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If you've ever sent an email attachment through Outlook 2016 that exceeds the allowable attachment size and you're on a Mac, you will end up with the dreaded "The total attachment size exceeds the limit. Try removing one or more attachments before saving or sending" error notification.

It will not go away until you hunt down the offending email. Unfortunately the Outbox is not visible by default. How do you find the email when it is not appearing in Outlook 2016 or OWA?

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  • To find the outbox, you can check this article: support.office.com/en-us/article/…
    – Perry
    Jun 21 '19 at 4:18
  • This tip did not work to reveal the offending large attachment email. I had this problem again and tried it. The only thing that worked was my answer below. Oct 1 '19 at 20:06
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Please follow the instructions listed below and check if it resolves the issue:

  1. Select your mailbox, tap on the Outlook Search bar
  2. The search ribbon opens up
  3. Click on attachments --> greater than 10 MB
  4. This will open up a search bar. In that change the size from 10000 to 30000 (depending on your attachment size)
  5. In the search ribbon change the selection to "All Mail" - 3rd button from top left in the ribbon or 'All Items' to get the results from all the Outlook items.
  6. Right click on the message, click Attachments and Remove All. Once done, check if you can reproduce this error message.
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The solution for me was to clear the cache of Outlook.

Right click on Inbox, select Properties, hit the Clear cache button.

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  • That's interesting. I'll try that next time. Oct 8 '19 at 14:11
  • This worked for me but I had to click "Outbox" not "Inbox", but error went away after I cleared the cache.
    – VVilliam
    May 3 at 12:01
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This question may be a bit old and somewhat solved, but this problem is still around for many users. I FINALLY found a tool for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu that makes large gmail messages much easier to find and that can download and/or remove the attachments without forwarding the message or losing timestamp meta data:

http://unattach.app

I've been looking for a tool to do exactly this for years and signed up just to comment on this because I have a user with this exact problem again today.

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  • Not sure why the downvotes. I'm not a representative of that product or motivated by its sales. It's an awesome tool and saves a ton of time with removing large attachments without deleting the messages. Sometimes the people on the internet really disappoint me. Oct 10 '20 at 21:15
  • IDK. Does this work for items stuck in the Outbox? That was my original problem. Oct 30 '20 at 16:24

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