My Outlook is set to “Hide When Minimized” (see this). Is there a keyboard shortcut key to “unhide” it instead of going to that icon and right clicking it and selecting “Open Outlook”? Or at least, is there a fast way to do that with a keyboard?

Edit: It looks like there is no shorcut (yet). The best way (so far) to do it with the keyboard:

  • Win + B - Focus on the notification area

  • Right Arrow to get to Outlook icon

  • Enter to restore

  • And one of the great features of Windows 7, if Outlook is not the first system tray icon, you can always just drag and drop it to any position in the tray. MS finally got it right this time! – heavyd Aug 7 '09 at 4:11
  • There's simply no reason to navigate the tray with the keyboard. Just add /recycle (see my answer below). And if you are on Win7, just move the taskbar icon to the far left and use Win+1 – The How-To Geek Aug 7 '09 at 4:16
  • The point of "Hide when minimized" is NOT to have Outlook in taskbar where it expands when opened, and I have my Outlook always opened. So, Win+number route is closed. – buti-oxa Aug 7 '09 at 16:11

Focus system tray using Win+B key combination. Then you can navigate to system tray using arrows to select Outlook, press Enter.

  • Using the mouse is a lot quicker than navigating the system tray with the keyboard. – The How-To Geek Aug 7 '09 at 4:07
  • Sometimes is too irritating to move my hand to get the mouse, especially when you are typing something or you use keyboard a lot. Whether it's easier/quicker to do this with mouse, really depends on mouse, if it's optical it could go "fly" over your screen, if it's too slow of fast configured mouse, is icon in system tray hidden etc. I am very fast with keyboard and I can safely say I can do it faster with shortcuts. – Andrija Aug 7 '09 at 15:30

You can actually do just that, without much trouble at all, and with a single shortcut key. I've written an article covering how to do it:

Keyboard Ninja: Create a Hotkey to Switch to Your Open Outlook Window

In short, you'll just tack /recycle to the end of a shortcut, and add a shortcut key.

alt text

  • 1
    As I already told pelms, this simply does not work. If there is an instance of Outlook minimized, pressing the shortcut starts another instance of Outlook instead of activating the minimized one. – buti-oxa Aug 7 '09 at 18:31
  • Did you put the /recycle at the end of the target? It should work every time, does for me. – The How-To Geek Aug 7 '09 at 19:19
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    Sorry, I messed up, but rebooting helped to clear things. Now, pressing the shortcut does nothing when Outlook is hidden when minimized. Works as advertized when Outlook is just minimized. – buti-oxa Aug 7 '09 at 21:12

Double-clicking on the Outlook tray icon will restore it or bring it to the front. (Not keyboard, but still faster than right-clicking and selecting Open Outlook.)


You can assign a keyboard shortcut to Outlook by right-clicking it's icon in the Start menu and selecting 'Properties'. Then when you use this shortcut Outlook will restore from the system tray (or start if it's not already running).

  • 2
    Sorry, that is not what happens, at least in my Windows 7. Another instance of Outlooks starts intead. Interestingly, I saw this wrong answer already: msoutlook.info/question/71. Does it mean that other versions of Windows behaved differently? – buti-oxa Aug 6 '09 at 23:26
  • Ah, see what you mean... didn't notice until I unhid and there were 2 instances sitting in the taskbar. – pelms Aug 7 '09 at 9:06

I don't think so, not directly -- the problem is you can't send shortcuts to applications which do not currently have focus, so you'd have to click the system tray icon to give it focus, and since you've done that, you might as well click it again to bring it up.

For keyboard-based shortcut, you can Alt + Tab (or in Vista/Aero anyways, Windows + Tab) to spin through the current open or minimized applications via keyboard and then select the one you want, which will pop up the minimized window. Neither seems to show "hidden" applications, though.

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