Mark as Unread [Keyboard Shortcut] in Outlook

If you’ve ever opened an email that you intended to deal with later, you know it automatically gets marked as read.

This can be a bit of a hassle, especially when you prefer to tackle your emails by focusing on the ones that are still unread.

So, what do you do if you accidentally or intentionally open an email but aren’t ready to act on it yet?

No worries!

In this article, I’ll guide you through a simple, step-by-step method to mark an email as unread using a keyboard shortcut.

Let’s dive in!

Keyboard Shortcut to Mark as Unread in Outlook

Keyboard shortcut to Mark as unread in Outlook checkout below.

Ctrl + U

In Outlook, you can use either of the Control (Ctrl) keys to mark a selected conversation or message as read, regardless of the folder you are in – be it Inbox, Sent, Draft, or Trash.

Steps to Use the Keyboard Shortcut to mark message as unread in Outlook

Follow the below steps to mark the email as unread in an Outlook message.

  • Firstly choose the folder (for instance: Inbox, Sent, Outbox, Draft, or Trash)
  • Select the email message or conversation using the UP and DOWN arrow keys.
  • Press and hold the control key.
  • Without releasing the Control (CTRL) Key, press the U key. That will Mark the message as unread.
  • You will see the change of color/brightness once the message is marked as unread.

Alternate Shortcut to Mark message as unread in Outlook

Alt + H + W

  • Select the Email message or conversation that you like to mark as unread, using the Up and Down Arrow keys.
  • Press the Alt Key from your keyboard.
  • Click H
  • Then, click W
  • That will observe you’re email as marked as unread.

Note: In case accidentally you select the already-unread email and use this Keyboard shortcut, that will change the mode back to read.

This Shortcut is common for marking the email as read or marking the email as unread.


In conclusion, managing your emails in Outlook can be made much simpler with the use of keyboard shortcuts.

Specifically, marking an email as unread is a breeze when you use the Ctrl + U shortcut.

This handy tool is perfect for those moments when you accidentally open an email or when you need to come back to a message later.

By incorporating this shortcut into your daily routine, you can navigate your inbox more efficiently and ensure that important emails don’t get lost in the shuffle.

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