I'm my boss' personal help desk, but that's another story...

He has this consistent problem where he'll create an Outlook 2007 email (HTML format is the default), and while composing it, happily typing away in the email body, he'll suddenly lose the ability to add, edit, or delete text in the body, or set focus anywhere in the body of the email. The email acts just like a sent or received email in that it is not editable.

He thinks maybe he hits an errant key or two when this happens, but I can't find any keyboard shortcut that would cause this issue. Ctrl-Enter would send the email, but it doesn't get sent, so that's not it.

If he saves it as a draft and re-opens it, it's still not editable. His workaround is to then send it to himself, open it, copy and paste into a new email, and finish his composition/editing. This makes him grumpy, understandably.

Any ideas?


  • 1
    Is he using Word as his email editor (it's an option in Outlook)? Seeing if changing that setting affects the problem might be a clue.
    – JP Alioto
    Jul 16, 2009 at 17:32
  • Good question. Is that even an option anymore in Outlook 2007? If so, I don't see it anywhere. And to answer the question, no, I don't think Word is his email editor.
    – theog
    Jul 16, 2009 at 17:39
  • Oh, I see Outlook 2007 ONLY uses Word as the editor: support.microsoft.com/kb/933793 That explains why I don't see it as an option anywhere.
    – theog
    Jul 16, 2009 at 17:44
  • 1
    Outlook add-ins?
    – JP Alioto
    Jul 16, 2009 at 19:26
  • 1
    I've had this happen to me when doing copy/paste from another application. I think it tends to happen when pasting HTML, but I'm not 100% sure. I've had it happen two or three times where it completely freezes up. Sep 15, 2009 at 20:09

4 Answers 4


It's possible that installed add-ins are blocking the current MailItem although I've never seen this exact behaviour before. See if disabling add-ins helps.


Some pcs come with trial ms office installed in them. When the trial application ends and asks you for a key, you can continue to view the file but you can not use it, edit it and so. I have seen this for Word. And as Outlook uses Word as the editor, this may cause in Outlook.


Try pressing the modifier keys once each (left and right versions of Ctrl, Win, Alt, plus the Menu key to the right of the space bar). I've had these periodically end up in a strange state making programs behave erratically, especially when I've used remote desktop that day.


I've seen it if the manager is trying to forward a pdf from acrobat, acrobat has the file open, so does outlook, they fight over it for a second, then lock up. The solution was to make pdf's open with the acrobat reader instead of the writer.

Its probably not your solution though, that sounds like offlb madness.. which you could probably reinstall to fix.

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