What is the keyboard shortcut to go to Inbox folder in Outlook 2011 on Mac? Or if the current focus is on some email in the email list how to switch focus to side panel which lists folders? And vice-a-versa.

4 Answers 4


Tab key?

did you try the Tab key - maybe together with Shift, Alt or Command? I don't have Outlook:Mac, but in MS Windows you can use Tab (or Shift-Tab backwards) to cycle through the window panes.

As this is not always very easy and quite limited, I'd suggest a more general and flexible approach to use MS Outlook mostly with keyboard shortcuts. Maybe not the exact answer to your question, but it finally lets you do even more than you asked:

VBA macros and Special menu

Similar to you, I was missing shortcuts in Outlook 2007 on MS Windows which let me change the current folder/view without using the mouse and finally chose the following solution, which works very well for me:

  • write some short VBA macros which activate the views/folders, I'm using most often
  • create my own Menu in the Menu bar (I called it "Special")
  • Added those VBA macros to this menu and
  • defined a short key for every one of them (by typing & before the corresponding letter in the name of the menu entry)

With Alt+s I activate my "Special" Menu and then by typing the short key for an entry, I can easily activate the macro and let Outlook switch its perspective.

I'm currently not on the PC where I made this setup, so I can add more details next week, if you're interested.

EDIT: it seems that Outlook 2011 for Mac does not support VBA (see http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/mac/forum/macoffice2011-macoutlook/does-mac-outlook-2011-support-vba-macro-programs/c6515223-1431-424f-851d-b7f5c6dc7df8). Alternatively, you could create Apple Scripts. I am not sure how to integrate them into the MS Outlook GUI - maybe with the Apple Script menu. However, Quicksilver (see below) could let you define keyboard shortcuts to launch those scripts from within MS Outlook (or even from within another application, if you wish).

Use Quicksilver or a similar tool

On MacOS X there is also the excellent (and free and open source!) software Quicksilver (http://qsapp.com/) which lets you define your own shortcuts, they are called Triggers (tutorial: http://vjarmy.com/archives/2006/01/quicksilver_gold_trigger.php )

  • 2
    I will give quicksilver a try. On microsoft forum it is mentioned that vba macros are not supported for outlook mac 2011. May 17, 2014 at 22:13
  • thanks for your feedback! See my edit (maybe AppleScript+Quicksilver) is an alternative for you. If that works for you, you can "accept" my answer by clicking on the check mark below the up/downvote arrows. Learning and using Quicksilver is really helpful if you want to get rid of unnecessary mouse-usage. May 18, 2014 at 2:24

As suggested by Martin I played some more with using TAB.

1) If focus is on list of emails then shift + TAB takes focus to side panel  
2) Pressing option + up arrow selects the top most folder in the side panel which happens to be Inbox folder.

So in two steps I am able to select the inbox folder without using mouse.

  • I think this is as close as it gets. I'd still like to be able to move to a different folder without relying on the side panel. My goal is to completely hide the side panel to maximize the footprint of message list and reading pane.
    – JAponte
    Apr 19, 2019 at 16:32

There is no built-in keyboard shortcut, so you have to create an Applescript and then assign a shortcut using the Keyboard control panel.

Step 1
Create the Applescript. Here's the code I used. Feel free to copy and paste.

on run {}
tell application "Microsoft Outlook"
    tell the first main window
        set view to mail view
    end tell
    set selected folder to inbox
end tell
end run

Step 2
Create your shortcut. Rather than re-create the wheel and explain how to create the shortcut, I'll link you to the page where I learned how to. Go here.


Cmd-Sh-[ will move the focus to the sidebar pane with inbox and other folders, from there you can use up/down arrows to navigate.

My overall Outlook Mac 2011 shortcut buffet has:

cmd-1       mail view
cmd-2       calendar view
cmd-arrow   forward or back in calendar view
ctl-cmd-2   work week view in calendar
cmd-sh-[    previous pane
cmd-sh-]    next pane
cmd-opt-n   new message (any view)
cmd-sh-m    move mail item to folder
cmd-sh-j    mark as junk 
ctl-1       flag follow up today
ctl-0       flag complete
cmd-opt-'   flag clear
cmd-f       find in mail

In the mail sidebar I use several custom folders in the server inbox and a local archive folder, as well as a few folders added to Favorites which can be helpful.

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