Create a desktop icon to launch a specific Outlook profile

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While one Outlook e-mail profile is all most people have or require, others might find it useful to have more than one. For example, you might keep one profile for your work accounts separate from a profile for your personal data, due to privacy concerns or office policies.

If you have multiple profiles, you can configure Outlook to prompt you to choose a profile when started. Or, you can avoid the prompt by creating a desktop shortcut that allows you to launch directly a particular profile as needed. This article presumes you have multiple Outlook profiles and will demonstrate how you can enable one-click launch of a specific profile.


  • Once you have an Outlook profile open, you can easily switch from one Outlook profile to another as needed.

  • While the screen clipping used here to illustrate the process was made with Windows Vista, any version of Windows allows creation of shortcuts by this same method.

Need to find your profile name?

You will need the name of the profile you want to launch with the icon you create. To find your profile name:

  • From the Start menu, open Control Panel and from there open Mail.

  • Click the Show Profiles... button. This shows a list of available profiles. Note the name of the one for which you wish to create a desktop icon, noting case and any special characters.

  1. Right-click on the desktop, point to New, then click Create Shortcut.

  2. In the Create Shortcut dialog box, in Type the location for the item, enter "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /profile "[NAME]", where [NAME] is the name of your profile.

    At the Create Shortcut dialog box, enter the location of your profile, with quotes around the file path and the name of your profile.

    Important: The file path ("C:\Program Files ... OUTLOOK.EXE") must be in quotation marks, followed by a space, then /profile, another space, and then your profile name. The profile name must also be in quotes if the name contains a space.

    Note: You might find it easier to enter the file path using the Browse button in the Create Shortcut dialog box. After navigating through the path to the OUTLOOK.EXE file, click OK, and the path is entered in the Type the location of the item line, complete with quotation marks. You then must click on that line to put your cursor at the end of the file path, and type in a space, then /profile, another space, and your profile name.

  3. Click Next.

  4. In Type a name for this shortcut, enter the name you want this desktop shortcut to display. It is not required to be the same as the profile name.

  5. Click Finish.

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