Outlook has a nice envelope icon that displays on top of the taskbar icon when I have new mail. Sometimes this icon comes up when I get a new message, but then doesn't go away when the message is marked as read.

The only ways I know of to get rid of it is to close and reopen Outlook, or get a new email. Although sometimes if I'm unlucky the same thing will happen with the new email.

Here are two screenshots of what I'm talking about. You can clearly see the new mail icon along with an empty inbox.

enter image description here (Click image to enlarge)

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Just to be clear, there really isn't any unread email (none in other folders, junk etc.).

How can I get Outlook to actually recognize when I have no new mail?

  • 2
    Why is your inbox empty?
    – kinokijuf
    Feb 19, 2013 at 17:03
  • 1
    @kinokijuf Because I've sorted all my mail and put it in folders. Feb 19, 2013 at 18:49
  • 1
    How did you get Outlook to look like that? Is it a skin? It's nice.
    – Fred
    May 17, 2013 at 21:10
  • 1
    @Fred I think it's a color scheme. Options, General, Color Scheme. May 18, 2013 at 21:56
  • Still actual for Outlook 2013/Windows 8. Discussion at microsoft.com - social.technet.microsoft.com/forums/exchange/en-US/… Jun 30, 2015 at 4:17

5 Answers 5


This is a known bug in Outlook. To get rid of this icon just right-click any Outlook folder with all read mail select Mark All as Read in the context menu.

  • 14
    That's not a great resolution when it happens many times a day...
    – SandRock
    Mar 20, 2012 at 8:24
  • 7
    @KrisHarper The bug has been reported over and over again since Outlook 2003.
    – Crashworks
    Jul 9, 2013 at 2:58
  • 14
    This is so lame! By the way I think it happens when you read your mail from another client (e.g. your mobile), and then your outlook "read" status doesn't get updated in the system tray.
    – Elad
    Jul 16, 2013 at 10:51
  • 7
    How much does MSs market share need to erode before they realize that user experience matters a whole lot in the 21st century?
    – jordanpg
    Apr 3, 2014 at 16:12
  • 9
    Wow... Posted in 2011, allegedly happening since 2003, and now its 2018 and it's still a bug... May 11, 2018 at 17:32

Another way of getting rid of the icon is to fully open an email - any email - in a new window (not just in the preview pane) by double-clicking it.


For those who likes keyboard shortcuts, there is a faster workaround than the right click/mark all as read. Select any message in your Inbox and use CTRL+U, CTRL+K. This will mark the message as Unread, then Read, and the envelope will vanish.

  • 1
    It seems in Outlook 2016, CTRL+Q is now the shortcut for Mark As Read.
    – DanM7
    Aug 3, 2020 at 14:38

I have an even easier workaround. When the new mail envelope doesn't go away I simply click on my sent mail folder and then back to the inbox and it goes away every time. Still is annoying when you work an office job and it happens like 10 times per day.


I see this happen in Microsoft Office Outlook 2013 all the time! It happens when I manually drag an email from the inbox to a folder, and when I have read messages on one workstation and then move to another one. The icon still displays unread even though there are no unread messages in my inbox.

The quick keyboard shortcut that I've found is to have one or more emails highlighted in the inbox and press ctrl+u to mark the email as unread, then ctrl+q to mark the message read.

  • Also, in Outlook 2013, marking a message as read using the "blue bar" in the message list does not clear the envelope icon from the taskbar. Aug 4, 2015 at 15:13

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