Outlook Command Line Switches
Outlook is a Windows program that helps you with managing emails, contacts, calendar, and many other items such as notes, distribution lists, and so on. It is an email client, but it is also a complete information manager software for Windows. There is also a Mac version, but for this article, we are only concerned with the Windows version. Although, some of the information given here can also be applied for Mac version, but in some specific parts, it might differ if you are a Mac user.
This article will talk about the Outlook command line switches. By learning these commands, you can gain an extra edge while using Outlook and will be able to automate, add proficiency, and be much better in your emailing work. Outlook has a good intuitive interface for most of its features, but by learning more advanced set of techniques, you stand to gain a lot, even if you are not an IT professional but just a basic home user.
So, first things first, what is a command?
A command (in this context) is an extra argument or a parameter that you specify while launching Outlook. When you launch Outlook normally, by either double-clicking on the Outlook.exe program or by going into your list of programs in Windows, it opens with all the default settings that already exist in place. For instance, all your add-ons will be loaded. All your previous configuration setting will be same when you launch normally, and so on. By giving a command line switch/parameter, you can change some of these defaults. This can be very helpful in troubleshooting some issue that you couldn’t otherwise solve normally.
One quick example of a command is “Outlook /safe.” The ‘safe’ command is one of the most commonly used one, and it means opening Outlook without any extensions, toolbar customizations, and few other things are also disabled, giving you a very basic and simple form of Outlook, which can be used to troubleshoot the problems you might be facing.
Note: There isn’t much difference between the term “argument” or “switch.” So, for the sake of this article, we have used them interchangeably. A ‘parameter’ is often added with the command that needs a parameter. For instance “select <foldername>” is a command that needs an extra parameter to function, which is a folder name in this case.
How and where to apply Outlook command?
There are four different ways to start Outlook command line argument or switch.
Press Windows and start typing Outlook.exe followed by “/command.” Windows will automatically give you the option to launch Outlook with that command, if the command is correct. In the screenshot below, the command used as an example is ‘Safe,’ which opens Outlook in a safe mode with all the extensions disabled.
Second way to use command line arguments for opening Outlook is through the “run” box in Windows. Hit Ctrl + R and then type “Outlook.exe /<command>” and hit enter, where ‘command’ is replaced by whatever command you want to use (such as ‘safe,’ ‘resetfolders,’ etc.). See the screenshot below for further help:
Third method is through the command prompt of Windows, also known as CMD. Hit Windows start button, type CMD and open it. Then, type “start Outlook.exe /command” and hit enter.
The fourth way is to create a custom shortcut and specify the command line argument permanently. Anytime you open Outlook through this shortcut, it will open with that parameter. This is helpful if you need to open Outlook many times with that command. First create an Outlook.exe shortcut anywhere you want, right click the shortcut file, go to ‘Target’ field, and then add the “/command” at the end after adding a space. See the screenshot below:
If you cannot find the shortcut for Outlook.exe, here’s how to find it:
- Go to ‘Start,’ type Outlook,
- Then from the right hand side, go to “Open File Location,” which will take you to the location where Outlook.exe program shortcut is saved.
- You can copy this shortcut anywhere else to make your own custom shortcut with the command-line argument you want.
- You can copy the shortcut files and make any number of copies with different commands for each one.
Above are the 4 methods, you can try for Outlook Command line switches.