Outlook is running slowly

Cause: A large volume of messages in the Inbox can slow synchronization with the mailbox server.

Solution:    Move some IMAP or Microsoft Exchange account messages from the mail server to your computer.

Mailbox folders in IMAP and Microsoft Exchange accounts synchronize regularly with the mail server. If you move some messages from these mailbox folders to a folder on your computer, synchronization may be faster.

  1. On the Outlook menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Personal Settings, click General  General Preferences button .

  3. Under Folder list, clear the check boxes for Group similar folders, such as Inboxes, from different accounts and Hide On My Computer folders.

    Note: When you clear the Group similar folders, such as Inboxes, from different accounts check box, you are turning off the unified inbox. Turning off this feature simplifies this procedure, but does not make Outlook run faster. You can turn this feature back on after you have completed all the steps in this procedure.

  4. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click Mail  Mail view button .

  5. In the message list, select the messages that you want to move.

    To select multiple items, hold down COMMAND as you click the items.

  6. On the Home tab, click Move, and then click Choose Folder.

    Home tab, group 4

  7. Start typing the name of the destination folder. When the folder that you want appears, click the folder, and then click Move.

    Notes: 

    • After completing this procedure, you might want to turn on the unified inbox, which was turned off in step 3.

    • After you move a message to a folder on your computer, that message is no longer available when you access your account from a different computer.

    • To keep your inbox from becoming too full, you can create rules to move or delete certain messages automatically. For example, you could create a rule to move all messages that are older than three months to an archive folder under On My Computer. To learn more about how to create rules, see Create a rule or edit a rule in Outlook for Mac 2011.

    • You can also copy a whole folder of messages by dragging the folder from an IMAP or Microsoft Exchange account to On My Computer. After you copy the folder to On My Computer, you can delete the original folder.

Solution:    Export items as an Outlook for Mac data file.

You can export items that you do not access regularly but that you do not want to delete. To specify which items you want to export, you can assign them to a category, and then you can export all items in that category.

  1. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click Mail  Mail view button .

  2. In the message list, select the items you want to export.

    To select multiple items, hold down COMMAND as you click the items.

  3. On the Home tab, click Categorize, and then click a category.

    Tip: To create a new category, click Categorize, click Add New, and then type a category name, such as Archive.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for any other items that you want to export, such as in other folders or other item types.

  5. On the File menu, click Export.

  6. Click Outlook for Mac Data File.

  7. Click Items that are in the category, click the category you want to export, and then click the right arrow at the bottom of the screen.

  8. Click Yes, delete items after they are exported, and then click the right arrow.

  9. Enter a file name and the location where you want to save the file, and then click Save.

    Note: To learn how to restore information from a data file, see Import information into Outlook.

Solution:    Empty your Deleted Items folder.

  1. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click Mail  Mail view button .

  2. In the folder list, hold down CONTROL , click the Deleted Items folder, and then click Empty Folder.

Cause: Outlook can take longer to sort items by less-common fields.

Solution:    Sort contacts and messages by a different field.

The time that it takes for Outlook to sort items in a folder can vary, depending on the field that you want to sort by. For example, it is faster to sort contacts by name than by a custom field.

  1. In the folder list, click a folder that is taking a long time to open.

  2. Click the column heading that you want to sort by.

    Tip: For contacts, the fastest field to sort by is Name. For messages, the fastest fields to sort by are Date Received and Subject.

Solution:    Use search to find your items.

If sorting items takes a long time, search might help you find the items faster. To learn more, see Find items in Outlook by doing a basic search.

Solution:    Show only your incomplete tasks.

The tasks list may respond faster if completed tasks are hidden.

  1. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click Tasks  Tasks view button .

  2. On the Home tab, clear the Completed check box.

    Tasks Home tab, group 8

Cause: Outlook might run more slowly if logging is turned on.

Solution:    Turn off logging in Outlook.

Logging is a diagnostic tool primarily used by support professionals to help troubleshoot Outlook issues. By default, logging is turned off, but if you have turned it on and no longer need it, you can turn it off.

  1. On the Window menu, click Error Log.

  2. Click the Action button Action button .

  3. Clear the Turn on logging for troubleshooting check box.

  4. Restart Outlook.

See also

Turn on logging

About On My Computer folders

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