How to Get Outlook out of “Work Offline” Mode

How to Get Outlook out of “Work Offline” Mode

David, usually when I have Outlook open my mail comes in automatically, but now I have to hit Send/Receive every time. How do I fix this?

I get asked this question at least once a month, so I figured it was worth writing up here.

If Outlook loses its connection to the Exchange server for a while, it may go into Offline mode. As long as Outlook is set to work offline, you will not be able to send and receive messages in the background – you will have to hit the Send/Receive button.

To see whether Outlook is working online or offline, look in the lower right corner of the screen. If you are connected to Exchange, it will look like one of these two pictures:

clip_image002 (Outlook 2007)

clip_image004 (Outlook 2003)

If you are working offline, it will look like this:

clip_image006 (Outlook 2007)

clip_image008 (Outlook 2003)

To remedy the problem, click the arrow to the right of “Offline” and uncheck the Work Offline option:


If you are still unable to connect to the Exchange server after unchecking Work Offline, it may look like this:


If that’s the case, then the problem is more serious and you need to figure out why your computer is not communicating with the Exchange server at all.

Posted in All, Exchange, Office 2007, SBS, Software, Technology on Jan 9th, 2008, 10:16 am by David Schrag   

41 Responses

  1. Leonardo Perez
    May 14th, 2009 | 4:00 pm

    Hi, I am running Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and everything was running good until two days ago. I tried to check my e-mail and Outlook would not let me view any of my new messages or show any recent e-mails I’ve been sent. After reading your instructions I opened up Outlook and saw that it was in “Offline” mode but there was no arrow next to it. I’ve checked my e-mail from the Web and it’s working just fine. Have any suggestions? Thanks, Leo

  2. Curtis K
    June 24th, 2009 | 7:16 pm

    I have the same problem as Leonardo, but with Outlook 2003. Stuck in Offline mode with no little arrow next to it – and right-click does nothing. I can manually send/receive, after which it immediately returns to Offline mode. There’s also no “Go Online” menu item in the File menu, as I have seen suggested elsewhere.

  3. jojos
    October 14th, 2009 | 8:27 am

    Leo & Curtis
    A good chance you see this because outlook is not in cached mode.

  4. October 14th, 2009 | 1:03 pm

    great tutorial. I copy and paste this to my co-workers when they are having issues with outlook. thanks for the easy steps and screenshots.

  5. Mike Seal
    November 24th, 2009 | 4:27 am

    Cached mode was my problem. Put it in cahched mode and off it goes.

    Great !

  6. February 23rd, 2010 | 8:21 am

    yes. I have got prob same in my outlook, it shows i am in offline mode. today i bee online and i get this error please tell me how to come out form it.

  7. Ersel Eskisicim
    March 12th, 2010 | 7:57 pm

    I use Outlook 2007. Cached mode was my problem too

  8. April 22nd, 2010 | 9:25 am

    I have looked every where for this too. I have unchecked the offline folders box but the issue still seems to come up when I restart Outlook 2007. I have to uncheck the work offline option each and every time I start up Outlook. I have also recreated the user’s profile to no avail.

  9. captain la la
    May 18th, 2010 | 4:37 pm

    Did not have the option to change from offline to online. Happened after a transition from 2003 to 2007. Ran gpupdate /force and it restored functionality.

  10. Arun
    May 27th, 2010 | 9:49 am

    I had the same issue when I upgraded from 2003 to 2007. gpupdate really helped. Thanks

  11. Dale RD
    July 14th, 2010 | 2:51 pm

    The problem seems to be worse in Outlook 2010. Any guidance there. Outlook Help is useless.

  12. July 17th, 2010 | 7:45 pm

    IN Office 2010, you’ll find “Work Offline” under the Send/Receive above the icons. It’s the last icon on the right.

  13. bernadette thibeault
    August 16th, 2010 | 9:06 pm

    My microsoft outlook 2010 decided to go offline one day and I cannot restore it. I have looked everywhere to change with and cannot figure out how to change. Any ideas to help me out

  14. NNG
    October 5th, 2010 | 8:16 am

    In outlook 2010 use the send / recieve tab and deselect work offline.

  15. Debra
    November 24th, 2010 | 11:29 am

    In Outlook 2010 one of my user’s went in Work Offline, and we were unable to get it back to Online mode. Tried clicking on the Work Offline button, but it didn’t do anything to restore the connection. All other settings were fine.

    I had to recreate the user’s Outlook profile. Easy enough to do:
    1. Go to Control Panel and select MAIL.
    2. Chose to ADD a new profile.
    3. Once the profile is created chose to make it the default.
    4. Launch Outlook 2010 and then let the new cached mode make it’s copy on the workstation.

  16. JohnnyMac
    December 21st, 2010 | 9:46 am

    Was running into the same problem here after upgrading exchange server to 2007 from 2003. Running Outlook 2003 I could not get it to stay in online mode. Running “gpupdate” did the trick. Closed Outlook and reopened and it prompted me to go online or stay offline. Chose Online and it has stayed since.

    Thanks Captain La La!!

  17. Christopher
    January 26th, 2011 | 8:33 am

    On older versions of Outlook, click file (top left hand corner) and uncheck the work offline box….Sorted

  18. Jairo de Moraes
    March 4th, 2011 | 10:42 pm

    In OL 2010, I had a case just like Debra’s. Before I went through her advice, I searched more carefully and I found out that in Send/Receive tab in the ribbon, the last button to the right (Work Offline) was selected (and permanently pressed). Just clicked on it and the problem went away.

