FIX: Outlook emails are stuck in my outbox

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • Outlook, often used as an email client by business, is your choice too when it comes to handling emails effectively.
  • As many other great productivity software tools, Outlook is supposed to help you save precious time by helping you organize your daily affairs in a smart way.
  • Errors are nothing out of the ordinary, but none of them feels quite as frustrating as discovering that Outlook emails are stuck in your outbox. Clearing the stuck email or changing your password could make Outlook like a charm again.
  • Don't hesitate to browse our dedicated Outlook Fix section for more quick solutions to similar issues.
Outlook emails are stuck in my outbox

It’s not every day that you get your Outlook emails stuck in outbox, but when they do, it is painful and frustrating, as you cannot send or receive other emails.

Outlook emails stuck in outbox indicate that the message has not been sent, nor received on the other end, in spite of you moving them to the recipient, they still remain in your outbox, and here are some reasons why:

  • Your email has an attachment that crosses the limit in size for sending emails
  • Outlook is set on Work Offline mode option
  • The email that is stuck in outbox isn’t sent owing to a technical error
  • There may be authentication settings such as your Outlook account having issues with the mail server
  • Viewing a message or an email on outbox while it is waiting to be sent
  • You typed in a wrong password or changed your password for your email account
  • There’s no default email account
  • You’re using software that accesses your Outlook data files
  • Your security software is scanning outgoing mail (antivirus/antispam)

If you get Outlook emails stuck in outbox on your account or PC, use the solutions below to fix it.

What can I do when Outlook emails are stuck in my outbox?

1. Preliminary fixes

Here are some general troubleshooting solutions to start with when you find Outlook emails stuck in the outbox:

  • Check if you receive an error message while performing a send/receive email operation. This indicates a communication problem between Outlook and the outgoing mail server because they cannot connect for Outlook to send the email. If this is the case, we got your back with the best solutions.
  • Check if your ISP is blocking the port number you’re using for the outgoing mail server
  • Check your email provider to ensure mail server settings are updated because port numbers and/or authentication methods are changed by mail server providers
  • Check that you haven’t exceeded the hourly or daily email sending quota as enforced by your email address provider
  • Check your internet connection. A slow connection may not send out emails, especially those with large attachments, so the server connection may time out prior to sending the email. We have a complete guide to help you solve this particular issue.
  • Check if your outbox emails are in bold and italic (shows they’re ready for sending), if marked bold (they’ve been read), and if not marked bold or italic (meaning it was read and edited)
  • Check if your email settings have set a rule to delay sending, as this will show Outlook emails stuck in outbox
  • Try re-sending the emails by clicking send/receive and click Send All
  • Ensure Outlook is online. Go to your status bar at the bottom of the Outlook message and check for Disconnected or Trying to connect – if you see these messages, then your emails won’t be sent. It may be that your local server is down, especially if hosted on an on-premise Exchange server, or, if you’re on Office 365, check the internet connection and ensure there’s no temporary outage, and try sending the emails again.

If these preliminary fixes don’t help, try the solutions below.

Note: If you cannot fix Outlook issues or you simply want to change your email client, we would strongly recommend Mailbird. A leader on the market, it will satisfy all your needs.

2. Clear the stuck email

In order to remove corrupt emails or emails with attachments that exceed the size limit set by the mail server, you can either put the large file on a local network share or SharePoint site with a link to its location.

Using OneDrive to store or send large files is also an option to take into consideration. Otherwise, you can clear the stuck emails by doing the following:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Select the Send/Receive tab.
  3. Select Work Offline to stop Outlook from trying to send all emails.
  4. Select the Outbox.
  5. Move the email to the Drafts folder so as to open the large email message, and remove, resize, and re-attach before resending the email, OR, right-click the message and select Delete.
  6. Select the Send/Receive tab, and then select Work Offline to de-select it. This restarts your connection.

Note: If you get a message saying Outlook is transmitting the message close Outlook and use Task Manager to ensure the Outlook.exe process is completed. Restart Outlook and either move or delete the email.

Can’t open Task Manager? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution for you.

3. Check the status of the server

Is your mail server offline? If so, it will show your Outlook emails stuck in outbox. In this case, check the server status from the lower right-hand corner of Outlook window to see if you’re actually connected.

If not, check your internet connection through your browser, and if you can surf the internet, then your mail server is likely down.

4. Change your password

One of the reasons you find Outlook emails stuck in outbox is because the password for your email account doesn’t rhyme with the Outlook account password.

So, if you changed the email address password, you will have to change the Outlook password too.

You can either change the Outlook password for your internet email account, or for your Outlook data file. To do this:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Select File.
  3. Click Account Settings.
  4. Highlight the account you want to change the password for.
  5. Click Change.
  6. Enter your new password.
  7. Click Next then click Finish.

To change the password for Outlook data file, follow these steps:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Right-click on your email account.
  3. Select Data File Properties.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. Click Change Password.
  6. Enter your old password.
  7. Enter your new password and confirm it.
  8. Click OK and exit all windows.

Note: If you have an Exchange account, consult your Exchange administrator on how to change your password.

For better security, ISPs and email providers may require you to change your password if they suspect any unusual activity.  Also, you can choose the best antivirus for Exchange to secure your mail servers.

Were you able to get your Outlook emails from outbox? Share with us by leaving a comment in the section below.

If Outlook is really making your life miserable, check out our list with the best email clients.

FAQ: Learn more about Outlook emails

  • Why is my email getting stuck in the outbox?

Emails get stuck in the outbox when they have attachments that cross the limit in size for sending emails, the send/receive settings are incorrect, or your security software is scanning outgoing mail.

  • How do I fix a stuck email in my outbox?

To fix a stuck email in the outbox, you may clear the stuck email or check the status of the server. More solutions are detailed in this article on how to fix stuck Outlook emails.

  • How to check what folder includes an Outlook email?

If that’s your wish, refer to this guide on how to see which folder an Outlook email is in as it describes each step in detail.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.