How to Turn Microsoft Outlook Back Online

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Click “Work Offline” on the Send/Receive tab, not “Working Offline” in the status bar.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Outlook 2013's offline mode turns off automatic send and receive operations, letting you catch up on your old emails without an Internet connection. Usually, getting back online takes only a second click of the "Work Offline" button. Even if you get unexpectedly disconnected due to network issues, toggling "Work Offline" on and off often fixes the problem. If you get disconnected repeatedly from an Outlook.com account at work, however, you might need to change your settings to prevent the connection from timing out between send/receive events.

Switch to Working Online

Step 1

Check your connection.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Verify that your computer is online by mousing over the network connection status in the taskbar. You might need to open the hidden icons section to find the network status.

Step 2

Open "Send/Receive."
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Check whether Outlook displays a Working Offline or Disconnected notice at the bottom of the window. Working Offline indicates that Outlook is set to run offline, while Disconnected indicates a network issue. In either case, open the "Send/Receive" tab.

If Outlook doesn't show either of these messages, Outlook is already in online mode -- the email server might just be running slowly, or the program could be frozen.

Step 3

Disable "Work Offline."
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Click "Work Offline" to disable offline mode and go back online. If the "Work Offline" button isn't enabled and highlighted, and Outlook's status reads "Disconnected," click "Work Offline" twice to try reconnecting.

If Outlook still won't connect, try loading your email through the Web interface, if it has one -- if the email server is down, you won't be able to get online in Outlook or reach the Web interface until it comes back up.

Prevent Disconnects from Workplace Outlook.com Accounts

Step 1

Open the Send/Receive settings.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Open "Send/Receive Groups" on the Send/Receive tab and click "Define Send/Receive Groups."

Step 2

Send and receive more frequently.
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Lower the delay between automatic send/receive events. If you know how long your network allows an inactive connection before timing out, make sure the delay is less than that time. If not, try to progressively lower values until you stop being disconnected. Use the option in the Setting for Group area, not the When Outlook is Offline area.

Step 3

Turn off "Work Offline."
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Disable "Work Offline" -- or toggle it on and off, if it already appears disabled -- to reconnect. If you continue to get disconnected regardless of the value you choose, use this Fix It tool on Microsoft's site to attempt a fix by editing the Windows Registry.

Tip

If Outlook always starts in offline mode, even though your Internet connection is working, your Outlook profile might be corrupted. Try creating a new profile in the Mail Control Panel, in the Windows Control Panel.

If you can't ever connect to your email server, you might have the server address or your login entered incorrectly. Open "File" and click "Account Settings" to modify the setup.

Warning

Exchange email accounts don't display the "Work Offline" button if you have Cached Exchange Mode turned off in your account settings. This does not apply to most email accounts, which don't use Exchange.

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