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Solved! Outlook for Mac 2016 - Message list blank when reading pane set to right

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Mr Mystikal
Possibly human , constantly learning , does not know everything.
I came across an unsolved Outlook issue and here is my solution.

Reference (currently unsolved):
https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_outlook-mso_mac/messages-list-is-blank-when-reading-pane-set-to/8dfe6a3a-de79-476c-95a7-e428e5eb60b9?auth=1


The Quick Fix 

rename the folder ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.outlook


Background

I decided to try contribute a solution that I could not find anywhere else.


This issue had occurred before on the user's Mac, where previously I had restored his view to defaults which did resolve the issue the first time, unfortunately the second time I was not so lucky.


Symptoms / Description

Outlook 2016 for Mac - when reading pane is set to right, the column to the left that contains a list of messages will appear blank, that is, the headings for groups will be present and the list items are blank that would normally give you the message's subject, sender and message preview.


The problem was not evident in a second account that existed prior to troubleshooting (same Outlook profile).


Only the message list column is blank, the content of the messages is still visible in the reading pane.


Troubleshooting Attempted and finally the Solution


  1. Tried resetting view to defaults - Result = Fail, same issue.
  2. Cleared Cache - Result = Fail, same issue.
  3. Created a new Outlook profile - Result = Fail, same issue.
  4. Created a new Outlook profile and set up a different e-mail account - Result = Fail, same issue.
  5. Logged onto the Mac using a different user, set up a profile in Outlook - Success! No issue present here, which helped me conclude the problematic file must be isolated to the user's profile.
  6. I hunted down every Outlook related preference file I could find, already knowing the GroupContainers folder contained data pertinent to the databases per Outlook identity, long story short I eventually found the culprit by renaming the folder

     ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.outlook


There is most likely a more efficient method, e.g. just renaming a specific .plist file within this folder. However, Outlook promptly recreates this folder after launching.


I was presented with the colorful / classic choice when opening Outlook and the profile and data were still intact after completing this selection. The added bonus is that items in the list were no longer blanked out.

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Author:Mr Mystikal
2 Comments

Expert Comment

by:Abhishek Tyagi
I had to deal with this issue as well. I was able to resolve this by simply renaming the file, Container.plist -> Container.plist.old
This should do the trick, you do not have to rename the entire folder.

Outlook will create a new file on first boot and the issue will be resolved.

I believe this issue is because of the corrupted Container.plist file; probably, this got corrupted during one of the updates.
1

Expert Comment

by:Lungisa Mapuma
or you can just go to Organise > Arrange by > Restore Defaults
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