Command line switches for Outlook 2013, 2010, 2007 and previous

Outlook comes with lots of command line switches and parameters which can be very handy for troubleshooting and (limited) automation.

This guide contains an overview of all available command line switches per Outlook version and how they can be used.


Using command line switches

You can directly execute command line switches in the following way:

  1. Open the Run command by pressing the Windows Logo + R on your keyboard.
    Alternative ways are: 
    • Windows XP
      Start-> Run…
    • Windows Vista or Windows 7
      Open the Start Menu and use the Search field to type in for the next step.
    • Windows 8
      Open the Start Screen and directly start typing. This will automatically open the Search Pane which also allows for commands.
  2. In the box you opened in step 1, type; outlook.exe
  3. Press the SPACEBAR once, and then type a forward slash mark (/) followed by the switch you want to use (see the list below). For example, if you want to use the CleanReminders switch, the command you type in the Open box should look like this:
    outlook.exe /cleanreminders
  4. To run the command, click OK or press ENTER.

Starting Outlook with the cleanreminders switch in Windows 7.
Starting Outlook with the cleanreminders switch in Windows 7.
(note the space in the command above).

Starting Outlook with the cleanreminders switch in Windows 8.
Starting Outlook with the cleanreminders switch in Windows 8.

Tool Tip!
To have easy access to the “direct start” command line switches (the switches that do not require further variables), you can use HowTo-Outlook’s very own OutlookTools (free).

Creating custom shortcuts with command line switches

You can also create a shortcut which includes one or more switches so you can automate tasks or start Outlook in a certain folder like the Calendar;

  1. Search for the location of outlook.exe:
    • Windows XP
      Open the Start Menu, click on Search and choose “All files and folders” to search for outlook.exe.
      When you have Windows Desktop Search installed, first click on the “Click here to use Search Companion” link in the left bottom corner.
    • Windows Vista and Windows 7
      Open the Start Menu and in the Search field type: outlook.exe
    • Windows 8
      Open the Start Screen and directly type: outlook.exe
    • All Windows versions
      You can also browse to the path of outlook.exe.
      Examples:
      • Outlook 2007 on a 32-bit version of Windows
        C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\Outlook.exe
      • Outlook 2010 32-bit on a 64-bit version of Windows
        C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Outlook.exe
      • Outlook 2013 32-bit of Office 365 on a 64-bit version of WindowsC:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\Outlook.exe
  2. Right-click on Outlook.exe, and then on the shortcut menu point to Send To, and then click Desktop (create shortcut).
    • Windows 8
      Right click on the outlook.exe search result and choose “Open File Location”. This will open a new Explorer window with outlook.exe highlighted. Right click on this file and choose: Send To-> Desktop (create shortcut).
  3. Go to the Desktop (keyboard shortcut Windows+D).
  4. Right-click the shortcut you just created, and from the shortcut menu click Properties.
  5. On the Shortcut tab, locate the Target box. It contains the path for outlook.exe.
  6. Press the SPACEBAR once to type a space after the path, and then type;
    /select outlook:calendar
    The full command should now look like this;
    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Outlook.exe" /select outlook:calendar
  7. Click OK.
  8. On the desktop, double-click the Outlook shortcut you created.

Creating a custom shortcut with the command line to start Outlook in the Calendar folder. (click on the image to enlarge)
Creating a custom shortcut with the command line to start
Outlook in the Calendar folder (click on the image to enlarge).

Tip!
To create a shortcut that creates a new message, follow the above instructions but instead of typing /select outlook:calendar use /c ipm.note.

You can also create a Send To shortcut for Outlook which has the /a switch. This allows you to select files in Explorer and use the Send To-> Mail Recipient feature to create a new message with the selected files as attachments while also adding your signature and not blocking Outlook. For details see: Send To Mail Recipient in HTML and with Signature.

Command line switches overview

The overview of commands below are taken from various local and on-line help files of all Outlook versions and from KB articles discussing them. In the right column you’ll find to which Outlook version the command applies.

