Microsoft Office Software

How do you make Outlook the default mail app on Mac?

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Mail mastery: set Outlook as the Mac's default email software

Even on a Mac, some of us are still stuck in a Microsoft world. For my money, and for all its faults, Outlook remains the best email app for Mac. But Apple really would rather you used its own Mail app and makes it awkward to swap mail software. Here, then, is how to make Outlook the default Mail app on a Mac.

Time needed: 2 minutes

How to set Outlook as the default mail app on a Mac

  1. Open the Mail app

    Yes, I know you don’t want to use Apple Mail, but believe it or not, the only way to switch the default Mac email client is from within the Mail app itself.

  2. Open the Mail settings

    With Mail open and selected as the active app, click Mail in the Menu Bar in the top-left of the screen and then select Settings.

  3. Change the default email reader

    Settings should open under the General tab. Now in the drop-down menu alongside default email reader select Microsoft Outlook from the list of options. (This does, of course, assume you’ve already installed Microsoft Outlook.)Mac Mail settings

Now, whenever you click on a mail link on a website, it should open in Microsoft Outlook!

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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  • Greetings! The Mail app always prompts me with a requirement to choose an email provider before I can even access the Preferences from the Mail dropdown menu (currently grayed out). How can I get around this since I’ve never set up an email account using the native Mail app? No matter what I choose (Google, Aol, iCloud, etc.) it’s forcing me to sync up an email account before I can get this “default email” option. Thanks!