwarded the email to another email program, and could see the data in the forwarded email, I thought this verified that the data was actually physically attached to the email. However, it was displayed to me because the People Pane view was enabled.

    To turn off the People Pane, go to View, People Pane, select Off.

    • Cynthia

      Thank you so much
      I just realized that somehow my people pane had been turned on and I too was panicking that information that absolutely positively should NOT have been seen, had been.
      It’s good to know that while I saw it the recipient didn’t.

  12. Elena Pie

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  13. Brett

    Thank goodness for that!!!
    I HATE the People Pane. Took me 2 hours to find something on the net to disable it.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Ben

      Agreed. I hate the people pain (sic) too.

  14. Dominic

    Thank you for sharing this! It helps!!

  15. Leasa

    Brilliant post. Quick, effective. Thank you!

  16. Michael

    Bless you for posting this.

  17. Shal

    Excellent post

  18. Wilma Kilgour

    Thanks for this info and simple resolution to a very annoying problem. More than I could find on any Microsoft support websites.

  19. Siddharth

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this! :)

    • MrGroove

      My pleasure. Welcome to the site!

    • traubd

      Note the March 3 and March 18, 2011 e-mails above and note there is no response. How can I be CERTAIN that my personal and/or confidential information is kept personal and confidential? How can I be CERTAIN that I am not looking at someone else’s perosnal or confidential info? The world does not need to know about my dental, proctologist, ob-gyn appts, etc. I just noticed these for the first time yesterday and we have been on Office 2010 about 4 months.

      • traubd

        Note – still no response. The data thieves and marketing thugs will not allow a response.

  20. SV

    Thank you for telling how to remove this annoying pointless pane pain

  21. sdoca

    Have you figured out a way to turn off the calendar preview? That annoys me.

  22. Rob

    people pain off! thanks! slowly reducing the clutter!

  23. Peter

    Wow, it was that easy to get rid of the silly People Pane? Thanks so much for the tip!

    • Steve Krause

      @Peter – You bet! Thanks for the feedback!

      • Noam

        Hi Steve, after turning off the people pane, there still show a picture of the person on the email. can i disable it somehow as well? thanks in advance. Noam

  24. Lala

    Thank you! Any way to turn off the picture of the sender?

    • Randy

      You can turn this feature on or off. If you turn the feature off, photos do not appear in the message window, in the Reading Pane, or in the Outlook People Pane.

      1.Click the File tab.
      2.Click Options.
      3.Click Contacts.
      4.Select or clear the Show user photographs when available (requires restarting Outlook).
      5.Click OK.
      6.Exit and then restart Outlook.

      • Hummng

        God bless you for this!!!!!! My workmates are ugly!!!! I am ugly!!! We’re IT’s!!!

  25. Greg

    The People Pane is the stupidest thing that they have added to Outlook. Don’t want it, don’t need it, it serves no purpose.

  26. Samantha Cardimon

    I have found more useful information here on this website that I would ever find on Microsoft’s site. It’s these little dopey things that truly make me crazy–and that I can never find answers for. Thanks!

  27. Richard Copeland

    Dear Austin; great answer — short, accurate and easy to follow. IMHO, MS makes really good apps, but it amazes me that they set truly annoying features to be turned on BY DEFAULT. I really HATED that People PAIN! Now I’m happy again. Thank you!!!

  28. matt

    how do you remove the picture that is displayed on incoming emails in the top right??

    • Mike Maxwell

      @Matt: File > Options, click on “Contacts” over on the left, then under “Online status and photographs”, un-check the “Show user photographs…”. OK, then re-start Outlook.

      What I don’t know how to do is to get rid of the lousy photo of myself that shows up in other people’s emails… (I *can’t* be that old!) Our IT department controls that, I’m afraid.

  29. Robert

    I have to say I am getting a bit fedup with the whole social networking thing. Respond to a blog and it wants to connect to twitter, facebook, my dogs dentists office blogs, or whatever. It is beyond annoting. Especially since I rarely use the sites. And because maybe if I wanted to discuss the matter with my facebook friends I could uhhh login to facebook for example.
    This attaching the pictures and grabbing data from my mobile device is beyond a privacy invasion. What if I was an employee for the Romney campaign and Michael Moore was a contact on my mobile phone, because I sent him a nasty gram, and aol added it to my suggested contacts and someone noticed it and I was removed from something I felt passionate about because some clown decided that data mining all data on my device was his right. It’s sick quite frankly.
    Anyways I work in IT and I tire of people getting ticked off and taking it out on me because MS imposed pictures from contacts and didn’t allow me to hide them without deleting them. I would like to add that these contacts have nothing to do with my exchange email account. Many are only family members. In fact some pics are of my child and I believe that it may be illegal to do that without my consent.
    Anyways if someone could tell me how to keep the photos off the preview pane and the message header I would appreciate it. The people pane is disabled.

  30. Simon Carter


    A classic Microsoft moment:
    “Where’d that come from? What is it? How do I get rid of it?”

  31. Mari

    thank you!

  32. Robb

    “People Pane” – OFF – one more Microsoft “annoyance feature” disposed of
    Thanks for the tip – I like simple solutions to removing annoying features.