Switch Description Works in
/a path:\<filename> Creates an item with the specified file as an attachment. Example:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Outlook.exe" /a "C:\My Documents\labels.doc"
If no item type is specified, IPM.Note is assumed. Cannot be used with message classes that aren’t based on Outlook.
2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/altvba <otmfilename> Opens the VBA program specified in otmfilename, rather than
%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook\
VbaProject.OTM.
2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/autorun macroname Opens Outlook and immediately runs the macro specified in macroname.
(no longer supported after Outlook 2003 SP2)
2003
/c <messageclass>
Creates a new item of the specified message class (Outlook forms or any other valid MAPI form).Examples:
  • /c ipm.activity
    creates a Journal entry
  • /c ipm.appointment
    creates an appointment
  • /c ipm.contact
    creates a contact
  • /c ipm.note
    creates an e-mail message
  • /c ipm.stickynote
    creates a note
  • /c ipm.task
    creates a task
2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/checkclient Prompts for the default manager of e-mail, news, and contacts. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanautocompletecache Removes all names and e-mail addresses from the AutoComplete list. 2010, 2013
/cleancategories Deletes any custom category names that you have created. Restores categories to the default names. 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanclientrules Starts Outlook and deletes client-based rules. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanconvongoingactions Deletes the Conversations Actions Table (CAT). CAT entries for a conversation thread usually expire 30 days after no activity. The command-line switch clears all conversation tagging, ignore, and moving rules immediately stopping any additional actions. 2010, 2013
/cleandmrecords Deletes the logging records saved when a manager or a delegate declines a meeting. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanfinders Removes Search Folders from the Microsoft Exchange server store. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanfreebusy Clears and regenerates free/busy information. This switch can only be used when you are able to connect to your Microsoft Exchange server. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010
/cleanfromaddress Removes all manually added From entries from the profile. 2010, 2013
/cleanips Restores receival of new messages in Exchange Cached mode (KB968773) 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanmailtipcache Removes all MailTips from the cache. 2010, 2013
/cleanprofile Removes invalid profile keys and recreates default registry keys where applicable. 2003, 2007
/cleanpst Launches Outlook with a clean Personal Folders file (.pst) 2003
/cleanreminders Clears and regenerates reminders. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanroamedprefs All previous roamed preferences are deleted and copied again from the local settings on the computer where this switch is used. This includes the roaming settings for reminders, free/busy grid, working hours, calendar publishing, and RSS rules. 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanrules Starts Outlook and deletes client- and server-based rules. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanschedplus Deletes all Schedule+ data (free/busy, permissions, and .cal file) from the server and enables the free/busy information from the Outlook Calendar to be used and viewed by all Schedule+ 1.0 users. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003
/cleanserverrules Starts Outlook and deletes server-based rules. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleansharing Removes all RSS, Internet Calendar, and SharePoint subscriptions from Account Settings, but leaves all the previously downloaded content on your computer. This is useful if you cannot delete one of these subscriptions within Outlook 2010. 2010, 2013
/cleansniff Deletes duplicate reminder messages. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleansubscriptions Deletes the subscription messages and properties for subscription features. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/cleanweather Removes city locations added to the Weather Bar. 2013
/cleanviews Restores default views. All custom views you created are lost. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/designer Starts Outlook without figuring out if Outlook should be the default client in the first run. 2003
/embedding <msgfilename> Opens the specified message file (.msg) as an OLE embedding. Also used without command-line parameters for standard OLE co-create. 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/explorer Opens the new window in “explorer” mode (link bar on). 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007
/f <msgfilename> Opens the specified message file (.msg) or Microsoft Office saved search (.oss).
(Support for oss-files has been dropped since Outlook 2003 SP2 due to security restrictions)
2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/finder Opens the Advanced Find dialog box. 2007, 2010, 2013
/firstrun Starts Outlook as if it were run for the first time. 2003, 2007
/folder Opens a new window in “folder” mode (Navigation Pane off). 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007
/hol <holfilename.hol> Opens the specified .hol file. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/ical <icsfilename> Opens the specified .ics file. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/importNK2 Imports the contents of an .nk2 file which contains the nickname list used by both the automatic name checking and Auto-Complete features. See: Import contacts from an nk2-file 2010, 2013
/importprf path:\<filename.prf> Launches Outlook and opens/imports the defined MAPI profile (*.prf). If Outlook is already open, queues the profile to be imported on the next clean launch. 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/l <olkfilename> Opens the specified .olk file. 2003
/launchtraininghelp assetid Opens a Help window with the Help topic specified in assetid. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/m emailname Provides a way for the user to add an e-mail name to the item. Only works in conjunction with the /c command-line parameter.
Example:
outlook.exe /c ipm.note /m emailname
2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/nocustomize Starts Outlook without loading outcmd.dat (customized toolbars) and *.fav file. 2003, 2007
/noextensions Starts Outlook with extensions turned off, but listed in the Add-In Manager. 2003, 2007
/nopollmail Starts Outlook without checking mail at startup. 2003
/nopreview Starts Outlook with the Reading Pane off and removes the option from the View menu. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/p <msgfilename> Prints the specified message (.msg).
Prior to Outlook 2007, this does not work with HTML messages.
2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/profile <profilename> Loads the specified profile. If your profile name contains a space, enclose the profile name in quotation marks (“). 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/profiles Opens the Choose Profile dialog box regardless of the Options setting on the Tools menu. 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/promptimportprf path:\<filename.prf> Same as /importprf except a prompt appears and the user can cancel the import. 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/recycle Starts Outlook using an existing Outlook window, if one exists. Used in combination with /explorer or /folder. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/regserver Rewrites all Outlook specific registry keys and re-associates file extensions without having to reinstall Outlook or run setup with the /y switch. The settings are stored in the Outlook.srg file located in the same folder as the Outlook program. 2000, 2002/XP
/remigratecategories Starts Outlook and and initiates the following commands on the default mailbox:
  • Upgrades colored For Follow Up flags to Office Outlook 2007 color categories.
  • Upgrades calendar labels to Office Outlook 2007 color categories.
  • Adds all categories used on non-mail items into the Master Category List.

