Start Outlook minimized or "minimize to tray"

Last reviewed on October 9, 2012   —  15 comments

Beginning with Outlook 2003, Outlook has the capability to minimize to the tray. Right click on the Outlook icon in the tray and choose Hide when Minimized.

You can start any version of Outlook minimized by changing the properties on the shortcut you use to start Outlook. To do this, right click on the Outlook shortcut and choose Properties.  On the Shortcut tab, select Minimized from the Run list. However, if Outlook is set to full screen it may not start minimized.

Select Run: Minimized

Tip: You can also set a Ctrl+Alt keyboard shortcut to open Outlook on the Shortcut Properties sheet.

Minimize to the Notification tray

Use the tray icon menu to hide Outlook when minimizedBeginning with Outlook 2003, you can minimize Outlook to the notification area. Click on the tray icon and choose “Hide when Minimized” to enable (or disable) the feature.

In Windows 7, the Outlook icon is typically in the overflow area, unless you changed it in Window’s Taskbar properties.

To always show the Outlook icon in the notification area, right click on the Taskbar area and choose Properties. This will open the Notification Area Icons control. Find Outlook and change it to Show icon and notifications. You’ll need to double click on this icon to restore Outlook (or right click and choose Open Outlook).

In older versions of Outlook, need to use a utility to minimize Outlook to an icon in the system tray.


If Outlook appears to close when you minimize it, check the Hide when Minimized setting.

When Outlook is set to Hide when Minimized, it won’t start hidden to the notification area. You’ll need to minimize it to hide it.

Outlook 2002

If you want to “tray” Outlook 2002, you need to edit the registry and set the value of MinToTray to 1.

DWORD: MinToTray
Value: 1

To start the registry editor, from the Start menu, Run dialog, enter regedit. That will open the registry editor. Browse down the tree until you get to Preferences under Outlook. On the right side of the screen, right click as choose New | DWORD, as shown in the screenshot. Name it MinToTray and change the value to 1 (right click on it after naming it and choose Modify)

Edit the registry to minimize Outlook 2002 to the tray.

Close outlook and reopen it for the change to take effect. Now when you minimize it, there will be an icon in the tray area. Double click on it to restore. To remove the feature, delete or rename the key.

If you don’t want to edit the registry, you can use this ready-to-use registry file:

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

15 responses to “Start Outlook minimized or "minimize to tray"”

  1. toptensthings

    thanks for useful tip for minimizing the outlook,

  2. Helen V Gonzales

    Thank you, this is the answer I was looking for.

  3. Bill Hartland

    Brilliant - thanks

  4. Neil Murphy

    Doesn't work for me. I think that is because I am starting Outlook when the system boots up. I point directly at the module, so the shortcut is unreferenced.

  5. Dan

    thanks for your help.........MS is useless

  6. Terrance

    If you right click on the Icon in the tray where the clock is you will find the property to Hide when Minimized. Check that and you are done as it will hide outlook off the task bar and only show in the task bar where the clock is. Does that help Dan also MS is not useless.. Reading instructions helps.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Finding the instructions isn't always easy... and for making it hard, one could legitimately claim MS is useless. :)

  7. Nein Danke

    When minimized to tray double-click doesn't open Outlook at home while it does at work. Have I missed something?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Which version of Outlook? Same version of Windows on both?

  8. Nein Danke

    O-2010 at home and work; ditto W7. An earlier comment (now disappeared?) mentioned a regedit but the value noted doesn't exist.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      I don't know why a comment would have disappeared, we had server problems and got a new server but i thought we kept all data. In any event, if you know the value, you can create it - outlook only creates keys when you change a setting so not all keys will exist.

  9. Nein Danke

    Re "slipstick" I seem to recall having a really nice laminated bamboo one back at the dawn of time.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      I have several but no bamboo.. except I forget how to use them. :(

  10. Nein Danke

    I stopped using mine when the price of Texas Instruments SR-10 calculator (it would actually do square roots!) dropped under $100 because they'd never be that cheap again.

  11. H12 FJK

    There's a useful little freebie program called HideOutlook at which I've used for ages and makes Outlook behave EXACTLY how I want it to.

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