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How to set a new default account in Outlook

Outlook for Windows
Outlook for Windows (Image credit: Windows Central)

In Outlook, when you manage multiple email accounts, the first account you configure in the app during the initial setup will dictate many of the default settings. When composing a new email, the app will use the address of the mailbox that you're viewing as the default to send the message.

However, if you usually use a different account to send messages, you can set that account as the new default to create new emails as well as the default account the desktop version of Outlook should open every time the app starts.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to configure a different account as the new default to open and send messages using the desktop version of Outlook.

How to configure an account as a new default in Outlook

Whether you use Office 365, Office 2019, Office 2016, or an older version, if you want to specify a new default account to send emails and when opening the app, you'll need to adjust a few settings.

Setting up a default account

To set an account as the new default in Outlook, use these steps:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Click on File.
  3. Click on Info.
  4. Click the Account Settings drop-down menu.
  5. Select the Account Settings option.

  1. Click the Email tab.
  2. Select the account you want to make the new default.
  3. Click the Set as Default button.

  1. Click the Close button.
  2. Restart Outlook.

Once you complete the steps, Outlook will set the new account as the new default. However, if you want to make the account the default to send emails or you want to start on a specific account every time you launch the email client, then you need to follow some extra steps.

Setting up send message default

If you always want to start a new email using the same default account, no matter the account you're viewing in Outlook, then use these steps:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Click on File.
  3. Click on Options.

  1. Click on Mail.
  2. Under the "Send messages" section, check the Always use the default account when composing new messages option.

  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Restart Outlook.

After you complete the steps, every time you start a new email, the new default address will be selected in the "From" section automatically. However, if you need to change the sender email address, you can always choose a different address using the "From" drop-down menu.

Setting up default startup folder

If you have multiple accounts configured in Outlook, and you use a particular account more than others, then you can set that account as the new default when opening the app.

To open Outlook in a new default account (or folder), use these steps:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Click on File.
  3. Click on Options.

  1. Click on Advanced.
  2. Under the "Outlook start and exit" section, click the Browse button.

  1. Select the folder that corresponds to the account you frequently use.

  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Click the OK button again.
  3. Restart Outlook.

Once you complete the steps, Outlook will always open in the account (or folder) that you specified for quicker access to your emails.

If you're using several accounts, in addition to setting the default folder, you can also move the account you use the most to the top of the list for quicker access. You can do this by clicking and dragging the account title to the desired position.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.