Outlook Command Line Switches

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How to Use Command Line Switches for Outlook

One the primary applications on almost all windows machines is Outlook. I know our of all the applications I use, it would be one I spend the most time in. I recently found some excellent command line switches to improve the outlook operation and to add extra functionality to your everyday use of Outlook.

A command line switch is a an extra command added to the end of the application executable. For the less nerdy readers, to open an application you icon, this is linked to a application file called an executable, example outlook.exe. This will open the outlook to your desktop. With a switch you can change the opening operation and make it do different things, example you could use a switch to create a shortcut that opens outlook to the calendar page.

  1. Click the Start button, and then click Search to find the Outlook executable file, Outlook.exe. For example, by default the path for Outlook 2010 on a 32-bit version of Windows is;
  2. C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice14Outlook.exe and 64-bit is C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice14Outlook.exe
  3. (if you have outlook 2007 it will be Office12, 13 is an evil number)
  4. Right-click Outlook.exe, and then on the shortcut menu point to Send To, and then click Desktop (create shortcut).
  5. Close the Search Results dialog box, and then go to the desktop.
  6. Right-click the shortcut you just created, and from the shortcut menu click Properties.
  7. On the Shortcut tab, locate the Target box. It contains the path for Outlook.exe.
  8. Press the SPACEBAR once to type a space after the path, and then type;
  9. /select outlook:calendar
  10. The full command should now look like this;
  11. “C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12Outlook.exe” /select outlook:calendar
  12. Click OK.
  13. On the desktop, double-click the Outlook shortcut you created.

Below as a list of all the different switches you can use to create a long list of shortcuts to speed up productivity. To be careful with some of them as they will clear out a lot of the cache and lists in outlook if you use the wrong one. If you are unsure about witch one to use, feel free to drop a comment and I am happy to assist .

Switch

Description

Works in

/a path:<filename>

Creates an item with the specified file as an attachment. Example:”C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12Outlook.exe” /a “C:My Documentslabels.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

/altvba <otmfilename>

Opens the VBA program specified in otmfilename, rather than%appdata%MicrosoftOutlookVbaProject.OTM.

2003, 2007, 2010

/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.activitycreates a Journal entry
  • /c ipm.appointmentcreates an appointment
  • /c ipm.contactcreates a contact
  • /c ipm.notecreates an e-mail message
  • /c ipm.stickynotecreates a note
  • /c ipm.taskcreates a task

2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/checkclient

Prompts for the default manager of e-mail, news, and contacts.

2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/cleanautocompletecache

Removes all names and e-mail addresses from the AutoComplete list.

2010

/cleancategories

Deletes any custom category names that you have created. Restores categories to the default names.

2007, 2010

/cleanclientrules

Starts Outlook and deletes client-based rules.

2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/cleandmrecords

Deletes the logging records saved when a manager or a delegate declines a meeting.

2003, 2007, 2010

/cleanfinders

Removes Search Folders from the Microsoft Exchange server store.

2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/cleanips

Restores receival of new messages in Exchange Cached mode (KB968773)

2007, 2010

/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

/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

/cleanrules

Starts Outlook and deletes client- and server-based rules.

2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/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

/cleansniff

Deletes duplicate reminder messages.

2003, 2007, 2010

/cleansubscriptions

Deletes the subscription messages and properties for subscription features.

2003, 2007, 2010

/cleanviews

Restores default views. All custom views you created are lost.

2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/explorer

Opens the new window in “explorer” mode (link bar on).

2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/finder

Opens the Advanced Find dialog box.

2007, 2010

/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, 2010

/hol <holfilename.hol>

Opens the specified.hol file.

2003, 2007, 2010

/ical <icsfilename>

Opens the specified.ics file.

2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/l <olkfilename>

Opens the specified.olk file.

2003

/launchtraininghelp assetid

Opens a Help window with the Help topic specified in assetid.

2003, 2007, 2010

/m emailname

Provides a way for the user to add an e-mail name to the item. Only works in conjunction with the /ccommand-line parameter.Example:outlook.exe /c ipm.note /m emailname

2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/p <msgfilename>

Prints the specified message (.msg).Prior to Outlook 2007, this does not work with HTML messages.

2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/profiles

Opens the Choose Profile dialog box regardless of the Options setting on the Tools menu.

2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/recycle

Starts Outlook using an existing Outlook window, if one exists. Used in combination with /explorer or /folder.

2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/remigrateconversations

2010

/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

/resetfolders

Restores missing folders for the default delivery location.

2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/resetformregions

Empties the form regions cache and reloads the form region definitions from the Windows registry.

2007, 2010

/resetoutlookbar

Rebuilds the Outlook Bar.

2000, 2002/XP

/resetnavpane

Clears and regenerates the Navigation Pane for the current profile.

2003, 2007, 2010

/resetquicksteps

Restores the default Quick Steps. All user-created Quick Steps are deleted.

2010

/resetsearchcriteria

Resets all Instant Search criteria so that the default set of criteria is shown in each module.

2007, 2010

/resetsharedfolders

Removes all shared folders from the Navigation Pane.

2007, 2010

/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

/restore

Attempts to open the same profile and folders that were open prior to an abnormal Outlook shutdown.

2010

/rpcdiag

Opens Outlook and displays the remote procedure call (RPC) connection status dialog.

2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/safe:1

Starts Outlook with the Reading Pane off.

2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/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 FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12Outlook.exe” /select outlook:calendar

2002/XP, 2003, 2007, 2010

/share feed://URL/filename/sharestssync://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

/sniff

Starts Outlook and forces a detection of new meeting requests in the Inbox, and then adds them to the calendar.

2003, 2007, 2010

/t <oftfilename>

Opens the specified.oft file.

2003, 2007, 2010

/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

/vcal <vcsfilename>

Opens the specified.vcs file.

2003, 2007, 2010

/x <xnkfilename>

Opens the specified.xnk file.

2003, 2007

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