  19. April 11th, 2011 | 6:59 am

    great help…i think now it is clear to everyone how to detect in which mode they are working and how to off the “Work Offline” mode.

  20. April 22nd, 2011 | 10:25 pm

    How I can do that in outlook 2010?

  21. Chasten
    May 5th, 2011 | 10:36 pm

    The “Work Offline” is missing from the Send/Receive…Preferences. I went in to adjust the ribbons and it’s in there and grayed out. Where did it go?

  22. Denisa
    May 6th, 2011 | 10:17 pm

    Hi,thank you for the response how to solve issue of Outlook 2010 it was unbelievable. I was trying to set up so that it goes through my yahoo account but it started to download everything . I needed to figure out how to stop it and then it went offline and nothing could change the status. I tried everything but it did not work. Then I did with new account through control panel and somehow it made it through. So thank you . you would think that it is more convinient than fighting with it to do what you want to do .
    Thanks .

  23. Brian
    June 23rd, 2011 | 1:05 pm

    If offline is grayed out or does not have an arrow next to it, you may not need to rebuild the profile. From Outlook, go to Help, select About Microsoft Office Outlook. Click the Disabled Items button. If anything is disabled, select and click the Enable button.

  24. Jeffrey
    July 18th, 2011 | 3:08 pm

    I found a useful guide on how to setup Out of Office in outlook 2010 here:

  25. Jeff @ Estelle
    August 5th, 2011 | 8:12 am

    Thanks Cindy. I have office 2010 and your reply helped a lot. Thanks!

  26. Adam Rainbolt
    September 8th, 2011 | 11:54 am

    gpupdate /force worked like a charm! Thanks!

  27. September 10th, 2011 | 11:13 am

    This worked perfectly for me and solved a problem that had been driving me crazy for the last week. One difference I found today that enabled me to fix the problem was that the little down arrow to the right of “disconnected” showed and I could click on it. All week, the word “disconnected” showed up but there was no down arrow and I could not click on it. Thanks again.

  28. czyczaro
    September 30th, 2011 | 2:14 pm

    Thx! I found it on the FILE menu after changing the Options for use Cached Exchange Mode.

  29. Antonina
    November 27th, 2011 | 8:53 pm

    Thank you.
    The trick was: set a cache mode, then look for the ribbon at the right top, press permanently and Outlook 2010 will connect to the Exchange server. Works even via VPN.

  30. Sabelo Zulu
    November 29th, 2011 | 4:18 am


    my problem is more or less the same as those above. there is no arrow on the right of the offline sign and this this is really inconveniencing me big time.

  31. Sam I am
    December 30th, 2011 | 3:38 pm

    I would like to know how to go into cache mode and also do the gpupdate. I am having the same issue as everyone else did when going from 2003 to 2007.

  32. Les
    January 26th, 2012 | 1:18 pm

    Outlook 2010 is set to (Work Offline) I am not able to (Enable Online) can anyone help?

  33. robert
    February 2nd, 2012 | 2:12 am

    This is close but no cigar.
    1. I don’t want to see old mail if outlook can’t connect.
    2. I don’t want to work disconnected; that is I want outlook to stop showing me all the old stuff if it’s not connected.
    Where’s the setting?
    The only thing I found is a option to work offline when it starts, and I always say no, but it will still start offline if there’s no connection.

  34. Roshni
    June 13th, 2012 | 8:21 am

    I have outlook 2007. I had this problem and after trying several voodoo’s I found the option in the taskbar. The taskbar has FILE/HOME/SEND/RECEIVE/FOLDER/VIEW. In the send/receive option, in the preferences section, I had clicked the work offline by mistake. I clicked it again and the problem was gone.

  35. Luis
    July 17th, 2012 | 1:35 pm

    For the 2003 version, go to File and click on Work Offline to enable Outlook to send/receive messages.

  36. August 25th, 2012 | 10:22 am

    In 2003 you can remove the work offline under File. Go to File and remove the check mark beside work offline.

  37. Donna
    December 3rd, 2012 | 3:56 pm

    Same problem – no arrow and no button above the Send/Receive button. Wound up finding answer under the “File” menu – unchecked the “Work Offline”.

    I think my customer accidentally clicked that once when trying to click “Exit” as the two are together.

  38. December 5th, 2012 | 2:23 am

    in my case one of the users went offline upon logging in. Other users were asked for their details again when opening Outlook. The other clue was that the server had been turned off – inadvertently a few days earlier. When all tips had been tried (owa was the only thing that did work) restarting the server sorted the problem out!

  39. December 24th, 2012 | 6:49 am

    Can anyone tell me how I get out of that new System on my screen ‘ Called Outlook’ Give me back my plain Hotmail which was much simpler and clear.

    Can anyone help me?

    I would be grateful since I am not a PC expert at my generation.

  40. January 15th, 2013 | 4:39 pm

    I cannot get the Offline mode to stay off. It turns on every time i start Outlook 2010… Makes no sense.

    I did create a new test profile and it opens w/o the offline mode enabled.

    I have tried every other thing i can find.

  41. Abhishek Pathak
    October 1st, 2014 | 5:30 am

    I was also stuck in the same situation where my outlook was showing an error of “Working offline”. Now what i did. i clicked on the option of SEND/RECEIVE. Then i saw an option Working offline which was selected i clicked on it and that option was disabled. & then it started working fine.

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