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.
In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why Outlook may switch to “Working Offline” mode and provide some troubleshooting tips to help you get back online.
Why is Outlook working offline ?
There are multiple potential causes for why Outlook may be operating in offline mode.
Some of the most common reasons include issues with the internet connection, problems with the Outlook program itself, or a user manually selecting the “Work Offline” option.
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.
Your email settings are incorrect: If your email settings are incorrect, Outlook will not be able to connect to your email server. 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 to fix Outlook working offline ?
There are several ways to disable the offline working mode in Outlook, 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:
- Open Outlook 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 Tab.
- 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
Starting Outlook in Safe Mode may resolve the “Outlook is working offline” problem by disabling add-ins and other add-on programs that may be interfering with Outlook’s ability to connect to the Internet.
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. An OST file is a cached copy of your mailbox that Outlook uses to work offline. If the OST file is corrupted or damaged, Outlook will be unable to connect to your mailbox and will work offline.
To recreate the OST file, 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 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 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
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 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 checkmark 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.