How to Reset the View on Outlook folders

Many times users are told to "reset the view" to fix problems with the display in Outlook but they don't know how to do this. There are two ways top do this.

Outlook 2010 and up: look on the views ribbon for the Reset Views button to rest a single view or use the /cleanviews switch to reset all views.

Reset All Views in All Folders

First, you can reset the views for the entire mailbox. When you open Outlook using the /cleanviews switch you will wipe out all custom views and return all default views to "factory default". Sometimes its necessary, but sometimes just resetting the view for the current folder will work. If you aren't using custom views, you can use the /cleanviews switch without worry.

The /cleanviews switch will wipe out all custom views and return all default views to "factory default".

To use this method, close Outlook. Go to Start menu > Run (or Windows key + R) and type Outlook.exe /cleanviews then click OK.

Use Cleanviews switch to reset all views

Reset a View on a Specific Folder

The second method is less intrusive – it just resets the view on a specific folder or class of folders.

Outlook 2010 and Up

Outlook 2010 and up: look on the views ribbon for the Reset Views button.
A Reset button is also on the View Settings dialog (formerly the Current view dialog, below), which can be opened from the View ribbon, View Settings button or by right clicking on the field names visible in a view and selecting View Settings (Method 3, below).

You can expand the Change View menu and select Manage Views (formerly the Define Views dialog, below), then select the View by name to reset the view globally or select <Current view settings> to reset the view on the current folder only.

Reset View and other view-management commands are on the View ribbon

Create new views, edit views, or delete custom views using the Manage Views dialog.

Outlook 2007 and Older

There are 4 different ways to do this. Each version of Outlook supports these methods but the View menus are slightly different between versions–Microsoft moved the Customize and Define views commands to different locations on the View menu for each version. (The screenshots are from Outlook 2007. Accessing the Custom View Menu has screenshots from Outlook 2003. )

Step 1: Open the Customize View or Define Views Dialog

  1. Browse the View menu to find the Customize command
  2. Choose Custom on the Views menu

  3. Browse the View menu to find the Define views command
  4. Browse the View menu to find Define views.

  5. Click or Right click on the field names in a view and choose Custom (or Customize, if using a one line view).
  6. Click on the field names and select Custom

  7. Browse the View Selector on the Advanced toolbar for Define views. If the Advanced toolbar is not visible, go to View, Toolbars, and select it.
  8. Use the View selector on the Advanced toolbar.

Step 2: Click Reset button

Once you open the customize or define views dialog, click on the Reset button to reset the view.

With the Customize View dialog, hit Reset button to reset the view on this folder only.
Reset the view (or the the view) using the Custom view dialog

When using the Define Views dialog, select the view by name to reset it on all folders that use that name or choose <Current view settings> to reset it on the current folder only.
Use the define views dialog to reset the view in all folders using that view

Define Views or Customize Views?

What is the difference between Define Views and Customize views?

Define views brings up the view selector, so you can see all views associated with the folder. You can use this menu to make new views, delete views or reset any view. When you reset the view by selecting the name the view is reset on every folder that uses that view. Selecting <Current view settings> resets just the view in the current folder and creates a "one-off view" – a folder-specific view of the same name as the master view, but its not the exact same view as used by other folders. This view is specific to the folder and changes made to the view in other folders will not affect this folder. Using the /cleanviews switch cleans out all of these "one-off views".

Customize brings up the customize dialog and it affects only the view used in current folder.

Which is better?

If you made a change to a view – like changing the sort order – resetting the Current view is usually OK.

If you are having problems with a view, use Define Views and reset the view by name. This will restore the original view in all folders that are not "one-offed". Also use the Define views dialog if you need to delete views or want to edit a view and have it apply to all folders that use that view.

If resetting the current view or the default view doesn't fix your problem, you need to use /cleanviews.

You can avoid many view problems by not causing one-offed views. If you need to customize a view, copy the current view (in Define views) and customize the copy and apply it to the folder.

Accessing the Custom View Menu has additional information and screenshots from Outlook 2003.

  • robin

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!! You're illustrations and clear steps did the trick. I now have you bookmarked!!!

  • Hemant Shinge

    I am facing a problem in Outlook.

    If I make a New Appointment in outlook, it doesn’t appear in Outlook. Where in OWA I am able to view.

    After resting “Define views” I am able to view in outlook & owa as well.

    Thank You...

  • Mark M

    I have tried these steps above for Outlook 2003 to no avail. An important email folder vanished from my Inbox without any action on my part. Any further ideas How can I get it back? How common is this behaviour in Outlook?

