Microsoft Outlook

Read mail options

How to use Outlook to save you time...

How to tell if PST file is ANSI (2GB) or UNICODE (20GB)

How to archive your BIG PST into yearly archives

Convert an old PST to a Unicode PST DIY or $49 US dollars for a tool that will do it for you

Repair a 2GB PST file

SCANpst help

How to configure the size limit for PST/OST files in OL2003-07

Enabling the Outlook Address Book and Contact folder 

Have Contacts show up first in the Address Book

Adding-Recreating a Mail Profile

Address book service is broken

Disable Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2003 Email Auto Complete   

Cached auto-complete address file (page bottom)

Outlook is VERY Slow (page bottom) 

Windows Live Hotmail in Outlook

Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003

There are two controls to know about. The first sets which address book is displayed whenever you open the Address Book. For example, you might want Contacts to always be the address book that appears. Do the following:

On the Standard toolbar, click Address Book . In the Address Book dialog box, on the Tools menu, click Options. In the Show this address list first list, click Contacts. Click OK. The second option allows you to quickly change to show another address book without changing the default you just set.

On the Standard toolbar, click

  1. Address Book 
  2. In the Address Book dialog box, on the Tools menu, click Options.
  3. In the Show this address list first list, click Contacts.
  4. Click OK.

The second option allows you to quickly change to show another address book without changing the default you just set.

  1. On the Standard toolbar, click Address Book .
  2. In the Address Book dialog box, click the Show names from the list to pick an address book other than Contacts.
  3. Look up the name you need, and then close the Address Book dialog box.
  4. If you open the Address Book again, the Address


When creating new email in Outlook, names in your contacts list are not automatically resolving when placed in the To/Cc/Bcc fields. If you open the Address Book from with in Outlook, your Contacts do not appear in the “Show Names from the:” drop-down list.

If you try and add the Contacts into the list by going to the Properties on the Contacts folder, then the “Outlook Address Book” tab, the option “Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book” is grayed out.

This is caused because the user needs an “Outlook Address Book” in order to display the contacts in the Address Book. To add in a Outlook Address Book:

If Outlook is your default email program and you can't find Outlook Express (sometimes referred to as OE), try this:

Click Start -> Run and type MSIMN.exe (which is the executable for OE) and hit enter or click on OK


Or if you have lost Outlook try this:
Make Outlook your default email client. Click "Control Panel" on the Start menu, then select "Internet Options" Click the "Programs" tab, then select "Outlook" from the drop-down menus. Click "OK."

Read more: How to Change From Outlook Express to Outlook |


AUTO Complete addressing (***XP & Win7 have different paths***):

If you want to delete all addresses in the cache file (outlook.nk2):

  1. Close Outlook
  2. Open Windows Explorer or IE and Paste %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Outlook into the address bar.
  3. Delete the file Outlook.nk2 file in this folder

If you want to save all addresses in the cache file (outlook.nk2) use the same path and save the file to your new computer


Access Hotmail in Outlook 2010

(this article shows the settings for Outlook 2002/3/7 & 2010)

Get your Hotmail account in Outlook 2010:

Select File | Info in Outlook email.
Click Add Account.
Make sure E-mail Account is selected.
Enter your name under, yes, Your Name:.
Type your Windows Live Hotmail address under E-mail address:.
Enter your Windows Live Hotmail password under both Password: and Retype Password.
Click Next >.
Now click Finish

Get your Hotmail account in Outlook 2003 and 2007:

Download and install Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector.
Select Outlook Connector | Add a New Account... from the menu in Outlook.
Type your Windows Live Hotmail address under E-mail address:.
Enter your Windows Live Hotmail password under Password:.
Type your name under Name:.
Click OK.
Click OK again.
Restart Outlook.
As an alternative to Outlook Connector, you can try one of the tools that allow you to access web-based email accounts via any POP or, sometimes, IMAP account such as Outlook. FreePOPs, for example, usually works well.

Access a Windows Live Hotmail Account in Outlook

In addition to setting up Windows Live Hotmail using Outlook Connector as described above, you can download newly incoming mail from your Windows Live Hotmail inbox to Outlook using POP.