    • Steve Krause

      Ya know — I used to use the People Pane a lot more in the past. Not I also think it just takes up to much space on my screen so yeah, I agree.

  33. Greg

    That’d be great if we can move it to the right instead of bottom..
    Also, do you know how to totaly uninstall it?
    Thank you!

  34. GR

    When I click on the View Tab, there is no People Pane Button???

    But I do have the stupid pane at the bottom. Any ideas?

  35. GR

    Never mind…I figured it out. I had to restore the ribbon to default settings then turn the People Pane off.

    • Steve Krause

      Good to know @gr thnx for the tip.

  36. Esther

    Thank you! Been trying to get rid of that for hours!

    • Steve Krause

      You bet. Welcome to groovyPost!

  37. Nanny

    please cancel this mess.I’m new to computers and all I wanted was free coupons. My husband is going to have my head.Tell me how to back out and remove my husbands email. PLEASE!

  38. Carol

    So easy to disable this with your great instructions! Thanks so much!

    • Steve Krause

      You bet. Welcome to groovyPost!


    Thank god! It’s gone now. Thank you SO much. Truly one of the most annoying non-innovations I have ever seen. Like I don’t already know who the hell I’m emailing! Jeez!

  40. ACW

    I read a few replies, but no all, so please excuse me if I am repeating this:
    Since this is something that is turned on / off from the recipient side, me as a sender, really have no control over it?
    Is there an option for me to tun off the photo, so when I send e-mail, the recipient will not see my photo at all?

  41. Numan Arman

    Thanks a lot :) You saved my time really much..

  42. Nine Gatos

    snails the mail when loading

  43. Axel Skough

    On travels I’m using a small very handy computer with a small screen (8,9″) and the people pane has been terribly annoying for a time.

    Finally, I found your article. Many thanks! I did not knew the proper name for this annoying pane and always minimised it, but it tends to jump around and sometimes occasionally expand. I don’t want lots of confusing panes and columns, I want a simple and readible presentation on screen without confusing and annoying information I did not asked for and don’t use.

    I don’t want mysterious and confusing features turned on by default, they should all be off and maybe be possible to turn on if the end user requests it and has an active interest of this type of information.

    So your contribution, although simple, was of great value to me.


  44. CA

    OMG! Thanks for helping em get rid of something that is an absolutely useless space hog for work email. Hopefully it will stay off. Thanks again!

  45. Kim Wilson

    Thank you! I hate all this extra stuff taking up space on my screen!

  46. Matt A

    Thank you! Our corporate email got upgraded recently & the People Pane was crowding out the rest of the screen. Didn’t provide any extra info for me, so I am happy to be rid of it!

  47. John M. Oudenaar

    you can disable it or totally remove it
    Here are both options:

    Method #1

    The first method available simple turns off the People Pane so that it does not display when reviewing your emails in Outlook.
    •In Outlook, click on the View tab
    •Click on People Pane
    •Select Off from the drop down menu

    Method #2

    The second option is to disable Outlook’s Social Connector Add-in altogether. This too will remove the People Pane from displaying.

    •In Outlook, click on the File tab and then select Options.
    •In the Outlook Options dialog box that appears, select Add-Ins from the left-hand menu.
    •Click the Go button at the bottom of the screen.
    •Uncheck the box next to Microsoft Outlook Social Connector and then click on OK.

  48. Amir

    Thanx a lot :)

  49. Marissa

    Honestly this was doing my head in. Plus I couldn’t figure out how to remove it permanently from my view. We just upgraded to 2010 and it;s the little things that really annoy me… :-) Thank you for the post. Fixed and happy again.

  50. veronica

    thank you so much!!! your instructions totally worked. that pane was such a pain! hahaha! cheers!!

    • Steve Krause

      Awesome! Glad you found it helpful — welcome go gPost!

  51. Fred McGriff


  52. Zoffix Znet

    Thanks! Even minimized that pannel annoyed the hell out of me because sometimes I’d accidentally click it when trying to click something on the taskbar, and then I’d hasve to go hunt for that tiny arrow.

  53. Lokesh


  54. sz

    Thank you so much – that was so simple I nearly fell off of my chair! I won’t even offer the excuse that i I had already looked through all of the menu options, really:)

  55. Prabhu Thiyagarajan

    Thank you very much.

  56. Scott

    Stupidest thing I ever saw… And that’s saying a lot considering all the stupid things I’ve had to deal with in Outlook, and their wasteful piece of garbage, “Outlook Web”.

    So, it shows me stuff that I can already see elsewhere… ????!!! The person it is from, and the people on the distribution are visible in the preview pane. And I can see who an email is from in the inbox list.

    Honestly, the people writing these program are the most counter-intuitive developers I’ve ever been exposed to.

    What’s really sad is that corporations won’t move to Linux because their is no “support” in community based environments… except I have NEVER, EVER, EVER gotten a solution from anyone on the MS community forums. It’s always someone else’s fault, a bug somewhere else, or they just completely ignore my issues.

  57. anne SILVERSTEIN

    THANK YOU – OMG – a PEOPLE PANE – who makes up these names? Why do we need this feature? Why why why? Too many options, too many choices, too many things to personalize. What an enormous waste of time. Thank you again.

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