Stop or change new email notifications from Outlook

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New email notifications in Outlook can be quite distracting, especially in Windows. Here’s how to stop them or change the notices to make them less distracting and suit you better. Or just change the new email sound to something you prefer.

The default email notification appears in the bottom right corner.  If you’re trying to concentrate, those regular intrusions are very annoying.

What’s worse, Outlook was forced to use the limited Windows notification system with a large display but fewer buttons/choices. The older custom Outlook notices had more options, like Delete, which were very useful. 

Nothing we can do about Microsoft’s dumbing down of Windows and Office, but we can change what happens when a new email arrives.

New email notices – the basics

Before moving into the tricks, let’s look at the basic settings which haven’t changed for many years.

Go to File | Options | Mail | Message Arrival | When new messages arrive …

Play a sound

Briefly change the mouse pointer

Show an envelope icon in the taskbar

Display a Desktop Alert – this triggers the notification box at bottom right.

If you don’t want any notifications, UNcheck all the boxes.  That’s what we do to reduce distractions while working.

Change the new messages sound

The ‘new email’ sound played by Outlook is controlled in Windows.

Go to the Sound dialog (right-click on the sound icon in the taskbar and choose Sounds) .

Scroll down to ‘New Mail Notification’ then click Browse to choose another sound file to play.

Only .WAV sound files work here, not .MP3 .AAC or other formats.  There are online tools to convert various short sounds to .WAV format.

Outlook only reads the sound settings at startup so restart the program to make it accept the new email sound configuration.

That’s the basics of new email notifications in Outlook.  As usual with Outlook or Office, a lot more is possible if you know the secret sauce.  That will be the subject of an upcoming feature.

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