Email stuck in the Outbox in Microsoft Outlook

If an email seems to be stuck in your Outbox, continue on to the steps below to either clear the stuck message or see if a bad connection to your mail server is stopping the message from being sent.

Clearing a stuck email

To clear stuck email, follow these steps
  1. In Outlook, click the Send/Receive tab, and then click Work Offline.

    Note: This stops Outlook from trying to send all email messages.
  2. Select the Outbox. You can now:
    • Move the message: Move the message to the Drafts folder. You can either drag the message to the Drafts folder or you can right-click the message, select Move, select Other Folder, and then select the Drafts folder from the list.

      Note: This enables you to open the large email message, and remove, resize and re-add the attachments before you try to resend the email message again.
    • Delete the message: Right-click the message and select Delete.

    IMPORTANT: If you receive this message "Outlook is transmitting the message" close Outlook and wait for it to exit. You may have to use Task Manager in Windows to make sure that the Outlook.exe process is completed. Restart Outlook again and repeat the previous steps to either move or delete the email message.
  3. Click the Send/Receive tab, and then click Work Offline to de-select it. This restarts your connection.

Note: The steps listed above are primarily for removing corrupt email or an email with an attachment that exceeds the size limit set by the mail server. If the file that you are trying to attach to the email message is a large file, consider one of the following options:
  • At work, put the large file on a local network share or a SharePoint site inside your company and include a link to the location within the email message.
  • At home, use OneDrive to store and send large files to your friends and family. For more information about how to use OneDrive, visit the OneDrive website.

Additional causes are listed below.

Is your mail server offline

If your mail server is offline, it will look like your message is stuck in the Outbox. The quickest way to check the server status is look at the lower right-hand corner of the Outlook window, it will tell you if you're connected not.

Internet mail servers
  • Online - Screen shot for Online in Internet mail servers
  • Offline - Screen shot for Offline in Internet mail servers

Exchange mail servers
  • Online - Screen shot for Online in Exchange mail servers
  • Offline - Screen shot for Offline in Exchange mail servers

If you're not connected to the server, check your Internet connectivity by opening Internet Explorer and surfing the Internet. If you can surf the Internet, you know your Internet connection is good and the mail server might be down.

Wrong or changed password

If you changed the password on your Internet mail account, you're going to have to change your account password in Outlook too.

For more information on changing your Outlook password, please see: Change Password in Outlook 2010Change email account settings.

Note: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet mail providers (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail etc.) are starting to tighten their security for their customers Internet mail accounts. They track the general location of where you normally access your mail account from. If someone tries to repeatedly access your account (and fails) from another location, they will lock your mail account and require that you change your password.

You can also get help from the Microsoft Community online community, search for more information on Microsoft Support or Windows Help and How To, or learn more about Assisted Support options.

Article ID: 2663435 - Last Review: 09/23/2015 08:42:00 - Revision: 15.0

Outlook 2016, Microsoft Outlook 2013, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft Outlook 2010 with Business Contact Manager

  • KB2663435