In Outlook 2016, there is this huge gray bar at the bottom which lists (in a very big font) Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks, etc… to switch to their corresponding folder.
In previous versions of Outlook, they were listed as icons within the pane on the left which also displays all your folders.
I liked this configuration better as this was a lot smaller and therefor allows for more space to display the message list and also gives me a larger Reading Pane area.
Is there any way to put it back there and gain back some of this wasted space?
Depending on your screen’s resolution and whether or not you are using a touch screen, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016 could indeed by default show you a large navigation strip at the bottom as shown below.
If you don’t like this, you can easily turn it back into the icon based navigation as it was in Outlook 2010 and previous.
The new word based navigation bar instead of a small icon based navigation.
To turn this word based navigation back into an icon based navigation, click on the 3 dots (…) at the right-end of the Navigation and choose Navigation Options… or use View-> Folder Pane-> Options to bring up the same dialog.
In the Navigation Options dialog, enable the option: Compact Navigation.
The Navigation Bar will now collapse into the Folder Pane and will only show the icons:
The blue colored icon indicates which Navigation is currently active.
Note 1: The amount of icons that you see depends on what you have configured for the “Maximum number of visible items” in the Navigation Options, but also on the width of the Folder Pane itself.
Note 2: Placing the icons in a (mixed) vertical position like it was possible in Outlook 2010 and previous is no longer possible in Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016.
(see example on the right)
Placing the icons vertical requires you to minimize the Folder Pane altogether via:
View-> Folder Pane-> Minimized
Note 3: For more tips about dealing with the design changes made in Outlook 2013 see the guide: 36 Short questions and tips for Outlook 2013.
Many of these design changes also apply to Outlook 2016. For additional changes being made in Outlook 2016 see: New and Changed in Outlook 2016.