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Encrypt button disappearing from Outlook

Iron Contributor



We seem to be having an issue with the Office 365 Office Message Encryption (OME) for a couple of customers.  They are properly licensed with Business Premium and AIP Plan 1 and have the latest version of the Office desktop (1812.11126.20196).  The button has just disappeared.  Recently, it's been upgraded from the previous envelope with red circle to the new lock icon. Yesterday, it is now either grayed out or the tab has completely been removed from the "New" message window in the "Options" section.  It was working fine the day before.  Not sure if this is related to the recent update of the Office client, but other customers with the same set up are not experiencing this issue.  The current affected customers still have the ability to use OWA to use the Protect/Encrypt button or mail flow rules I created for a work around.


I have also tried using the Online Repair option, new Outlook profile, and uninstall and reinstall.  These do not resolved the issue. Also, they do not have the AIP client software installed.  I have not checked this out yet, has the other customers with the same licensing and set up or working as expected.



28 Replies

I have the same issue. Latest version of Outlook too and on business premium as well as p2 license for Security. Shows up for others but not for me and im the admin. One hint though, is I noticed if you go log into office365 then go to Subscriptions area ( mine says Business Essentials which is what I used to be on. Not on that now. I suspect that's the issue.

More than likely you have both subscriptions added to your user, Business Essentials and Business Premium.  Remove Business Essentials and then check to make sure that all services are turned on under the Business Premium license.  If you had Business Essentials prior, you must have gotten your Office install from some other means.  Office 365 Home and Student does not support the feature in Outlook.  Check your version of Office.

I have the encrypt button now. As it turns out similar to what you said, my version of Office was wrong. I didnt realize it has to be version you download from in order to work or at least in order to work with the least hassle. The version I had was an volume license install.


Now that the encrypt button is showing and I can send encrypted emails to internal recipients just fine, when I send to external receipts using the "Encrypt Only" selection, the recipient (my gmail account for testing purposes) gets the email, gets the encrypted attachment but has now way to open the attachment. What I was expecting was for the email the recipient gets to include directions on how to use a one-time passcode to read the encrypted email.


I have a ticket open with Microsoft on this, did screen step recording and sent to them but been waiting on a reply. Thanks for your help.



Did you receive a resolution for this issue? I'm running into this for a customer who when they send out the encrypted email, it has no body. The attachment will open fine in outlook, but nothing will open in google. It's like it's missing the body of the message.



@crankinadmiralI'll have to give this a try...we use a volume license version as well and the encrypt button is there for everyone except this one user.  Though it could also be because that user is also the only one still running a VM...

Enable Google and one time passcode.  Use PowerShell to check the OME settings.


@Alex MelchingI found this issue to be due to licensing. after trying to troubleshoot why some of my users had the encrypt button in their outlook while others did not, a quick note from Microsoft confirmed what was an oversight. even though you can activate and enable OME for OWA for all users, to do so with those using local outlook client, they must have at least an E3 license assigned to them.


Note: Microsoft 365 Message Encryption is part of the Office 365 Enterprise E3 license. Additionally, the Encrypt-Only feature (the option under the Encrypt button) is only enabled for subscribers (Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise users) that also use Exchange Online.


this note is under the section Encrypt with Microsoft 365 Message Encryption"


Hello, that is absolutely not true.  You do NOT need to have an Enterprise level license or subscription, but you do need supporting licenses and/or add-ons.  When I started this post, that was the cause of the issue because after an update only Enterprise licensing (and O365 ProPlus) offered the Encrypt button and was quickly corrected when many SMB (with supporting licenses) users reported the issue as well.  Supporting licenses:


Newer tenants also have certain OME and IRM settings already enabled where as older tenants that may have not used OME before do not have turned on and you should go through the OME and IRM settings and enable newer features if necessary.


The page you reference does not have updated information.


The page you reference doesn't say Enterprise E3 only.  While not worded in the best way, it just says it's included.