To set up Windows Live Hotmail as a POP account in Outlook:

Select Tools | Account Settings... from the menu in Outlook.
Go to the E-mail tab.
Click New....
Make sure Microsoft Exchange, POP3, IMAP, or HTTP is selected.
Click Next >.
Type your name as you want it to appear in outgoing email under Your Name:.
Enter your Windows Live Hotmail address under E-mail Address:.
Make sure Manually configure server settings or additional server types is checked.
Click Next >.
Make sure Internet E-mail is selected.
Click Next >.
Make sure POP3 is selected under Account Type:.
Enter "" (not including the quotation marks) under Incoming mail server:.
Type "" under Outgoing mail server (SMTP):.
Enter your complete Windows Live Hotmail address ("", for example) under User Name:.
Type your Windows Live Hotmail password under Password:.
Click More Settings....
Go to the Outgoing Server tab.
Make sure My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication is checked.
Verify Use same settings as my incoming mail server is selected.
Go to the Advanced tab.
Make sure This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL) is checked under Incoming server (POP3):.
Make sure SSL is selected for Use the following type of encrypted connection: under Outgoing server (SMTP):
Check that "995" appears under Incoming server (POP3:) and "25" under Outgoing server (SMTP):.
Click OK.
Now click Next >.
Click Finish.
Click Close.

Access Hotmail with Outlook 2000 and 2002

To configure Outlook to access your existing Windows Live Hotmail account (you can't set up a new account from within Outlook):

Make sure you have an subscription for the Windows Live Hotmail account you want to access offline.
Select Tools | E-mail Accounts... from the menu in Outlook.
Make sure Add a new e-mail account is selected.
Click Next.
Choose HTTP as the Server Type.
Click Next again.
Enter your account details in the E-mail Accounts dialog box:
Type your full name under Your Name:.
Type your Windows Live Hotmail address under E-mail Address:.
If Outlook has not entered it for you automatically, type your Hotmail email address User Name:.
Type your Windows Live Hotmail password under Password:.
Select Hotmail in the HTTP Mail Service Provider box.
Click Next.
Click Finish.


Outlook is VERY Slow

Disable IM integration at the bottom of Tools>Options>Other. If
that doesn't help, with Outlook closed, rename or delete
%AppData%\Microsoft\Outlook\outcmd.dat. If that doesn't work, try
uninstalling NAV and reinstalling without the mail scanning feature. It's
been fairly well documented (albeit anecdotally) that NAV doesn't actually
stop scanning mail even if the feature is disabled, as long as it's still

1: Update Windows

Many people don't realize that with Windows updates, the updates for Microsoft Office are also "hidden." But it's not just the Office updates that can help speed up Outlook. Make sure you allow the updates to happen. Why? There are times when Microsoft might update Exchange. In some cases, those updates can either break or cause problems with the communication between Outlook and Exchange. Or Microsoft might issue a patch to the application to resolve a speed issue or security hole.

2: Download complete items

When you connect Outlook with either IMAP or POP3, you should have Outlook set up to download the complete message (instead of just the header). If you do this, Outlook won't have to sync with the server every time you click on a new item (as it will already be in the data file.) How you do this will depend upon which version of Outlook you're using. But basically, you're looking for the setting Download Complete Item Including Attachments.

3: Archive your Inbox

I can't tell you how many times I see clients with thousands upon thousands (and in some cases tens of thousands) of emails in their Inbox. This can cause serious issues, especially when using PST files. Instead of just letting those Inbox folders grow to outrageous proportions, set up auto archiving so that your Inbox retains only a portion of those emails. I like to tell clients to keep the current and previous months' email in the Inbox and archive everything else. When you archive, you effectively create a new data file, so Outlook doesn't have to strain against the weight of an oversize PST or OST file

4: Use Cached Exchange Mode

If you use Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook, you effectively take the data file from the server (PST) and cache it on your local machine (OST). This can go a long way toward speeding up your Outlook experience because Outlook doesn't have to read its data file across a network. Instead, all it has to do is read the locally stored data file. This option (obviously) is available only when connecting Outlook with an Exchange server.

