Command-line switches for Outlook 2013

The command that starts Microsoft Outlook 2013 is outlook.exe. A command-line switch is the addition of a forward slash followed by the command name and any parameters. You can change certain aspects of how the program starts by adding subcommands called switches to the outlook.exe command.

A switch appears as a space after the main command, followed by a forward slash and the name of the switch, which provide additional information about how to execute the command.

For example, the following command instructs Outlook 2013 to start with the Reading Pane (Reading Pane: A window in Outlook where you can preview an item without opening it. To display the item in the Reading Pane, click the item.) turned off.

outlook.exe /nopreview

First, verify the location of the outlook.exe file on your computer. If you accepted the default folder locations when you installed Outlook 2013, the outlook.exe file is located at the following:

c:\program files\microsoft office\office15\outlook.exe

If you installed Outlook 2013 32-bit on Windows 64-bit, look here:

c:\program files (x86)\microsoft office\office15\outlook.exe

If you can’t find the outlook.exe file at that location, search for the file and note the full path.

  1. Click the Start button, point to All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Run.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type a quotation mark, enter the full path for the outlook.exe file, and then type another quotation mark. Alternatively, click Browse to locate and select the file. In this case, the quotation marks are supplied automatically.
  3. After the closing quotation mark, type a space, and then type the switch. For example, you might type:

"c:\program files\microsoft office\office15\outlook.exe" /nopreview

The next time you start Outlook 2013, the program opens as usual. To make your customized startup available for repeated uses, see the next section.


  • Switches are not case-sensitive. For example, /NOPREVIEW functions the same as /nopreview.
  • Remember to include one blank space before the switch and one before each parameter.

Available switches

Switch Description

Creates an item with the specified file as an attachment.


  • "c:\program files\microsoft office\office15\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 are not based on Outlook.

/altvba otmfilename Opens the VBA program specified in otmfilename, instead of %appdata%\microsoft\outlook\vbaproject.otm.
/c messageclass

Creates a new item of the specified message class (Outlook forms or any other valid MAPI form).


  • /c ipm.activity creates a Journal entry
  • /c ipm.appointment creates an appointment
  • /c creates a contact
  • /c ipm.note creates an e-mail message
  • /c ipm.stickynote creates a note
  • /c ipm.task creates a task
/checkclient Prompts for the default manager of e-mail, news, and contacts.
/cleanautocompletecache Removes all names and e-mail addresses from the Auto-Complete list.
/cleancategories Deletes any custom category names that you have created. Restores categories to the default names.
/cleanclientrules Starts Outlook and deletes client-based rules.
/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.
/cleandmrecords Deletes the logging records saved when a manager or a delegate declines a meeting.
/cleanfinders Resets all Search Folders in the Microsoft Exchange mailbox for only the first profile opened.
/cleanfreebusy Clears and regenerates free/busy information. This switch can be used only when you are able to connect to the server that runs Exchange.
/cleanfromaddress Removes all manually added From entries from the profile.
/cleanmailtipcache Removes all MailTips from the cache.
/cleanreminders Clears and regenerates reminders.
/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.
/cleanrules Starts Outlook and deletes client-based and server-based rules.
/cleanserverrules Starts Outlook and deletes server-based rules.
/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 2013.
/cleansniff Overrides the programmatic lockout that determines which of your computers (when you run Outlook at the same time) processes meeting items. The lockout process helps prevent duplicate reminder messages. This switch clears the lockout on the computer it is used. This enables Outlook to process meeting items.
/cleansubscriptions Deletes the subscription messages and properties for subscription features.
/cleanweather Removes city locations added to the Weather Bar.
/cleanviews Restores default views. All custom views you created are lost.
/embedding Used without command-line parameters for standard OLE co-create.
/f msgfilename Opens the specified message file (.msg) or Microsoft Office saved search (.oss).
/finder Opens the Advanced Find dialog box.
/hol holfilename Opens the specified .hol file.
/ical icsfilename Opens the specified .ics file.
/importNK2 Imports the contents of an .nk2 file which contains the nickname list used by both the automatic name checking and Auto-Complete features.
/importprf prffilename Starts Outlook and opens/imports the defined MAPI profile (*.prf). If Outlook is already open, queues the profile to be imported on the next clean start.
/launchtraininghelp assetid Opens a Help window with the Help topic specified in assetid displayed.
/m emailname

Provides a way for the user to add an e-mail name to the item. Only works together with the /c command-line parameter.


  • Outlook.exe /c ipm.note /m emailname
/nopreview Starts Outlook with the Reading Pane off.
/p msgfilename Prints the specified message (.msg).
/profile profilename Loads the specified profile. If your profile name contains a space, enclose the profile name in quotation marks (" ").
/profiles Opens the Choose Profile dialog box regardless of the Options setting on the Tools menu.
/promptimportprf Same as /importprf except a prompt appears and the user can cancel the import.
/recycle Starts Outlook by using an existing Outlook window, if one exists. Used in combination with /explorer or /folder.

Starts Outlook and starts the following commands on the default mailbox:

  • Upgrades colored For Follow Up flags to Outlook 2013 color categories.
  • Upgrades calendar labels to Outlook 2013 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.

/resetfolders Restores missing folders at the default delivery location.

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 in Outlook by 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 you change the user interface language or install a different language version of Outlook.

/resetformregions Empties the form regions cache and reloads the form region definitions from the Windows registry.
/resetnavpane Clears and regenerates the Folder Pane for the current profile.
/resetquicksteps Restores the default Quick Steps. All user-created Quick Steps are deleted.
/resetsearchcriteria Resets all Instant Search criteria so the default set of criteria is shown in each module.
/resetsharedfolders Removes all shared folders from the Folder Pane.
/restore Attempts to open the same profile and folders that were open prior to an abnormal Outlook shutdown.
/rpcdiag Opens Outlook and displays the remote procedure call (RPC) connection status dialog box.
/safe Starts Outlook without the Reading Pane or toolbar customizations. Both native and managed Component Object Model (COM) add-ins are turned off.
/safe:1 Starts Outlook with the Reading Pane off.
/safe:3 Both native and managed Component Object Model (COM) add-ins are turned off.
/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\microsoft office\office15\outlook.exe" /select outlook:calendar.

/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 SharePoint list to Outlook.
/sniff Starts Outlook, forces a detection of new meeting requests in the Inbox, and then adds them to the calendar.
/t oftfilename Opens the specified .oft file.
/v vcffilename Opens the specified .vcf file.
/vcal vcsfilename Opens the specified .vcs file.
Applies to:
Outlook 2013