  • Pingback: Outlook 2007 views were really confusing me until I read this link about how to reset them « Dr. Rafael Kassier()

  • Terrawide

    Browse? Really? How about a term that's been around since 1970? It's called CLICK. Nope, no excuses, if you're going to use a computer, just like a car, it is your responsibility to learn the CORRECT terminology. Otherwise we all become illiterates. Oh, and the instructions are actually inaccurate too. Woof!

  • Diane Poremsky

    The reason we use the term "browse" is because in some versions you do need to browse the menu to find the correct command - we included screenshots only from Outlook 2007, not all versions.

    As for accuracy, the steps are accurate for the version they were written specifically for, but it goes back to every version having a different menu, so its not going to be 100% accurate for all versions - it will be close enough for anyone smart enough to use a computer to find the command. Sorry.

  • shirah bell

    I am having a problem with contacts and calendar not opening in full size regardless of how i left it when I closed Outlook. Each time i have to maximize it. The views above don't seem to deal with this particular issue and I am loath to lose all my custom settings on the chance it will help my problem. Can you offer a suggestion? Thanks so much. Shirah

  • Diane Poremsky

    Open an appointment and contact and maximize them then close them and Outlook. Reopen Outlook and see if they are maximized. Changes often won't stick if outlook doesn't close cleanly - such as if windows crashes or reboots after installing updates when outlook was open- and restarting outlook immediately should set the change.

  • Frustrated User

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have been struggling with my calendar not displaying properly for the last few weeks and I just found this article and it fixed it!

  • Joe OConnor

    Good information! However, I am experiencing this issue that the recommended "fixes" aren't fixing. The Tasks are missing from the To-Do bar with the "cannot open folder" error. They are visible via the Tasks button, yet the "To-Do List" does not appear and displays the same error.

    I've used all of the various Outlook switches, rebuilt the profile 3 times and even created a totally different profile name. In each profile rebuild, the Tasks were visible...until Outlook was restarted then the same error was displayed. BTW, the user's Tasks appear properly in Outlook via our 2 Citrix servers AND via OWA. I am going to try building a profile on another machine. Can anyone help with this strange one??? Thanks in advance!

  • Diane Poremsky

    Are they missing from the to-do list in the task module or the to-do bar on the right side?

  • Joe OConnor


    Thanks for the reply! Both...I'm afraid.


  • Diane Poremsky

    /resettodobar switch should fix the to-do bar...

    Are you using cached exchange? Did you make new data files when you made new profiles?

  • Joe OConnor

    ...also, building the user's profile (and mail profile) on another machine (mine!) worked properly. The Tasks were present in the Tasks module and on the To-Do bar.

    I just deleted and recreated the user's profile on his machine. Then I built a new profile in Outlook 2007. The Tasks were present again......until Outlook was closed and re-opened. the Tasks again are no longer visible.

    I've ran the Office Diagnostics (clean) and "repaired" Office from Add/Remove Programs.

    ...stumped, so far!

  • Joe OConnor


    Yes, tried that (and other) Outlook difference. Yes, we're using Exchange in cached mode and yes, created new OST files each time.

  • Joe OConnor

    ...I've also used MFCMapi to delete the Reminders and To-Do Search folders. However, I could not perform a "hard" delete of either of those 2 folders - got an error.

    Still getting the "Operation failed. An object could not be found" error on the To-Do Bar for the Tasks...even after trying all of the listed procedures.

  • Joe OConnor

    Just uninstalled/reinstalled Office completely, rebooted, recreated the user's mail profile and tried Outlook again. The Tasks were visible. Restarted Outlook several times (OST is not fully built yet - 2GB mailbox) and each time the Tasks were present. Need to now apply SP3 and test again but it looks good.

  • Charles

    Seems it worked for me! Thanks!

  • ismail

    I am having a problem with forwarding email view is coming right side on email how to change to down in normal view please help me to solve this problem.

  • somnath shinde

    your technical tips is is very good

  • Paul

    On a Mac with Outlook 2011. From the Inbox, I recently tried to Restore To Defaults the view of the Inbox. Since, I no longer see any messages in the InBox. The Inbox Folder icon shows the number of messages but they are not visible. Reapplying the Restore to Defaults does not resolve this.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Do you have any filters set?

  • IsadoraDesign

    Good to know!

  • Hal Winslow

    Each new personal folder defaults to the view that groups emails by date range. I always change this back to no groupings. Is there a way to have new folders default to no groupings without massive coding?

  • john

    is it possible to view calendars both from server and PST at the mail tab?

  • D Poremsky

    In the To-Do Bar? No, only the default calendar is shown in that To-Do calendar (or Peek in newer versions).

  • Rajkumar

    Thanks, It very useful for me..