Note: This is the same command as Upgrade to Color Categories in each Outlook mailbox properties dialog box.

2007, 2010, 2013
/remigrateconversations   2010, 2013
/resetfoldernames Resets default folder names (such as Inbox or Sent Items) to default names in the current Office user interface language.For example, if you first connect to your mailbox Outlook using a Russian user interface, the Russian default folder names cannot be renamed. To change the default folder names to another language such as Japanese or English, you can use this switch to reset the default folder names after changing the user interface language or installing a different language version of Outlook. 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/resetfolders Restores missing folders for the default delivery location. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/resetformregions Empties the form regions cache and reloads the form region definitions from the Windows registry. 2007, 2010, 2013
/resetoutlookbar Rebuilds the Outlook Bar. 2000, 2002/XP
/resetnavpane Clears and regenerates the Navigation Pane for the current profile. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/resetquicksteps Restores the default Quick Steps. All user-created Quick Steps are deleted. 2010, 2013
/resetsearchcriteria Resets all Instant Search criteria so that the default set of criteria is shown in each module. 2007, 2010, 2013
/resetsharedfolders Removes all shared folders from the Navigation Pane. 2007, 2010, 2013
/resettodobar Clears and regenerates the To-Do Bar task list for the current profile. The To-Do Bar search folder is deleted and re-created. 2007, 2010, 2013
/restore Attempts to open the same profile and folders that were open prior to an abnormal Outlook shutdown. 2010, 2013
/rpcdiag Opens Outlook and displays the remote procedure call (RPC) connection status dialog. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/rununittests   2013
/s <filename> Loads the specified shortcuts file (.fav). 2002/XP, 2003
/safe Starts Outlook without extensions, Reading Pane, or toolbar customization. 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/safe:1 Starts Outlook with the Reading Pane off. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/safe:2 Starts Outlook without checking mail at startup. 2003
/safe:3 Starts Outlook with extensions turned off, but listed in the Add-In Manager. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/safe:4 Starts Outlook without loading Outcmd.dat (customized toolbars) and *.fav file. 2003, 2007
/select foldername Starts Outlook and opens the specified folder in a new window. For example, to open Outlook and display the default calendar use:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\Outlook.exe" /select outlook:calendar
2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/share feed://URL/filename
/share stssync://URL
/share web://URL/filename
Specifies a sharing URL to connect to Outlook. For example, use stssync://URL to connect a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 list to Outlook. 2007, 2010, 2013
/sniff Starts Outlook and forces a detection of new meeting requests in the Inbox, and then adds them to the calendar. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/t <oftfilename> Opens the specified .oft file. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/unregserver Deletes all registry keys and file associations for Outlook. Its actions are based on the Outlook.srg file located in the same folder as the Outlook application. Use the /regserver switch to rewrite the registry keys and file associations after using this switch. 2000, 2002/XP
/v <vcffilename> Opens the specified .vcf file. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/vcal <vcsfilename> Opens the specified .vcs file. 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
/x <xnkfilename> Opens the specified .xnk file. 2003, 2007