How to Set the Default Account in Outlook

Specify the address Outlook uses for new outgoing messages

A businessman in a shirt and tie sitting at a desk, using a laptop computer
Mint Images - Tim Robbins/Mint Images RF/Getty Images

When you reply to a message, Outlook is smart about selecting the email account to use for sending your reply. If the original message was sent to an email address that appears in one of your Outlook accounts, the corresponding account is selected for your reply automatically.

Only if none of your email addresses appears in the original message does Outlook use the default account for composing the reply.

The default account is also used when you compose a new message rather than a reply. While it is possible to change the account used to send a message manually, it is easy to forget this, so it makes sense to set a default.

Set the Default Email Account in Outlook 2010, 2013 and 2016

To choose the email account you want to be the default in Outlook:

  1. Click File in Outlook.
  2. Make sure the Info category is open.
  3. Click Account Settings.
  4. Select Account Settings… from the menu that appears.
  5. Highlight the account you want to be the default.
  6. Click Set as Default.
  7. Click Close.

Set the Default Account in Outlook 2007

To specify an email account as the default in Outlook:

  1. Select Tools | Account Settings... from the menu.
  2. Highlight the desired account.
  3. Click Set as Default.
  4. Click Close.

Set the Default Account in Outlook 2003

To tell Outlook 2003 which of your email accounts you want to be the default:

  • Select Tools | Accounts... from the menu in Outlook.
  • Make sure View or change existing e-mail accounts is selected.
  • Click Next >.
  • Highlight the desired account.
  • Click Set as Default.
  • Click Finish to save the change.