Outlook is a popular email client that allows users to manage their email, calendar, contacts, and tasks all in one place.
However, sometimes Outlook may switch to “Working Offline” mode, which may prevent users from sending or receiving email.
This can be frustrating and confusing, especially if you rely on Outlook for your daily communication needs.
Outlook switches to “Working Offline” mode when it fails to connect to the mailbox server where your mail items are stored. In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons for offline mode issue and provide some troubleshooting tips to help you get back online.
Why is Outlook working offline ?
A disconnecting status of the internet connection or the mail server is one of the multiple potential causes for why Outlook may be operating in offline mode.
Outlook switches to “Working Offline” mode when it encounters some of the most common issues, such as problems with the internet connectivity, the Outlook program itself, the “Work Offline” option being manually selected by a user, or a lack of connection to the mail server.
Your internet connection is down: This is the most obvious reason why Outlook is working offline. If you can’t connect to the Internet, Outlook won’t be able to sync with your email server and will show a connected status of “Working Offline.
Your email settings are incorrect: If your email settings are incorrect, Outlook will not be able to connect to your mail server, which is provided by your email service provider. This could be due to a typo in your email address or password, or it could be a problem with your email server’s configuration.
A third-party add-in is causing problems: Sometimes, third-party add-ins can interfere with Outlook and cause it to work offline. If you recently installed a new add-in, try disabling it to see if that fixes the problem.
Corrupt outlook profile: One way to solve the problem you’re experiencing is to create a new Outlook profile. This can often help resolve issues and restore functionality
How do I turn off work offline in Outlook ?
There are several ways to disable the offline working mode in Outlook and get back to the online mode, depending on the Outlook version you are using.
Before we discuss that, we would like to tell you how to quickly fix offline working in new versions of Outlook.
Follow below mentioned steps to fix Outlook working offline:
Quickly fix offline working in Outlook
- First, open Outlook and click on the ‘Tell me what you want to do’ option next to the light bulb icon at the top, as shown below.
- The option will turn into a text box. Search for and click on ‘Work Offline’. Within a few seconds, you will be connected to the server.
Fix offline working in Outlook 2010 or later
Follow these steps to fix offline working in Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, and Outlook 2019:
- Login outlook with your email accounts and go to Send/Receive tab.
- In the options ribbon, you will see the ‘Work Offline’ option highlighted in the preferences group, as shown below.
- Click on the option to disable it. Once disabled, the highlight will disappear.
Fix offline working in Outlook 2007 or older
Follow these steps to fix offline working in Outlook 2007, Outlook 2003, and Outlook 2002:
- First, open Outlook and find the ‘Working Offline’ status in the bottom right corner, as shown below
- Click to expand the working status and uncheck the ‘Work Offline’ option to disable offline working.
- Finally, you will be connected to the server.
Check and install pending updates
Microsoft regularly releases updates for Outlook to fix bugs, improve performance, and add new features.
If you’re having problems with Outlook, such as it working offline, installing pending updates may solve the problem.
Here are the steps on how to install pending updates for Outlook:
- Open Outlook.
- Click on File menu.
- Select Office Account.
- Click on the Update Options button.
- If an update is pending, click on the Update Now button.
- To install the update, simply follow the instructions that appear on your screen.
- Once the update is installed, restart Outlook and see if the “Outlook working offline” issue is resolved.
Open Outlook in safe mode
Outlook may be working offline due to add-ins and other add-on programs that interfere with its ability to connect to the Internet.
Starting Outlook in Safe Mode may resolve this problem by disabling these programs. To verify that you have an active internet connection, you can open a web browser and visit a website.
Here are the steps to launch Outlook in safe mode:
- Close Outlook.
- To start Outlook in safe mode using your keyboard, press the “Windows” key and the “R” key at the same time.
- Type outlook/safe and press Enter.
- Outlook will start in Safe Mode.
- Try sending and receiving email. If Outlook is able to connect to the Internet and send and receive email, one of the add-ins or add-on programs was causing the problem.
- To exit Safe Mode, close Outlook and restart it normally.
Recreate OST file
If the OST file is corrupted or damaged, rebuilding the OST file may resolve the “Outlook is working offline” issue. The OST file is also known as the offline folder file, as it stores a copy of your mail items for offline access.
When you face this issue, you can either start over with a new OST file or use the Stellar Converter for OST software to change it to a PST format that Outlook can import. The PST file is a personal folder file that Outlook uses to store your mail items on your computer.
An OST file is an offline folder file that Outlook uses to work offline. It is a cached copy of your mail items stored in a specific file location. You can change the file location of the OST file in the Outlook settings.
Outlook works offline using an OST file, which is a cached copy of your mail items. If the OST file is corrupted or damaged, Outlook will not be able to connect to the mailbox server and access your mail items.
To recreate the OST file or an offline folder, follow these steps:
- Close Outlook.
- Find the location of your OST file. The default location is %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook\.
- Rename OST file. For example, you can rename it to OST.old.
- Restart Outlook. Outlook will generate a new OST file.
- Try sending and receiving email. If Outlook is able to connect to the Internet and send and receive email, the problem is resolved.
Manually Setup Exchange Server Account
If the automatic setup process isn’t working properly, manually setting up the Exchange Server account in Outlook may resolve the “Outlook is working offline” issue.
The automated setup process uses information from your email provider to configure Outlook, but if this information is incorrect or incomplete, Outlook will not be able to connect to your Exchange Server account.
To manually set up an Exchange Server account in Outlook, follow these steps:
- Open Outlook.
