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How to Turn off or Adjust New Email Alerts in Outlook

How to Turn off or Adjust New Email Alerts in Outlook

Outlook does a good job of giving you information about new e-mails by using several different methods to remind you. Here are all the ways you can be warned, and how to turn it off or adjust it.

Outlook uses the following four methods to notify you of new e-mail:

  1. Plays sound
  2. Change the mouse pointer
  3. Displays the email icon in the taskbar
  4. Displays a banner warning in the lower right of the screen (top right for Mac users)

All this can be turned off completely. Open the Outlook application and then open File> Options> Mail and scroll down to the “Arrival Message” section.


You can turn on or turn off alerts by checking or unchecking the appropriate boxes. Click the “OK” button to close the Options panel after you are finished.

Turning off warnings here is an all or nothing solution. What if you want your alert to be a little annoying or not timely?

Use Focus Help on Windows 10

Sometimes you don’t want notifications at all, but only for a certain period of time when you focus on something else. This is where the Focus of Help is very useful.

Focus Assist is a default Windows tool that arrives at the April 2018 update and hides warnings from all (or all) applications at the time and situation you choose. We have discussed the Help Focus in depth, but this is what you need to do to make sure it does what you want for Outlook.

Although you can open Focus Help in a number of ways, we will go there via the Settings panel. Press Windows + i on your keyboard to open the Settings panel, look for “Focus Help,” then select “Focus Help Settings” from the dropdown menu.


Scroll down to the “Automatic Rules” section and turn on the option you want to activate.


Each option allows “Priority Only” or “Alarm Only,” which can be amended by clicking the option and changing “Focus Level.”


Alarms “specifically refers to alarms generated by the clock or alert application. If you don’t want it to be disturbed at all, you can set the option to” Priority Only “and delete all priority applications.

You can also adjust “During This Time” by clicking on it and changing the time options.


This is useful if you want Focus Help to be activated only at certain times of the day or only on weekdays and / or weekends.

Windows Notifications and Actions

In addition to Focus Assist, there are Outlook notification settings available on Windows. In the Settings menu (Windows key + i), look for “Notifications” or, if you have already seen Focus Help, select “Notifications & Actions” from the left menu.


Scroll down the list of applications until you find “Outlook” and then click to open the Notification application settings.


You can change whether the banner is displayed (the same settings as “Show Desktop Warning” in Outlook> Mail Options) or whether the sound is played (the same setting as “Play Sound” in Outlook> Mail Options), but the other options are specific to the Notification panel & Actions.

The first two unique options are whether you want notifications to be displayed in the Action Center (by default, this is turned on), and whether you want to hide notifications so they don’t appear on the lock screen (by default, this is disabled).


The second set of unique options is how many Outlook notifications are visible in the Action Center (1, 3, 5, 10, or 20), and where in the priority list, Outlook notifications are displayed in the Action Center.

These settings will not change Outlook’s behavior, but they will change what Windows does with the banner warning and how it shows the Outlook warning in the Action Center.

Change Warning Sound

Finally, don’t forget that you can also change the sound of new letter notifications to something you like more. Sounds that are more relaxing than the default bell can make a new letter a little unobtrusive.

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