How to Make Outlook Your Default Email Client

How to set Outlook as your default email client in Windows

When you select an email address in a web browser, it opens your default email program, but that may not be the app you prefer to use. Here's how to set your default email program in Windows.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010 on Windows 10, 8, or 7.

Which Version of Windows Do You Use?

It's easy to change your default email client at any time. You'll find the settings in Windows. But, before you begin, check to see which Windows version you have. Changing the default email settings is different in different versions of Windows.

Set the Default Email Client in Windows 10

Use Windows Settings from the Start menu to change the default email client to Outlook in Windows 10.

  1. Go to the Windows taskbar and select Start.

  2. Select Settings (the gear icon).

  3. In the Windows Settings dialog box, go to the Find a setting text box and enter Default.

    Instead of searching in the Windows Settings dialog box, another method is to search from the Type here to search box in the Windows taskbar.

  4. Select Choose a default email app.

    Looking for default app settings in Windows 10.
  5. Select Mail to display a list of email apps that are installed on your computer.

  6. Select Outlook.

    If you don't want to use Outlook as the default email app, choose a different email app from the list or select Look for an app in the Microsoft Store to install another email app.

    Selecting a default email client in Windows 10.
  7. Close the Settings dialog box.

Add an Outlook.com Email to Windows 10

With Windows 10, you may no longer have access to Outlook Express. Fortunately, Windows 10 has a built-in email client called Mail.

To add your Outlook.com email (or any email) to Windows Mail:

  1. Go to the Windows taskbar, select Start, then choose Mail.

    Selecting Windows 10 mail app.
  2. In Windows Mail, select Settings (the gear icon).

  3. Select Manage Accounts.

    Choosing manage accounts in Windows Mail.
  4. Select Add account.

    Selecting add account in Windows 10 Mail.
  5. In the Add an account dialog box, select Outlook.com.

    Choosing to setup an Outlook.com email in Windows 10 Mail.
  6. Enter your email address, then select Next.

    Preparing to enter an email to setup in Mail in Windows 10.
  7. In the Enter password dialog box, enter your Outlook.com password, then select Sign in.

    Prompt to enter a password for an email being setup in Windows Mail.
  8. If you set up Windows Hello or two-step verification, follow the prompts to enter the pin or code.

    Prompt for a pin in Windows 10.
  9. After you've signed in, select Done.

    Completion of setting up an email address in Windows 10 Mail.
  10. Your Outlook.com email address appears in the accounts list.

Set the Default Email Program in Windows 8

Make changes in Windows 8 from the Control Panel.

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Select Programs > Default Programs.

    You'll see this in Windows 8 only if you're viewing the items by category. Otherwise, you can just choose Default Programs.

  3. Select Associate a file type or protocol with a program. The Set Associations window opens.

  4. Scroll down the list to Protocols and double-click MAILTO.

  5. Select Outlook in the popup window asking how you want to open mailto links. Apply the change and close the window.

Set the Default Email Program in Windows 7

Find the Default Programs window from the Start menu to change the default email client to Outlook in Windows 7.

  1. Select Start.

  2. Open the Start menu and select Default Programs.

  3. Select Set your default programs.

  4. Select either Outlook Express, Microsoft Office Outlook, or Outlook.

  5. Select Set this program as default.

  6. Select OK.