5: Compact your PST file

When the Outlook PST file gets out of hand, a built-in tool can keep the size of that file under control. One of the issues is that even when you delete email from your Inbox, the size of the PST file may remain the same. If you're using Outlook 2010, you can go to Account Settings | Data Files and select the data file to be compacted. Once you've selected the file click Settings | Advanced | Outlook Data File Settings and click Compact Now. Depending on the size of your data file, this process can take some time.

6: Repair your PST file

Scanpst is often my go-to tool when Outlook is acting off kilter. It will scan through your data file and look for data inconsistencies and errors. Here's the thing about Scanpst -- it's not always the easiest tool to find. Do yourself a favor and search through your C drive to locate the Scanpst.exe file. Make note of its location (usually within the Office installation folder). But be forewarned: This tool can cause PST files to become unusable. Make sure you back up that data file before you start the repair tool. Fortunately, should Scanpst find errors, it will prompt you to make a backup before it attempts to fix the errors.

7: Cut down on the published and shared calendars

Yes, it's easy to publish and share your calendars with others. The problem is, the more you do it, the more drag you're putting on Outlook. The more data Outlook has to share and pull down from the Internet, the slower it will perform. Sure, it's fine to have one or two shared calendars (and even more if you have a lightning-fast data pipe). Just know that the more data you have to push and pull, the slower your connection will be.

8: Disable RSS

By default, Outlook will sync RSS feeds from Internet Explorer to the RSS reader in Outlook. If you have a lot of RSS feeds bookmarked in IE, that syncing could easily bring Outlook to a crawl. Disable this feature (if you don't use Outlook as an RSS reader) from within Outlook 2010 by going to Options | Advanced and then unchecking both options under RSS Feeds.

9: Disable add-ins

How many times have you installed some program only to find it installed something else behind your back? This can happen to Outlook as well as Internet Explorer. Sometimes those add-ins can cause major Outlook slowdowns. To find out what add-ins you have installed in Outlook 2010, go to Options | Add-ins. Select COM Add-ins from the drop-down and click the Go button. The resultant window will list all add-ins available to Outlook. Search through this list and uncheck any that might seem suspect.

10: Fix ShoreTel Windows 7 integration

If you use the ShoreTel Communicator, you might notice some issues when trying to open and use Outlook. The problem lies in an incompatibility issue between ShoreTel and Windows 7. The fix is simple. Open up the Task Manager and look for a process called Agent.exe. Right-click that entry and click Properties |Compatibility. Choose the Run This Program In Compatibility Mode For option and then select Windows XP (Service Pack 3).

Read Mail Options

(1) In Outlook, click on the File tab.

(2) On the left side of the screen, choose Options.

(3) A window called Outlook Options will open. In the left-hand menu, choose Mail.

(4) Under the Outlook panes section, click the Reading Pane button.

(5) Uncheck all three of the options in the Reading Pane window that opens, then click OK.

(6) Click OK to close the Outlook Options window.

Outlook should now treat all messages as unread unless you open them with a double-click.

If you prefer not to disable the reading pane settings as described, you can still mark a message as unread if Outlook treats it as though you have read it. To mark an individual message as unread, perform a right-click on the message in your Inbox list and choose Mark as Unread. The sender, subject line, and other information about the message will appear in bold print again.


Outlook 2007 and previous :Tools-> Options…-> tab Other-> button Reading Pane…

Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016 :tab View-> Reading Pane-> Options…

The default is set to mark items as read when you select another email. When you disable this option, all mails remain as unread unless you manually mark it as read or double click the message to open it in its own window.

Mark as read delay

If you still want the message to be automatically marked as read when you are reading it, but not when you are quickly browsing through your emails, then you can set a delay of several seconds before the message should be marked as read.

For instance, if reading an email takes you at least 10 seconds and when you quickly go through your emails, you won’t be looking at the message for longer than 5 seconds, then you set your delay to 10 seconds.


Mark as read/unread keyboard shortcuts

For marking a message as read you can use CTRL+ENTER or CTRL+Q

For marking a message as unread you can use CTRL+U


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