Outlook Mail Badge Mod

Written by Chris Weiss (hotiron) in Tips and tricks

Here’s another little trick for all you Mac modders out there who hate being default. I’ve been reading about the new BETA of Microsoft Office Mac 2011 and from what I’ve read it looks like it’ll finally bring a real Outlook client. And frankly I think it’s about time we caught up a little when it comes to Office. Even if you live and breath Mac Mail or Thunderbird, you can’t deny there’s a lot of Outlook users out there and as an enterprise mail client it’s come a long way. But I think when I actually start using it I won’t be accepting their default dock icon with its oddly glowing new mail notification badge. It goes against everything I stand for. So I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do when it comes out and I’ve come up with a cute way to change things up a little.

Outlook Dock Icon Swap

Changing the default Microsoft Outlook dock icon

I do feel that the new Office suite default icons are a step in the right direction for Microsoft but I can’t be caught using defaults so I will surly be running some custom ones when it finally rolls out this Fall. I’ve been looking around in preparation for its release for a good set of replacement dock icons because it’s on my dock a lot and its day-glow yellow is going to clash badly with my whole minimalist look. Well today I stumbled on an interesting replacement icon for Outlook. I found Vintage Apples by Steph Vallieres on InterfaceLIFT and immediately thought the old vintage Macintosh would be a great look for my mail program.

New Outlook Mail Badge

The new mail badge icon in use with Outlook

But I’ve noticed in all the reviews that the Entourage new mail notification badge will be back for Outlook and the vintage icon is going to look pretty odd with that new mail badge overlapping it. So to fix this I came up with a new mail badge image that should fit pretty well with the vintage Apple replacement icon. Here’s how it will look together with the new Vintage Macintosh icon when you get a new email notification. Your happy blue Hello screen will be subtly replaced with a new mail graphic that fits within the screen area. Isn’t that cute? And it’s a simple mod to make. You too can make this change or even go a little nuts with Photoshop and IconBox and do your own thing. Here is how this mod will look in action when Outlook comes out.

Replacement new mail badge

Replacement mail badge

Vintage Macintosh icons

If you are trying out the new Office suite BETA with your MSDN subscription or just getting ready for the “full release” next month, then here’s how you too can change up your “Out look”.

  1. Download your copy of this cute little vintage Mac icon here
  2. Download the new mail notification badge graphic here (follow the link then right click and Save As)
  3. Unzip the icon archive file and rename the the vintage Mac icon called “84_macintosh” to “Outlook.icns”
  4. Once you have the new Office suite find Outlook.app (it’ll probably be at Drive/Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft Outlook.app)
  5. Right Outlook.app and select Show Package Content
  6. Browse into the Contents folder and then into the Resources folder
  7. Find the “Outlook.icns” and “new mail badge.png” files there and make a copy of them (quick archive right there for safe keeping) as a backup
  8. Now copy into the folder both the new “Outlook.icns” and “new mail badge.png” files that you downloaded earlier overwriting the default files

That’s it. Run Outlook and see if it doesn’t feel much friendlier. This is just a simple little tweak to the upcoming Office release that turns your garish yellow default Outlook dock icon into a neat little vintage Apple with a subtle and interactive new mail badge. Give it a try and see if you don’t feel much better about having to keep Outlook on your dock all day.


  1. Cerise says:

    So while in PS I just put the mail icon over the screen and then save?

  2. Cerise, that’s sort of what I did to make this PNG. If you want to use the same vintage mac shown here http://interfacelift.com/icons/details/1950/vintage_apples.html as your mail icon then all you have to do is save the new mail badge PNG file here http://www.hotiron.com/img/new%20mail%20badge.png that I made and copy both (named properly) into your Outlook.app bundle. But if you want to make your own new mail badge to fit some other dock icon then yes, you can open the default (or my new) mail badge PNG file in PS and move it and re-size it to look right on your new icon. I exported the icon to a PNG in CandyBar and opened both in PS and then moved the mail badge over the icon the way I wanted and saved the mail badge PNG, then copied it into the Outlook.app bundle. You may have to tweak the location because I’ve noticed it has to be one pixel to the right to look correct but that’s about all.

  3. Cerise says:

    Ah ok. I might try this. I don’t have Outlook yet but would like to try it when it comes to mac.

  4. A Hadd says:

    what i want to know is how to change the badge from that dumb star edged thing. even just a nice round red circle alone would be preferred over that thing.

  5. Fantastic article, I loved the what is vox on a walkie talkie bit

  6. Gavin White says:

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  7. Lucas Watson says:

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  8. Hello, great advice and an fascinating post, it’s going to be
    fascinating if this is still the case in a few months time

  9. Logan Murphy says:

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    best i have seen today.

  10. Eli Clark says:

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  14. Avery Flores says:

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    kim who? Joey what?

  15. Ryan Bell says:

    This has to be my second favorite commentary in the last few days, i can’t inform you the top, it
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