"Microsoft 365 Message Encryption (Information Rights Management) - To use Microsoft 365 Message Encryption, the sender must have Microsoft 365 Message Encryption, which is included in the Office 365 Enterprise E3 license."

It's not just limited to Enterprise E3.

@Alex Melching First you have to have correct license. If the encrypt options button is not listed, go to Outlook trust center, email protection settings and put enable Encrypt emails. After that, there should be encrypt options visible in outlook.

ADD: If using M365 subscription, you have to DISABLE the email encryption in trust center. After this, the Encrypt email option button is still visible in new email settings and sending encrypted email is possible. Tested also with outlook mobile app (you need AIP Viewer)

I'm going through this ordeal now. I've talk to MS reps dozens of times. I've gotten so many different answers I'm about sick. We wanted keyword encryption via exchange rule, on demand- keyword and encrypt button, and policy based. 


First We were told Azure information protection is what we need. Then I was told Information protection and governance was the license I needed. Then I was told I need both. All along this ride I tested and tested. NOW, the encrypt button won't show in Outlook desktop, shows in OWA, and they tell me that I need E5. It's utter garbage... The outlook desktop encrypt button randomly shows up now. When it does it works. They tell me it must be a bug. They say with my Business standard license the office applications I have is under MS 365 Business apps version, while the encrypt button comes with the MS 365 Enterprise apps(proplus). 


Two weeks it too me to get this information and now I have an encrypt button that works, when it shows up, but you have no way of knowing when it's going to pop up. The keyword encryption and policy based via DLP policy works fine. 


I call BS. 



I'll do a write up on this thread to explain the Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) options and how the license and the version of Office impacts the user experience.

@rdiddy I've never had any issues (after much frustration) when support finally figured out that I needed to install a MS program add-on of sorts in order to fix this encrypt button issue. We use Office365 and our versions of Outlook come right from our subscription so you'd think it would already have everything built into Outlook especially since we're always running the latest versions of outlook to make the encrypt button work and work at all times, but it does least not for us. I also found out that it makes it a tad harder if you have more than 1 Inbox in set up in Outlook as you need a license for each email account you intend to send encrypted emails.  Employees will forget or simply not understand that they need to make sure they are using only 1 FROM address when encrypting so we had to resort to just paying for a license for any & all email addresses the employee uses so as to avoid this problem.   


Before you try installing anything here is the licenses we use that I know works. Apply the same to a user and test...maybe you'll get lucky and it will just work. 

Azure Information Protection Premium P2

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

I started with almost exactly what you have. Policy based encryption would not work. The encryption button did show up and was working when I had that license. Though I'm not sure if it would have stayed. MS claims it won't. P2 does not even show as an available service when I search. Also both p1 and p2 show office 365 message encryption as part of that service. I don't know what is what at this point. I know have the below:

Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Azure Information Protection Premium p1
Microsoft 365 E5 Information Protection and Governance

@rdiddy P1 (what you have) is even better than P2 & based on what you said, you do have all the correct licenses. You might want to pay extra for MS premier support. You could always downgrade your support after you're all fixed up if you dont want to keep paying it. They are much better IMO than standard MS  support. 

Good suggestion. I'll look into that. Yeah I've check in powershell to enable the encrypt button. It's set to be on. It just won't show consistently and they are stuck in "that's expected behavior" mode. Trying to get me to upgrade to e5. WTH. Like I'm going to pay all that extra monthly so a **bleep** encrypt button will show in Outlook desktop? Nope.
I know the button wont show up if Outlook is installed with Volume Licenses. Any chance that's part of the issue?

@crankinadmiral  No I don't believe so. My testing is limited to my user. I have installs at home and work that i'm testing. I did notice some differences I found interesting. Work outlook showed version 2102 build 13801.20266 (current channel) and Home showed version 2102 build 13801.20274 click to run current channel (preview). The home computer encrypt button is stable and working. The Work encrypt button is the one not showing, showing, random. I re-installed office on that computer and the Encrypt button is now showing. Not sure if it's temporary or not but it was worth a try. No idea why the two computers show up to date yet still show differences in versions/channel.