Outlook Navigation Bar – Icons to Words

Outlook Navigation Bar – Icons to Words

Your Outlook Navigation Bar sits at the bottom of your screen. It allows you to easily switch between Mail, Calendar, Tasks etc. By default, the Outlook Navigation Bar contains small Icons so as to maximise your screen viewing. (See below)


Many people, myself included, find that the Outlook Navigation Icons are a little small and hard to recognise at first glance. So I’ve recommended for many years to change them to Words as below.

Outlook Navigation Bar – Words

It’s really easy to do, simply left click on the 3 dots … as shown below.


You will then see the Navigation Options Dialog Box below.  Simply uncheck the “Compact Navigation” box. Note, you can also choose how many navigation buttons you wish to display and the order in which they are displayed. Once your done, click OK.


I hope you found the instructions easy enough to follow. If you have any issues, feel free to get in touch.


Geoff Prior – Lingford Consulting, March 2020

Workload & Email Management Training/Coaching. MBTI Consultant

View our "On-Demand" Outlook Training


  • Ann Begley
    Posted at 09:35h, 02 April Reply

    Thanks Geoff,
    I much prefer the ‘word’ verses ‘icon’ look but just put up with it and eventually got used to it. However I have now changed it back, so thank you.



    • Geoff Prior
      Posted at 11:36h, 02 April Reply

      Thanks Ann. That’s pretty much what I find too. It’s only a small thing, but people tend to prefer the Words for sure!

  • Colette Quin
    Posted at 13:22h, 02 April Reply

    Thanks Geoff,

    I too prefer Words to Symbols / Icons. And I like the way you can reduce the amount you can see and put them in the order you want to see them in.

    • Geoff Prior
      Posted at 14:18h, 02 April Reply

      Indeed Colette. Sounds like you are really enjoying Outlook! Better than Lotus Notes??

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