How to Work Offline in Outlook

Last reviewed on August 30, 2013   —  4 comments

Task bar icon for work offlineThe big red X on the Work Offline icon confuses many users into thinking the X means they are already offline. While this is true for the large taskbar icon, the Work Offline button on the ribbon always has a red X.

When Outlook 2010 or 2013 is online, the Work offline button looks like a normal button. In addition, depending on your account type, the status bar may say you are online:

Work offline icon

When you are working offline, the button is highlighted in yellow (2010) or blue (2013). The status bar should also show that Outlook is offline:

Work offline enabled

In older versions of Outlook the Work offline command is on the File menu. The status bar icon looks like this:
Work offline icon

Some users report that they have problems turning off Work Offline, that Work Offline stays enabled (highlighted or checked) after they click Work Offline to toggle it On. If you are having problems setting Outlook online and are using the Windows Taskbar setting of "Hide", try setting it to always show. Some users report that this simple change allows the setting change to work.

About Diane Poremsky

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlook forums by Slipstick.com.

4 responses to “How to Work Offline in Outlook”

  1. Jack

    I dont see how this solves the problem, I have red x, It does not toggle. I have not tried to reset the ribbon yet in fear that I will screw it up. I dont want to call my computer guy it will cost me. HELLPPPP

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What version of Outlook do you use? When you click on the Work Offline button it doesn't highlight in yellow?

  2. Ann

    Outlook 2010. It is stuck in Offline and the only way to send/received is to manually click the send receive button and pray it works. From what I can find the only way is to recreate the .pst file as it might be corrupt. This means I lose all my history.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      If you think the pst is corrupt, use scanpst on the pst. (Make a copy of the pst so you aren't at risk of losing any data.)

      Are you using the Windows option to hide the taskbar? Someone said that caused problems and setting the taskbar to always show fixed it. It makes absolutely no sense (the taskbar state should not matter), but if it works...

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