How to Change the New Mail Sound in Office 2011 for Mac

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 doesn’t have an easy way to replace the sound alerts, but with a little digging, it can be accomplished. “Message for you, sir!”

Outlook 2011 Icon

Outlook 2011 IconI just got Office for Mac 2011 yesterday and I’ve been putting it through its paces.  So far, I’m impressed.  Sure, the “Ribbon” takes some getting used to, but overall, I haven’t had any insurmountable issues.  Two things that I’d like to see improved: 1) there’s no way to create an automatic archive for back ups like on the PC Outlook.  2) There’s no easy way to change the sound alerts.

This second one began to bother me today.  I’m a fan of Monty Python and several years ago started changing my new mail alert to a recording from the Holy Grail when Lancelot’s trusty servant Concorde gets shot with an arrow and says “Message for you, sir!”  I wanted to change that setting in Office for Mac 2011, but the alert options only has a checkbox – the alert is either on or off.  After some Googling and digging, here’s how to customize your alerts sounds for Office for Mac 2011:

Close Outlook

Open your hard drive and go to Applications > Microsoft Office 2011 > Office


Right-click (or control+click) on OutlookCore.framework and select Show Package Contents


Inside the Resources folder are the wav files for the alerts sounds.  To change the “new mail” sound, we want to replace the newmail.wav file by renaming the new alert to the same name and copying it into this folder.  Select to replace the file when asked.

Open Outlook.

Now, when you get a new message, it will play your new message wav instead of the default one.  It would be nice if there was a way to do this without digging through framework files, but until then, this will work for you!

18 thoughts on “How to Change the New Mail Sound in Office 2011 for Mac”

    1. Hey R2J, sorry to hear that! So the replacement sound file was a wav file, right? And you renamed the replacement file to newmail.wav and put in that folder – and that didn’t work?

        1. Nicholas
          I had the same problem and found my solution:
          Preferences Panes
          Sound Effects Tab
          Alert Volume (mine was turned to minimum)

          Problem solved!


  1. I tried this, in several different ways, and like the folks below, I can no longer hear any alert sound for any notifications. I replaced the original files and it works, but that sound is too soft and I would like to be able to personalize my alert sound in Outlook 2011 and I have not found any other help on the web about this. Did this really work for you? Can you direct me to a place where I can get a soundbyte like you used in .wav format to see if it works for me?

    1. Hey Rainbowdrgon, this did work for me – I wrote the instructions based on the steps I took – and it apparently worked for Nicholas too after he restarted. Are you sure the .wav file is loud enough before you used it? I don’t remember exactly where I got my Monty Python clip from, I just googled until I found the correct quote.

  2. This initially worked for me, however some 3 months later I changed the reminder alert and know I have no sounds at all. Any suggestions, running mac osx



  3. I may have figured out a solution. I went back and copied the original new alert sounds to my desktop. Renamed them to match the current alert names, allowed to replace existing files, closed everything out and re-opened Outlook 2011 and all of the sounds for the alerts are back and working.



  4. You should be able to google any clip you want and use that, just make sure it’s a wav file.  There are quite a few sites that have the Monty Python clips, I don’t remember which specific one I downloaded it from though.

  5. This doesn’t seem to work on 2011 with the latest updates to 14.2.2

    I tried replacing the reminder.wav with a file of the same name but different audio content, with the exact same encoding and when I restart Outlook, none of the alerts play under the Preferences / Notifications & Sounds panel.

    When I copy the original reminder.wav file back, restart Outlook again, everything works.  So is Microsoft using a checksum to ensure that these sounds are not changed?

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