Fix Cannot Expand Folder Error in Outlook

When you try to expand a folder in Outlook, you may receive an error message that says “Cannot expand the folder”. The issue occurs when your Outlook folder has a large number of items and you try to expand it. When you receive this error message, you’ll see that the folder is not expanded and all its contents are hidden. You will also see a message informing you that you need to close some items before you can expand the folder. If you are having such issues, here are some easy ways to fix them:

1. Make Sure Your Outlook Is Updated

Your first step should always be updating Outlook to the latest version. You can check for updates by going to File > Account Settings > Account Settings > Update Options > Check for Updates Now. If there are any available updates, install them and then restart Outlook to ensure they’re applied properly.

2. Check The Folder Limit

If you are using Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016, or 2019, you can only create 500 folders. You will not be able to expand the folders if you have created more folders. It also includes any sub-folders you create inside a folder. Furthermore, no folder can include more than 100,000 entries. Make sure your folders don’t have more items than the limit. 

3. Disable And Delete The Cache

The Outlook application requires the cache options to work efficiently. But with time, some cache files can cause some performance issues. If you are having the cannot expand folder error, you can try to disable to cache. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1– Open Outlook and click on File.

Step 2– Select Account Setting.

Step 3– Double click on your email account.

Step 4– Uncheck the box labeled “Use Cached Exchange Mode.” Refresh Outlook and check if the problem is resolved.

4. Delete Add-Ins

There are many add-ins available with Outlook. They help the working on the software more convenient. If you have recently installed a new add-in, try deleting it. You can do so by opening the outlook in the Safe Mode. You can also turn off all of the add-ons. If the problem has vanished, you’ll need to re-enable each add-in one by one to see which one caused it.

5. Outlook App Repair

Microsoft Outlook has the option of app repair. It can help you resolve some common issues. It may take some time so make sure you have a steady internet connection. Here’s how you can repair the Outlook app:

Step 1- Go to the Start menu and search for Control Panel.

Step 2- In the Control Panel, search for Uninstall and select Uninstall an application.

Step 3- Find the Outlook application. If you have installed it via Microsoft Suites, find that software. Select it and then click the top-right Change button.

Step 4 – A pop-up window will appear with two choices. The Quick Repair option works offline so first try it. If the problem persists, try the Online Repair option.

6. Make A New Profile

If the issue persists after following the above-mentioned methods, you can try to make a new profile. However, first, you need to take a backup of your files.

Step 1– Remove your profile from the Outlook profile directory on your local computer. After you’ve erased the file, restart your computer.

Step 2– Now open Outlook and select File from the File menu.

Step 3– Select Account Settings, then Manage Profiles.

Step 4– Select Show Profiles from the Profiles menu.

Step 5– Choose the Add option to add an email account to the newly created profile.


There are some remote chances that the PST file of your Outlook profile has become corrupt and Outlook has blocked it from opening your account. That’s why your profile may not expand the folders. So, you should use a professional PST Repair software and scan the PST file in it. The software will retrieve the information and you can put the repaired data in a new or existing data file. There will be multiple features or scanning modes in the software to complete the recovery.