- Click on File Tab.
- Select Account Settings.
- Click on the Add button.
- Select the option that allows you to manually enter server settings or choose other server types that are not automatically detected.
- Select Exchange.
- Enter your email address and password.
- Select the type of Exchange server you are using.
- Click on the Next button.
- To complete the setup process, simply follow the instructions that are displayed on your screen.
Once the setup process is complete, Outlook will attempt to connect to your Exchange Server account. If the connection is successful, Outlook will no longer work offline.
Also Check: How to fix Outlook cannot send this item ?
How to work offline in Outlook 365 ?
There are two main methods to work offline in Outlook 365:
Switch between working offline and working online
- This method allows you to choose when to connected or disconnected status from your mail server.
- First, you can do this by clicking Send/Receive > Work Offline on the ribbon.
- Then, when you are working offline, the Work Offline button is highlighted and the status bar shows Working Offline.
- After that, to reconnect, you simply click the button again. This process allows you to easily toggle between being online and offline as needed.
Change the amount of mail you want to keep offline
This method allows you to adjust the amount of time that Outlook syncs your email with the server.
- First, you can do this by clicking File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
- Next, select an Exchange or Microsoft 365 account and click Change.
- After that, under Offline Settings, move the slider to the desired amount of time, such as All, 12 months, 6 months, 3 months, or 1 month.
- As a result, this will affect the size of your Outlook offline data file (.ost) and the time it takes for Outlook to open.
- Finally, if you are running in a virtual desktop environment, it is recommended to sync only one month of data.
How to turn off work offline in Outlook 365 ?
Outlook 365 shows a message that says “Work offline” in the status bar when it is not connected to the Internet. This could be caused by a problem with your network connection, which prevents Outlook from sending or receiving emails.
Furthermore, you may want to disable this mode if you want to sync your emails with the server or access its online features. As such, in this section, we will show you how to turn off offline work in Outlook 365 in a few easy steps.
- First, open Outlook 365.
- Next, go to the “Send/Receive” tab.
- Subsequently, click the “Work offline” button. It is located on the right side of the toolbar and will be highlighted when Work Offline mode is active.
- Finally, verify that the button is no longer highlighted and that the “Working offline” message has disappeared from the status bar. Consequently, this indicates that you are now connected and working online.
- First, open Outlook 365.
- Then, click the “Outlook” menu in the upper left corner.
- After that, to turn it off, choose “Work offline”.
- As a result, a check mark will be removed from the menu item when it is disabled.
- Next, confirm that the status bar does not show “Working offline.”
- Therefore, this means that you are connected and working online.
How to fix missing “Work offline” button ?
The “Work Offline” button in Outlook allows you to access your email and work with messages when you’re not connected to the Internet. This button may be missing for some reason.
First, Outlook may not recognize your email provider as compatible with Microsoft Exchange. In this case, the “Work offline” option won’t appear at all.
However, even if your email provider is compatible, the button may be missing due to a configuration issue. To fix this:
- Firstly, access account settings in Outlook, open the program, go to File > Account Settings > Account Settings
- Secondly, click the “More Settings” button and select the “Advanced” tab.
- Thirdly, check the boxes for “Use Cached Exchange Mode” and “Download shared folders”.
- Next, uncheck and re-check the “Use Cached Exchange Mode” box.
- Then, click OK and close all Settings windows.
- Finally, restart Outlook.
The “Work Offline” button should now appear on the Send/Receive tab, allowing you to access your email when you’re offline.
Checking the “Use Cached Exchange Mode” box ensures that Outlook will download and store your email messages locally, making them available even when not connected to the Internet.
How to check if you are working offline?
Since inadvertently going offline can disrupt your workflow, Outlook provides clear indications to let you know when you are offline. We will discuss some of these signs here:
While working on Outlook, you may have seen text such as ‘Connected’, ‘Connected to’, or ‘Working Offline’ in the bottom ribbon.
This is to let you know your working or network connection status. Depending on the version of Outlook you are using, phrases such as ‘Offline’, ‘Working Offline’, and ‘Disconnected’ may appear in the working status when you are offline
When the network is unavailable or unstable, users with Exchange Server or Office 365 email accounts can still work on their tasks using the Work Offline feature in Outlook.
Red cross on icon
When you are working offline, you will see a red ‘X’ on the Outlook logo in the taskbar.
The logo also indicates when Outlook is not connecting to the server or if there is a active connection error by displaying a warning sign (a black exclamation mark in a yellow triangle).
Work Offline button highlight
The ‘Work Offline’ button in the Send/Receive tab is highlighted when enabled. In contrast, in older versions of Outlook, there is a check-mark next to the ‘Work Offline’ option when it is enabled.
In conclusion, Outlook is a powerful email client that can sometimes switch to “Working Offline” mode, preventing users from sending or receiving email.
This can happen for a variety of reasons, including Internet connection problems, Outlook program problems, or the user manually selecting the “Work offline” option.
Fortunately, there are several ways to fix this problem and get back online, including disabling offline work mode in Outlook, checking for and installing pending updates, and starting Outlook in Safe Mode.
By following the troubleshooting tips outlined in this article, you can quickly resolve the “Outlook is working offline” issue and get back to your daily communication needs.
Frequently Asked Question’s (FAQ’s)
Work offline is an Outlook feature using which you can use Outlook without sending/ receiving emails while working.
You can work offline on Outlook by enabling Work Online mode in Send/ Receive tab in the Preferences group.
No, you cannot work offline in latest version of Outlook web app.