Setting the default Country for Outlook Contacts

Last reviewed on December 20, 2013

Many users are confused as to why Outlook uses the wrong country in the address or phone number fields of Contacts.

What setting does Outlook use for the default country when creating a new contact?

It depends. Are you looking at the Check Phone Number or the Check Address dialog? These can be set to each use a different Country or Region.

Outlook uses the Windows display language or the Format setting in the Region (or Region and Language) applet in Windows Control Panel to determine the default country for physical addresses. Phone numbers use the current Location in Phone and Modem options.

To change the country that is listed in the Country/Region field for phone numbers and addresses, you need to change the country in the Region and/or Phone and Modem applets.

Change the default Country/Region for addresses

Outlook gets the default country for contact addresses from the Region applet in Windows 8. In Windows 7 this is called Region and Language Options, and in Windows XP, it’s Regional and Language.

Check Address dialog

Open the Control Panel, find Region. If you use the Category view, it's under Clock, Language, and Region, or use the Search field.

Select the desired country from the dropdown on the Format tab. In most cases, the change will take effect immediately, however, you will need to close and re-open contacts that are open.

Change the format on the Region dialog

Choose the correct Country or Region for your location in the Format dialog. Don’t choose the Country based on the date and number formats you prefer, those can be changed by clicking Additional Settings. See How to change the Calendar date format in Microsoft Outlook for instructions.

Change the Country/Region for phone numbers

The contact's phone number field uses the Phone and Modem Location. In most cases, you will use the same country in Region options and as the Location in Phone and Modem Options, but if you want to use a different default Country for phone numbers, you’ll make the change in the Phone and Modem options dialog.

Check Phone Number

To change the phone location, open the Control Panel and find Phone and Modem. If you use the Category view, use Search to find it. Double-click to open Phone and Modem applet.
Dialing location dialog

If you are changing the current location, double-click on it or select and click Edit. Select the desired Country or Region from list on the General tab. If you need multiple locations (most people need just one location), Outlook uses the location that is currently selected as the default when adding phone numbers.

Edit location dialog box

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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