Outlook not accessible when writing email

When I start creating an email from another application, I cannot access Outlook anymore. Every time I click in Outlook, I only hear a “ping” sound.
How can I get the focus back on Outlook instead of the opened message?

This is a limitation caused by how the application called Outlook to create a new mail.

You’ll find this behavior when you for instance use Send-> Email in Word or Excel (or any other Office application) or when choosing Sent To-> Mail Recipient when right clicking a file in Explorer.

This is because the Send To command initiates Simple MAPI which only loads a stub of Outlook and launches a modal form instead of a modeless form. This means that the form must be completed before the application underneath the form can be used again.

There is no direct workaround for this other than to start creating a mail from within Outlook instead of another application.

You’ll find that by sending a file via the Send To command, you’ll run into other limitations as well such as;

  • the message could be in Plain Text
  • when it gets loaded in HTML, your default stationery might not be applied
  • your default signature is not added
  • addins might not get loaded correctly
  • mail won’t be sent automatically when Outlook wasn’t running when you initiated the Send To command

Especially because of the last, you might want to verify that your message actually got send. Having Outlook running should do the trick. You can also change the message format while composing and add your default signature again. Only if you want it to be loaded by default or you know you’ll need access to the main Outlook window while you are composing, it would be recommended to start your message from within Outlook and add the attachment manually.

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