Summary: If the Work Offline mode is enabled in Outlook, you will not able to send or receive emails. In this article, you will learn how to disable Work Offline and restore the connection with the mailbox server to start sending and receiving new emails. Also, you’ll learn how to use an OST converter tool to extract mail items from OST and restore them in a new profile if you can’t disable the Work Offline option.
Work Offline is an Outlook feature available for Exchange Server and Office 365 email accounts that allow users to continue their work when there are issues with the network connection or there is no network.
When the Work Offline mode is enabled, Outlook disconnects from the mailbox server. Thus, any email sent to you won’t be received in the Inbox and will remain on the mailbox server. Similarly, if you send an email while in Work Offline mode, the email will remain in the Outbox folder and won’t be sent until the connection to the mailbox server is established.
On the positive side, it prevents Outlook from displaying notifications, thus, you can work peacefully without getting disturbed by the notifications. All the changes made while working offline are stored in the local Outlook data file, i.e., Outlook Storage Table (OST). When you switch to the Work Online mode, the system connects to the mailbox server (if connected to the internet) and starts synchronizing the changes to and from the mailbox on the server.
If you have accidentally enabled the Work Offline mode and don’t know how to disable it, follow the steps below.
Below are the steps to disable the Work Offline mode in Outlook 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and 2007. You can follow them based on the Outlook version you use.
To disable the Work Offline feature in Outlook 2010 and later versions, follow these steps:
Follow these steps to disable Work Offline in Outlook 2007:
If the Work Offline option is greyed out, you cannot disable it. This issue may arise when your Outlook profile or data file is damaged or inconsistent. It may also occur due to several other reasons. To learn more, refer to our detailed guide on how to fix the error Outlook Work Offline greyed out.
Follow these solutions if you have disabled the Work Offline mode but still can’t connect to your mailbox server or send/receive emails.
Network issues can prevent Outlook from connecting to the mailbox server. If the network you are connected to doesn’t have internet access, you may notice the Disconnected status in the status bar with a warning icon. This indicates that Work Offline is disabled, but Outlook cannot connect to the mailbox server due to poor or no internet connection.
Although Outlook will connect to the server when the internet connection is re-established, you can go to the Send/Receive tab and click the Update Folder option to manually refresh and check if Outlook can connect to the mailbox server.
It’s possible that your login credentials may have been changed or updated by you or the administrator. You must update the login password to continue accessing your mailbox and send or receive messages. You can verify this by logging into Outlook Web App (OWA).
Although Outlook prompts and asks for a login password when it can’t connect due to invalid credentials, it may sometimes fail to do so, or you may not have noticed it. As a result, Outlook fails to connect to the mailbox server and stays offline.
In such cases, make sure Work Offline is disabled and restart Outlook. It will prompt you to enter the new password. If you don’t know the updated password or have forgotten it, you must contact your administrator for a new password and then change it.
If your system is connected to a domain network, your password for system login and Outlook remains the same. If you have recently reset or updated your system password, try that. However, this can vary based on your organization’s policies.
Try updating the Outlook client to the latest available update. This will fix any bug that may have led to the issue. You can check and update Outlook via built-in Update Options or Windows Updates (if using Outlook in an organization).
To update Outlook, go to File > Office Account and click on Update Options. Then click Update Now.
Alternatively, check and install Windows Updates and apply the Outlook or Microsoft Office updates that might fix the Work Offline issue.
When your Outlook profile is damaged or corrupt, you may experience several issues such as slow Outlook performance, delay in sending or receiving emails, etc. By setting up a new profile, you can fix issues caused by the damaged profile.
To create and setup a new profile in Outlook, follow these steps:
This will set up a new profile and fix the issue.
You can remove your old profile to avoid confusion and discrepancies at this stage. To remove it,
Important Note: A new profile will create a new Outlook data file (OST) and replace the older one at the default location. Before removing the old profile from Outlook, back up the linked OST file.
To recreate the OST file, you must delete the existing one. However, you must take a backup before deleting the OST file to avoid permanent data loss. Follow these steps:
Note: If you find missing mail items after all mail items are downloaded, convert the backup OST to PST format using an OST to PST converter tool, such as Stellar Converter for OST, and then import the PST file into your Outlook via Import/Export wizard.
Enabling or disabling the Work Offline option in Outlook is quite easy unless there’s an underlying issue with your Outlook client, profile, or data file (OST). In such cases, you may fail to disable the Work Offline feature or connect to your mailbox server. Following the resolutions discussed in this article, you can fix the issues, disable Work Offline, and restore Outlook mailbox connectivity. To avoid data loss, backup your Outlook OST data file before applying the solutions. After fixing the issue, if you found that there are missing emails, you can use an OST converter software, such as Stellar Converter for OST, to extract mail items from your backup OST file and save them to Outlook PST format. You can import the PST into your new Outlook profile or OST file to restore missing mail items. Using the software, you may also export the OST file directly to an Office 365, existing Outlook profile or live Exchange Server.
You can turn off Work Offline by clicking on the Work Offline button under the Send/Receive tab in Microsoft Outlook. However, if you want to disable or remove Work Offline permanently, disable the Cached Exchange Mode by following these steps:
To disable Work Offline in Outlook for Mac, click on the Outlook option and uncheck the Work Offline option to disable it.
Ravi Singh is a Senior Writer at Stellar®. He is an expert Tech Explainer, IoT enthusiast, and a passionate nerd with over 7 years of experience in technical writing. He writes about Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft 365, Email Migration, Linux, Windows, Mac, DIY Tech, and Smart Home. Ravi spends most of his weekends working with IoT (DIY Smart Home) devices and playing Overwatch. He is also a solo traveler who loves hiking and exploring new trails.
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