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Outlook 2010 Offline Mode

Outlook 2010 is a great improvement over Outlook 2007, but is not perfect. When you open Outlook 2010, it will take some time to load depending on the number of new emails it has detected in your inbox. Once Outlook 2010 is running, it will start sending/receiving information which can sometime take forever if you receive large amount of new emails.

If you started Outlook 2010 to perform a quick task like sending an email, check the schedule on calendar, find contacts, or complete the to-do list, then the fastest route is to run it in Offline Mode.

The first step is to go to Send/Receive tab and hit the Cancel All button. Once it has been cancelled, hit the Work Offline button. Now start using Outlook 2010 for the basic tasks. Another benefit of running Outlook 2010 in offline mode is when the email client hangs up due to large amount of data being send and received.

Outlook send recieve tab

If you have send an email in offline mode, it won’t be send unless you connect to the server again which can be done from within the same tab. There is no switch at the moment which can allow users to start Outlook 2010 in Offline Mode, but I am looking for a hack.


  1. One thing to note is that the “Work Offline” icon on the top bar does not change; only the “Working Offline” message appears and disappears on the bottom right task bar.

    • Wow… I see that now. A very bad UI design.. the button says “Work Offline” regardless if you are off-line or on-line. Only the background turns yellow to show that the “offline status is “On”

  2. Great, but doesn’t solve my problem.  For some reason, all of a sudden I am always in “offline” mode which will not let me invite attendees to meetings.  I can’t figure out how to turn “online” back on.

  3. I can’t get Outlook to disable the Work Offline mode.  I have followed instructions and theoretically the feature should be off because the tab is highlighted.  However, my email send/receive feature is not working automatically.  

    Is there a way to correct that.  My browser is Windows 7 running MS Outlook 2010.

  4. The “Cancel All” button idea isn’t ideal in some situations.  I’ve hit that button before, and sometimes Outlook 2010 continues to process things I don’t want it to.

    My workaround isn’t ideal, as you start connected, but it lets you start Outlook from a cold disconnected state where it won’t do anything.  Nor is it the same as safe mode.

    Get everything exactly how you want it to be while connected.  Click the “Work Offline” button, making sure it shows that you’re disconnected at the bottom.

    Close Outlook.

    Open your Control Panel, search for Mail.

    Go to Profiles | Show Profiles

    Copy your Outlook profile, name it Start_Offline.

    If you always want the choice of starting offline, select the “Prompt for a profile…” radio button.

    Click OK.

    Re-open your normal Outlook, and select “Work Online” to re-establish the internet connection on your regular Outlook.

    When you test the copy of the profile you just created, you should see that it starts in offline mode.

    As I said it’s not ideal, and if you’ve made a lot of changes in your email setup it may cause some goofiness, but I find it a quick way to start offline when I absolutely don’t want Outlook connecting to anything.

  5. Like the breif given above.
    Please do let me know if you find  “How to start Outlook 2010 in Offline Mode?”

    • I just experienced the same problem, was advised to run a fix through scanpst file….still waiting to see if it will do the trick

  6. Well–I have the same issue. I can click the WORK OFFLINE all I want and nothing happens. I removed my profile in the Control Panel and NOW I have no contacts, calendar, etc. AND I still have the Work Offline button with the ugly Red “x”. Does anyone have any legitimate suggestions? The ones above are bogus.
    Totally disgusted with Outlook 2010.

    • Same exact problem. Offline and cannot go online. Outlook 2010 is a pain in the butt compared to Outlook 2003. I’m going back to that or my Mac.

    • I am doing the same>>>>>>>>>>>>>>this is a silly piece of junk….maybe to generate $ Microsoft is not what is was

  7. I don’t even have a Globe in the send/receive tab! Stuck in Offline mode… sweet, guess I’ll wait 30mins and see if that does it.

    • All you have to do to fix this issue is to recreate your outlook profile. When you receive this error the outlook profile has been corrupted. So go to Control Panel in Windows 7 (Start…Control Panel). Once there type in Mail in Search box at the upper right corner. The Mail 32 icon should come up. Double click on it. Go to Profile and remove any profiles in the list that exist. Click okay to accept. Restart outlook. You can now create a new profile using the automatically launched outlook mail setup wizard. NOTE-This will require you to be an administrator and have the knowledge to reconfigure your mail settings (outgoing and incoming mail servers, passwords, or exchange settings). So make sure you have this info. And, yes, your pst files will still be there and should come up.

