How to Set the Default Account in Outlook

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Choose the email account (and address) used by default when you start a new message in Outlook.

What Having a Default Email Account Means in Outlook

When you write a reply to a message, Outlook is pretty smart about selecting the email account used for sending your mail. If the original message was sent to an email address that appears in one of your Outlook accounts, the corresponding account will be 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 message. Of course, the default account is also used when you start composing a new message (instead of a reply).

So it can be wise to set the default account to your work or personal account, depending on what is less embarrassing. While it is possible to change the account used to send a message manually, this is also easy to forget.

Set the Default Email Account in Outlook

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 ▾ under Account Settings.
  4. Select Account Settings… from the menu that has appeared.
  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 make an email account the default in Outlook:

  1. Select Tools | Account Settings... from the menu.
  1. Highlight the desired account.
  2. Click Set as Default.
  3. Now 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 | E-Mail Accounts... from the menu in Outlook.
  • Make sure View or change existing e-mail accounts.
  • Click Next >.
  • Highlight the desired account.
  • Click Set as Default.
  • Now click Finish.

(Updated July 2016, tested with Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2016)