Outlook e-mail profiles explained

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003


Profiles in Outlook

A profile is what Outlook uses to remember the e-mail accounts and the settings that tell Outlook where your e-mail is stored. A new profile is created automatically when you run Outlook for the first time. The created profile runs whenever you start Outlook. Most people need only one profile. However, sometimes you might find it useful to have more than one profile. For example, you might want one profile for work and another profile for home. Also, if other people use the same computer as you, their accounts and settings can be kept in a separate profile that has a different name from your profile.

You cannot switch between profiles while Outlook is running. To change profiles, you must exit Outlook, and then select the appropriate profile when you restart Outlook.

 Important   Profiles in Outlook are similar to identities in Outlook Express but have no relation to hardware and software profiles in the Microsoft Windows® operating system. Although you can assign a password to individual folders within a Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that saved your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for email messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.), you cannot protect Outlook profiles by using a password. To help protect your Outlook data from intrusion by other people, you can use a password-protected Windows user account. For more information, see Using Outlook on a computer you share with other people.

What's in a profile?

A profile tells Outlook the following information:

Outlook e-mail profiles are stored in the Windows registry. That is why you use the Mail icon Icon image in Control Panel to configure profiles. When Outlook starts, it retrieves the profile information in the registry.

 Note   The Mail icon won't appear unless you have Outlook installed and you have started it at least one time.

Profile examples

A basic profile consists of one or several e-mail accounts and a storage file. Individuals might have an Internet e-mail account, while corporate workers might have a Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail account. Other accounts, such as IMAP (IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): Unlike Internet email protocols such as POP3, IMAP creates folders on a server to store/organize messages for retrieval by other computers. You can read message headers only and select which messages to download.), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): Protocol that is used when you access webpages from the Internet. Outlook uses HTTP as an email protocol.), and POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3): A common Internet protocol that is used to retrieve email messages from an Internet email server.), can be added to any profile, as well as additional storage files, such as an Archive.pst file for keeping older messages. Sometimes extra services, such as fax and address book directories, might also be included.

 Note   While a profile can include several Internet-type accounts, it can have only one Exchange Server account.

Single profile

Most people need only one profile. When Outlook runs for the first time, the profile is created automatically using the name "Default Outlook Profile." Whenever Outlook starts, the default profile runs automatically. When you add or modify e-mail accounts or include an additional .pst file to use, you are changing your profile. You can modify your profile at anytime; however, you cannot change the name of a profile after it is created.

ShowChange a profile

  1. Open the Mail Setup dialog box.

ShowHow?

ShowIn Microsoft Windows XP

  • In Control Panel, click User Accounts, and then click MailIcon image.

 Note   If you are using Control Panel Classic View, double-click MailIcon image.

ShowIn Microsoft Windows 2000

  • In Control Panel, double-click MailIcon image.

 Note   The Mail icon won't appear unless you have Outlook installed and you have started it at least one time.

  1. Click Show Profiles.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Do either of the following:
    • To add another e-mail account, click E-mail Accounts.
    • To modify Outlook data storage options, click Data Files.

Mail Setup dialog box

Multiple profiles

You typically need more than one profile in the following situations:

  • You want to keep your work data separate from your personal data.
  • You use Outlook on a single computer that you share with other people. For example, if you and your spouse have different e-mail accounts, each of you can have your own profile with the accounts and settings that you need.
  • You have multiple Exchange Server e-mail accounts.

If you need more than one profile, you can create a profile anytime and add the accounts and settings that you need.

ShowCreate a new profile

  1. Open the Mail Setup dialog box.

ShowHow?

ShowIn Microsoft Windows XP

  • In Control Panel, click User Accounts, and then click MailIcon image.

 Note   If you are using Control Panel Classic View, double-click MailIcon image.

ShowIn Microsoft Windows 2000

  • In Control Panel, double-click MailIcon image.

 Note   The Mail icon won't appear unless you have Outlook installed and you have started it at least one time.

  1. Click Show Profiles.
  2. Click Add.
  3. Type a name for the profile, and then click OK.

New Profile dialog box

  1. You can now add an e-mail account to use in your profile by following the directions on your screen.

If you use multiple profiles, you can do either of the following:

ShowConfigure Outlook to always start with a specific profile

  1. Open the Mail Setup dialog box.

ShowHow?

ShowIn Microsoft Windows XP

  • In Control Panel, click User Accounts, and then click MailIcon image.

 Note   If you are using Control Panel Classic View, double-click MailIcon image.

ShowIn Microsoft Windows 2000

  • In Control Panel, double-click MailIcon image.

 Note   The Mail icon won't appear unless you have Outlook installed and you have started it at least one time.

  1. Click Show Profiles.
  2. Under When starting Microsoft Office Outlook, use this profile, click Always use this profile, and then click the profile that you want to use in the list.

Mail dialog box

 Note   You cannot change to another profile while Outlook is running. You have to restart Outlook to switch profiles.

ShowConfigure Outlook to prompt you for a specific profile when the program starts

  1. Open the Mail Setup dialog box.

ShowHow?

ShowIn Microsoft Windows XP

  • In Control Panel, click User Accounts, and then click MailIcon image.

 Note   If you are using Control Panel Classic View, double-click MailIcon image.

ShowIn Microsoft Windows 2000

  • In Control Panel, double-click MailIcon image.

 Note   The Mail icon won't appear unless you have Outlook installed and you have started it at least one time.

  1. Click Show Profiles.
  2. Under When starting Microsoft Office Outlook, use this profile, click Prompt for a profile to be used.

Mail dialog box

 Note   You cannot change to another profile while Outlook is running. You have to restart Outlook to switch profiles.

  1. When Outlook starts, click the profile that you want to use in the list.

Choose Profile dialog box

 Note   Switching profiles means that you are changing which e-mail accounts and settings are available to you in an Outlook session. On the other hand, switching e-mail accounts means that you are sending e-mail by using another e-mail account and address available in the same profile.

 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003