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I use Outlook 2003 at work. Recently I've been encountering a problem whereby it enters some kind of "design mode", where clicking on buttons (e.g. New, Reply) or drop-downs allows me to drag and drop the control elsewhere on the UI, instead of invoking the relevant function.

I suspect I'm entering this mode by accidentally clicking multiple buttons on the mouse, but this is only a guess. I seem to be able to leave this mode by invoking a keyboard shortcut (e.g. Alt+R to spawn reply dialogue) after which the mouse clicks function as normal.

Has anyone else seen this problem? It's becoming extremely frustrating!

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Any luck (temporarily) solving the issue by only pressing Alt, without any additional key? – Arjan Sep 17 '09 at 8:52

Holding down Alt while clicking allows one to drag buttons from the toolbar, or rearrange them. (While doing that, the mouse pointer will also look different. And it will also work for menus, not only for toolbars.)

It seems to me that the Alt key is somehow stuck. (Or at least Outlook or Windows think it's pressed; it might actually not be stuck within the keyboard.) I guess just hitting Alt also solves the issue (so, without pressing any other key together with the Alt)?

The Windows' Accessibility options allow for "Sticky keys", which implies that one does not to really hold down Alt to make Windows handle it as being held down. Maybe that option is somehow enabled?

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Does this happen in Word and other Office programs, or only Outlook? – Daniel H Sep 14 '09 at 19:18
@Daniel, I assume you're asking @Adamski? (But yes: holding down Alt works for all programs in Office, but I don't know if @Adamski suffers the problem in Outlook only.) – Arjan Sep 14 '09 at 22:46

So this sounds dumb, but have you tried working with a different mouse? I've had that problem when my battery starts to die (on a wireless one) or I got some food or drink inside and clicks would stick or not register, etc. If nothing else, it's worth a shot.

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Could you be accidentally hitting Alt while you're resting your non-mouse hand on the keyboard? Are you using a laptop? Accidental key presses are more abundant with laptop keyboards, due to the way the keys are packed together.

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You could try cleaning the view. Start Outlook by going to start -> run and typing "outlook.exe /cleanviews" without the quotes of course. I've had that fix some strange Outlook issues before. Give it a shot!

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