  8. IT IS WORKING! I set up the same account over again without deleting the original one or anything. The red X at the top is still there but NOT at the bottom. Before I tried this I tried to go in to the same account but make no adjustments, ran test, test worked but I was still stuck offline. So last ditch effort was to set up a second identical account and it worked~!!! All of the mail flooded into my box. Good luck. Crazy glitch, but so happy to have found a way around it.

  9. it finally worked, if you are working in “offline mode” in 2010 you will see a yellow area on the bottom of the screen with the red X stating “offline.”
    When you single click on the globe in the “work-offline” button under the “send/receive” tab. watch the bottom of the screen and you will see outlook tiring to connect, twice it indicate a “error” and went back to the red X.
    I went into the account management and went through the process of changing the account without making any changes, the first time it would not connect to my pop server and this is why it was not going to online when I first clicked on the globe. The second try everything was okay and the test pasted. I went back and click on the globe and the “working-offline” and the red X was removed.

  10. I have the same problem. I upgraded from MS Office Professional to MS Office 2010. Now I cannot send/receive any e-mails in Outlook. I tried clicking on the globe that says Work Offline, but it does not do anything.

    I tried a repair several times and also tried setting up a new (duplicate) e-mail account. This did not work either.

  11. yes, metasense, its the nerdy approach of these wise guys at ms,
    i always have been missing:
    1. a button to be offline/online
    even without using browser or email, i want to be in charge when the system goes online.
    2. a button for only sending mail.

    it seems to me that the designers at ms miss some fundamental psychological insight.

  12. Finally figured out how to get back to on-line in outlook 2010. Go to send/receive tab and click on the Globe (work offline) This brings it back on-line.

    • Thanks, Satish – that works – click on the red ‘x’ to go offline – click on the globe to go on-line – real intuitive stuff, eh?

    • Tried clicking on the globe, tried double clicking, single click and waited, clicked and rebooted outlook. Still the same, its in offline mode and seems to be stuck there.

      Why did they not create an offline button and online button?

    • i click on the ‘work offline’globe and it doesn’t do anything. anyone got any latest info on how to switch to work online for ms outlook 2010? i can’t even imagine why it would want to default to work offline – seems nuts!

  13. I find the longest time waiting on outlook is whilst its loading the program itself. Its frustrating starring at the outlook 2010 splash screen for about 1-2 minutes whilst its even saying “installing outlook” when I bloody installed it weeks ago.

  14. I find the longest time waiting on outlook is whilst its loading the program itself. Its frustrating starring at the outlook 2010 splash screen for about 1-2 minutes whilst its even saying “installing outlook” when I bloody installed it weeks ago.

  15. Actually when you work offline, it turns of Send/Receive All Folders function. This means you can neither download nor send any email in real-time, but you can send an email and it will be saved in the queue, i.e, it will be send immediately you turn off Offline mode.

  16. Once I turned it Offline, I could not turn it back Online. Clicking it does nothing. There is no “Connect to Server” button anywhere, so I can't do that. There is no way in Outlook 2010 to work online.

    • Eventually, it did go back Online by itself. Hard to say why. The only reason I turned it Offline in the first place is because I like to download email when I am ready for it and not all the time. This is what I did in 2003. But I had to give up on doing this because in 2010 if you do that then it won't send your Outbox email until the next time you download. What a huge step backward!

    • Actually when you work offline, it turns of Send/Receive All Folders function. This means you can neither download nor send any email in real-time, but you can send an email and it will be saved in the queue, i.e, it will be send immediately you turn off Offline mode.

    • Not so. I an permanently on Offline mode. Ran a repair, tried everything as above, nada. HOWEVER, I can receive emails with impunity. I have had to create a Hotmail account just to send messages out. It is most clunky, shoddy and frustrating.

    • Same for me. Outlook 2010 opens and remains offline unless I manually click the “work offline” button to turn it off. Not only does it not make sense it is extremely frustrating.

  17. Great, but after you turn it off, how do you get back online? My Outlook 2010 will not get back online! Any suggestions?

    • If you have switched to Offline mode, hit the 'Wok Offline' button again to revert back to Online Mode. After this you may also need to hit the 'Connect To Server' button given under the same tab(second button from left), but is not necessary.

      If the 'Connect To Server' button is given then you can click it to being downloading messages, otherwise it will automatically connect after 30mins(which is the default time).

    • Tried this uncountable times with no result. Did a Repair reload of Office, tried the suggestion above and re-hitting the Work Offline button worked fine. Thanks!

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