Outlook uses the following four methods to alert you about new emails:

  • Playing a sound
  • Changing the mouse pointer
  • Showing an email icon in the taskbar
  • Displaying a banner alert in the bottom right of the screen (top right for macOS users)

All of these can be turned off completely:

  1. Launch Outlook
  2. Go to File > Options > Mail
  3. Scroll down to the Message Arrival section. You can turn any of the alerts on or off by checking or unchecking the corresponding boxes.
  4. Click the OK button to close the Options panel when you’re done.

Screenshot of Outlook Options window showing the location of the Mail option on the left hand panel, and the checkboxes for turning alerts on and off

Please note that you can only turn the alerts off or on.

Using Focus Assist on Windows 10

If you want no notifications at all for a period of time while you’re focusing on something else, Focus Assist is a built-in Windows tool that hides alerts from any (or all) apps at times and situations you choose.

You can access Focus Assist via the Settings panel:

  1. Press Windows+i on your keyboard to open up the Settings panel.
  2. Search for focus assist, then select Focus Assist Settings from the drop-down menu.
    Screenshot of Windows Settings window showing the search box looking for focus assist and the Focus assist settings option in the results
  3. Scroll down to the Automatic Rules section and turn on the options you want to enable.
    Screenshot of Automatic rules window showing four sliders for the options for times and activities when Focus Assist will turn on automatically
    Each option allows either Priority Only or Alarms Only, which can be amended by clicking the option and changing the Focus Level.
    Screenshot of the individual option window showing the slider for On/off and the Focus level. There is also a checkbox set to come on for a notification in the action centre when Focus assist is automatically turned on.
    Alarms specifically refers to the alarms generated by clock or alert apps. If you don’t want to be disturbed at all, you can set the option to Priority Only and remove all priority apps.
Last updated 24/11/2021 10.22 AM

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