Add your contacts to autocomplete in Outlook

If you've ever typed a name into an Outlook message and seen the contact you want appear within the first few letters, you've enjoyed the benefits of autocomplete.

We've already discussed how to remove outdated e-mail suggestions from Outlook autocomplete (just select and Delete!). But what if you aren't seeing all of the names you use regularly in your autocomplete list?

If they're already in your Contacts, there's an easy way to add them.

In Outlook 2007, go to Contacts, select all (Ctrl-A) and then go to Actions, Create, New message to contact. Once all of the contacts have been added to the To: line of your message, you can delete it without sending.

In Outlook 2010, go to Contacts, select all (Ctrl-A) and then on the Home tab click the E-mail button:

E-mail button in Contacts section

Once all of the contacts have been added to the To: line of your message, you can delete it without sending.

If your company has a global address book, you can handpick names to add to your contacts, which automatically adds them to your autocomplete list. Just click on Address Book, select the name, right click it, choose Add to Contacts and then Save & Close the contact to add it both to your Contacts and your autocomplete cache.

If you use Outlook Social Connectors in Outlook 2010, contacts from LinkedIn and other services are available the same way! Just click on Address Book and select the address book for the service you want to plunder in the dropdown list:

Address Book selector

Then right click the entry you want, choose Add to Contacts and then Save & Close to add it both to your Contacts and autocomplete.

Copying these auxiliary address book entries directly to your Contacts or entering them manually may cause a conflict or error, so be sure to add them using the Address Book dialog box. Or, if you know the exact spelling of their name, just type it into the To: line of a message and use Ctrl-K to force a lookup. Once they're been added one of these two ways, they should be available via autocomplete.


Comments (17)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the same post twice.  It didn't show up for quite some time and technet was acting wierd when I logged in, so I thought it was lost somewhere in digital limbo.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Using outlook 2007. I am fix autocomplete for email addresses but how do get NAME autocompleted instead of Email?

    And what do I have to do if I want to see only names instead every email in 'To' field and everywhere else.

    Please help!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The solution suggested of creating an email to all of your contacts is almost there.  The problem is that the email must actually be sent in order for the contacts to be added to the auto-complete list.  In order to make that happen without actually sending an email to all of your contacts, just change the password stored for your email account in Outlook to something that is incorrect so that the email won't go through.  You can then send the email and delete it from the outbox once it doesn't go through and all of your contacts will be added to the auto-complete list.

    As a precaution, I would send a test email to yourself first to make certain it doesn't go through and then BCC all of your contacts as another layer of protection.

    It's a little round-about, but well worth the 10 minutes to make it happen.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The procedure mentioned above is half of the way to a solution.  If you really want this to work, you actually have to send the email to all of your contacts.  Obviously, this is not desirable, so you can simply change your email password in "Account Settings -> E-mail" to a password that is incorrect.  Send yourself a test message to be certain that nothing goes through, and then send an email to all of your contacts.  Before correcting your password, make sure to delete this message that is stuck in your outbox.  It probably doesn't hurt to BCC all of your contacts just in case you screw something up.  NOW all of your contacts will show up in the auto-complete list.

  5. adam says:

    The tip to add contacts to your autocomplete for Outlook 2007 did not work.

  6. Bob Cunningham says:

    This does not neccessarily work they way you might think; my contacts are in there as their email addresses  (Instead of 'Jim Smith' it will appear if I start typing his email address, ''). Some people's  email addresses don't even have their name in them.

  7. Gary says:


    I think this will only work if you actually send the email, by just adding them to the to field does not store the autocomplete – tested.

    Sending an email to 800 + contacts is not a suggested answer to this.

  8. Dan W. says:

    Did not work for Outlook 2010.  Any other ideas?

  9. Jim Sneeringer says:

    This doesn't work for me.  After I follow these steps, I can auto-complete by e-mail, but not by first name, which is first in the display names in my contacts.

  10. Joenathan says:

    You don't have to send the email, just save it as a draft, that worked for me with Outlook 2013

  11. wow says:

    Outlook 2012, I coul not populate the Autocomplete using Global Address listing, but if Iclicked on Address Book and selected everyone in the GAB then chose File->Add to contacts. The Autocomplete worked!

  12. Kenshyura says:

    It's works on Outlook 2007, what you've to do it's the following:

    1) Go to contacts section (it's right at the left bottom of the screen) or press CTRL+3.

    2) Select all contacts or just select one and then press CTRL+A to select all contacs.


    4) Check in the "To" field if all the contacts appears.

    5) This step its the more important: Disconnect from Internet (turning off the modem or router) OR change your outlook e-mail password (just set a wrong password), you can even try disabling your network adapter. Then send the e-mail, it will appear on the "outbox" section, go there and delete the e-mail and delete it from the "deleted items" section too.

    6) Try creating a new e-mail and typing a contact name or e-mail address. And there you go!

    7) Turn on your modem/router or restore your correct e-mail account password or enable the network adapter.


  13. laura says:

    I send emails to the same two people all the time, but their names still don't come up on my auto complete. I can't have too many people on the auto-complete list, as when I email new people they then start coming up on auto-complete. No idea why these particular two don't seem to work – quite annoying as they're the two contacts I email the most, and I have to type out their entire email address every time I message them!

  14. It simply works with Outlook 2010. What you have to do is :

    1) Select all contacts and select EMAIL option on home menu bar. Now all the contacts will be in TO category, now select any random contacts and paste to CC category.

    2) Now turn OFF your Internet Connection, or simply disable it.

    3) Now send the Mail.(It will not be send practically, as Internet is OFF)

    4) the mail will be in Outbox only.

    5) Now, Close the Outlook.

    6) Now, open the outlook

    7) Drag the mail from OUTBOX to DELETED ITEMS.

    8) Turn ON he Internet Connection.

    ….now check trying new Email….All the Contacts will be shown in AUTO COMPLETE list….

    now it should work

  15. Bo says:

    Joenathan's advice (see above) worked for me – simply follow the advice in this article, and then select "save draft" when closing message. Using Outlok 2010.

  16. kamran says:

    Thank you!  More helpful than the Outlook "help" content.  Can never figure out the heads and tails from their content…

  17. KF says:

    this was of great help, I am a FAN amazing stuff took 10 seconds to get sorted. just add them all and cancel the email and job done.

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