When clicking the X button or ALT+F4, how can I get Outlook to minimze to the tray instead of close?

Several programs have this behavior, and it's annoying that Outlook behaves different...

  • I'm taking this issue to the next level here: stackoverflow.com/questions/3947038/… – Tamara Wijsman Oct 16 '10 at 0:38
  • Still haven't developed that hook yet, perhaps I could look into writing an Outlook add-in as another option. Other solutions are still welcome though, I seem to become used to minimizing but still closing it instead with hot-keys would take less effort (unless I create one for minimizing)... :) – Tamara Wijsman May 5 '11 at 7:13
  • Tom, please see meta.superuser.com/questions/6723 – Karan May 2 '13 at 15:17

I wrote a free plugin to minimize outlook instead of closing it. I only have outlook 2007 (works on 2010/2013 version as well) so that is all it has been tested with.

Anyone who wants to contribute to the project is free to do so



  1. Install Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package 32-bit and 64-bit (both required for x64 Windows)
  2. Download KeepOutlookRunning.dll
  3. Start Outlook as Administrator (right click on it in Start Menu)
  4. Go to File -> Options -> Add-Ins
  5. At the bottom: Manage [COM-Addins] press [Go...]
  6. [Add...] the KeepOutlookRunning.dll file downloaded in step 2
  7. Restart Outlook as a normal user
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    It worked for me though. Win7 SP1 32 bit + Outlook 2010 32 bit. Also I have checked "Hide When Minimized" options in tray icon. – Anindya Chatterjee Jan 4 '12 at 20:54
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    @TomWijsman, If I install the 32bit Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable package I don't get that error but it just returns to the dialog without adding it. I'm running 64bit. – Sam Hasler Jun 26 '12 at 16:21
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    I know this is old, but it still works for Outlook 2016 x32 (Windows 10 Pro x64) and it also works for Outlook 2016 x64. Just make sure to use the 64-bit version of this add-in. – Jonathan Gawrych Feb 14 '16 at 23:57
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    Still works on Outlook 365. Let's hope MS builds this into Outlook before breaking the legacy add-in API. – dorukayhan Oct 2 '19 at 3:38

With "Hide when minimized" active (not hard to find, just right click on the "O" icon in the tray)

  1. Open outlook

  2. Minimize outlook

  3. Open outlook again (not from the tray, just do it the way you did it in step 1)

You can close that window with alt+f4 or the X or whatever and outlook will still be in the tray.

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    That does not mean "Hide when closed". Thus step 2 is invalid and your last sentence is false... – Tamara Wijsman Oct 21 '11 at 0:31
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    Well, @Tom, after all these steps, it WILL be hidden on close. This solution works well for me, it is exactly what I wanted. – Dmytro Shevchenko Jun 21 '12 at 12:55
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    @Shedal: This clearly reads hide when minimized and does not work when closing it. – Tamara Wijsman Jun 21 '12 at 22:00
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    @Shedal This doesn't really allow Outlook to close to the tray, just keeps an extra copy running in the background. Hence, not really what the OP was after. – Hannele Jul 30 '12 at 15:30
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    I prefer this one rather than installing any extra addins – Nam G VU Aug 15 '13 at 5:20

Hit ALT+Spacebar+N. I do that every day, and it is an easy combination.

This can work with, or without, the "Hide When Minimized" option selected.

  • Interesting, I will probably map this under an easier to press combination. Perhaps ALT+F2 for minimize and ALT+F3 for maximize... – Tamara Wijsman Jun 15 '11 at 23:15
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    Or Windows Key + Down Arrow under Windows 7. If it is Maximized, this will first Normalize it, second press Minimizes it. I keep my window Normalized but stretched right to the edges. – Nigel Touch Jul 5 '13 at 18:30

You'll have to use a third party tool like OLKeeper

alt text

  • Is there a free alternative to this? :-( – Tamara Wijsman Sep 17 '10 at 23:11
  • I doubt, let me check. – Sathyajith Bhat Sep 17 '10 at 23:28
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    Wow, that is so expensive for what it does. – paradroid Oct 4 '10 at 15:01
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    Why pay for what you get with KeepOutlookRunning (Accepted answer) for free - which works with Outlook 2013? A menu to change the some minor options vs KORs lack of options... maybe worth a couple bucks, but 60? – WernerCD Feb 18 '15 at 17:35

You may use Minime at http://www.saphua.com/minime/minime.aspx. It's free & open source.

  • But then opening it takes extra effort... :-( – Tamara Wijsman Oct 4 '10 at 14:55
  • Right & agree! I myself dislike the way Minime to restore the apps. Prefer to see them in system tray - not in Minime menu :) – Nam G VU Oct 4 '10 at 20:20

Another two week trial add-in that does that (and more) is Quick Tweaks for Outlook. Just set the Minimize Outlook on close option. It is small and doesn't require any additional software/runtimes.

Please note that I recommend this add-in because I'm one of its developers.

  • Finally a solution for the Outlook in 2017 – Varon Apr 11 '17 at 23:37
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    Does not look free to me – Sebastian Ax Apr 22 '20 at 12:58

If the Alt + spacebar + N doesn't work for your keyboard layout (turned out not to work with mine - Polish Programmer), try:

Alt + spacebar + M

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