Disconnected Mode-Computing Services - Carnegie Mellon University

Using Outlook In Disconnected Mode

Messages in remote mailboxes can be stored on your computer's hard drive so that you may access these messages when your computer is not connected to a network (when traveling, etc.). These messages can be read and otherwise manipulated in the normal manner, and any changes made to messages while in disconnected mode will be reflected in their online counterparts the next time a network connection is made. This is known as disconnected mode operation.

Configuring Outlook for Disconnected Mode

In order to use disconnected mode, some preparation is necessary. Follow these steps:

  1. On the Send/Receive tab, in the Send & Receive section of the Ribbon, select Send/Receive Groups > Define Send/Receive Groups. The Send/Receive Groups dialog box opens.
  2. Select the name of the group for which you wish to change settings (the default is All Accounts) and click Edit. The Send/Receive Settings dialog box appears.
  3. Select your email account from the left panel.
  4. Follow these steps for each mailbox that you want to be able to access while offline:
    • Select the radio button for Use the custom behavior defined below.
    • Under Folder Options, if it's not already expanded, double-click your email address (or whatever you named your email account) to expand it.
    • Select the mailbox that you want to be able to access while offline (e.g., Inbox).
    • Select the appropriate radio button for the download method you prefer: Download headers only OR Download complete item including attachments.
    • If you want all sub-folders within this mailbox to be available in disconnected mode, right-click on the same mailbox and select Check All Subfolders.
    • Right-click on the same mailbox again and select Apply Options to All Checked Folders
  5. Repeat step 4 for all mailboxes that you want to be able to access while offline. When finished, click OK to close the Send/Receive settings window.
  6. Click OK and Close.

Disconnecting Outlook

Outlook automatically knows if you do not have a network connection and will switch you to disconnected mode automatically. Once you have followed the steps in Configuring Outlook for Disconnected Mode, no other preparation is necessary to work offline. Follow these steps to disconnect:

  1. On the Send/Receive tab, in the Preferences section of the Ribbon, select Work Offline. The button will turn yellow, indicating it is activated.
    Note: "Offline" is indicated in the lower right corner of the Outlook client. Individuals using Windows 7 will also notice a red "X" over the Outlook icon in the taskbar.

While offline you can compose new messages, read local copies of your mail, or reply to your mail.

Reconnecting Outlook

Follow these steps to reconnect Outlook:

  1. On the Send/Receive tab, in the Preferences section of the Ribbon, select Work Offline. The button should no longer be yellow, indicating that it is de-activated.
  2. After you reconnect, any outgoing mail you composed while disconnected from the network will be sent upon the next Send/Receive schedule or when you select Send/Receive.
Last Updated: 08/31/2010