Delete Messages Stuck in Outlook 2011 Outbox

Last reviewed on May 8, 2014   —  27 comments

Applies to: Microsoft Outlook 2011 for Mac

If you are using Outlook 2011 for Mac, use one of the following methods to delete messages stuck in your Outbox.

outbox is now visibleWhen the message is stuck because it has a large attachment:

  1. Right click on message in outbox, choose “open message”
  2. Remove the attachment
  3. Press send

This will re-send the message without the over-sized attachment. If you don't want to send the message, delete it from the outbox.

If you don't want to send the message or its stuck for other reason, try this method:
Close Outlook 2011, hold the shift button down while reopening Outlook. Go to outbox and delete the “stuck” message.

The Outbox is not visible

If the Outbox is not visible, initiate a send and receive and open the Progress dialog. Click the little x at the right of the entry to stop the progress. The Outbox should now be visible in message list and you can remove the attachments or delete the message.

Outlook 2011's progress dialog

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

27 responses to “Delete Messages Stuck in Outlook 2011 Outbox”

  1. Peter

    That was amazing! That has been irritating me and grinding my Mac to a halt for days! Thank you...

  2. Dave

    I have a file that was too big to send and went to the outbox to cancel/delete but I do not have an outbox. Outlook for Mac 2011 ver 14.2.3. I see it trying to send at bottom of pane but cant kill it. HELP !

    1. Diane Poremsky

      For outlook 2011, try this:
      Right click on message in outbox, choose “open message”
      Remove the attachment
      Press send

      It then re-send the message without attachment (3kB instead of >30MB) — end of story. Phew!

      Another method for outlook 2011: Close out look, hold down shift button while reopening outlook. Go to out box and delete the “stuck” message

    2. Susan Entz

      That was wonderfully helpful.

  3. Dave

    The shift open worked and i found the outbox, thanks. why is in not always visible ?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      I'm not sure why its not always visible.

  4. Justin Credible

    Thank you so very much!! I could not delete the message, despite removing the attachment. But, I did change the recipient to another of my emails. Thus preventing the sending of a useless email to a business client.

  5. Timothy Bowman

    If that doesn't work try the following: Open Outlook. Click Outlook from the menu bar at top and choose work offline. Click on outbox folder, then click on the mail you are trying to delete. Click delete. Open Outlook from the menu bar and unclick work offline.

  6. Ken France

    I continue to get an error message that I have a large attachment on an email and it can't be sent but I cannot find the email after trying several different ways to find the email from both this post and others I've found. One possible nuance is that the email appears to be one that was sent using a gmail account that I have setup an an account within outlook. There's no outbox in the gmail account that I can see either. It pops up every 5 minutes over and over again. Would be great to solve this mystery.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Go to Folder List - CTRL+6 shortcut will open the folder list - if its Gmail IMAP, the outgoing message will be in your default Outbox, aka, in the data file at the top of the folder list.

      Ctrl+Alt+S to open the Send and Receive dialog. How frequently are you checking for new mail? I usually recommend 10 minutes, minimum. That won't kill the dialog but it can slow it down. :)

      Is the error message from Outlook or another application, such as your antivirus/security software?

  7. MDL Building

    Thanks Tim

  8. Denise

    I don't have an outbox in outlook. How do I delete a message.

  9. Anil

    i see the message sending mail in the microsoft outlook but there are no messages in the outbox. How to solve this problem

    1. Diane Poremsky

      This is with the windows version of Outlook? It's probably a read receipt. See for instructions to check and delete it.

  10. Charles

    I am having this problem, but it is on my Droid phone and not my computer. Any suggestions. I keep getting the same error message and even with Verizon's help, I cannot delete it.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Did you try putting the phone in airplane mode? Once its in airplane mode you should be able to open the message and delete it.

  11. Alicia

    The switch to offline mode worked PERFECTLY for me. Thank you so much!

  12. Ross Latimer

    Outlook Mac 2011 is a piece of junk. I've been working hours on trying to find outgoing messages so I can delete a message that is too large. I've done everything suggested and I can find no way to access outgoing messages that are stuck. Every time I open Outlook I get an error message that the email can't be sent. I can't even get to the folder for sent emails now. Worst program ever!!!

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Can you start a send and receive then cancel it? Open the progress dialog - i did it by double clicking on the progress information in the status bar. Once you cancel the progress, it should display the outbox so you can delete the stuck message.

  13. joe

    worked like a charm

  14. Karron

    I have had 5 messages stuck in Outlook for 2 weeks now, but they were not visible!. Did the steps that were posted here and now they are GONE. Whew!

    1. pepperandblue

      hi, which steps, exactly? please tell me what you did, an invisible message is driving me crazy! tnx!

  15. Mika

    I was finally able to delete the email with the too large attachment. However, is there any way to have the outbox permanently show up on my folder list, so this is not an issue again?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      As far as I know, no.

  16. Chip Grouby

    Thanks!!! Did not know what to do!!! Going to progress bar and stopping made the outbox appear and I could delete old message that was to big to send and holding up other messages!!!

  17. michael

    It's odd, my messages are being send, however after they are sent and the process, they are sent to the Oubox and they stay there (after the fact that they've been sent) can't seem to make the stupid folder go way!

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What type of email account are you using? (POP3, IMAP, Exchange)
      Are you using the Outlook 2011 update that was released a few weeks ago?

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