Search People finds contacts that don't exist

Last reviewed on February 8, 2013

I'm not a big fan of the People Hub view in Outlook 2013's contacts. It's too cluttered, it's confusing. While you can edit contacts in the contact cards, it supports only the main contact fields. If you want to edit the contact photo and add (or open) attachments, you need to open the full contact.

Accusations that Outlook is too complicated are right on target when it comes to contacts. Many new users are confused by Contacts and Address Books. Outlook 2013 gives us more confusion with contacts and contact cards, and search results that include the auto-complete list.

Search People results Yes, you heard right. Search People (formerly Find a Contact) results include addresses from the auto-complete list.

Most people probably wouldn't notice, but it's clear from my Search People results because of the entries for messages associated with a moderated mailing list I own.

While it should be easy to identify auto-completes because they don't have friendly display names, they clutter the search results and can't be deleted from the results window. You need to remove it from the auto-complete list.

To remove non-existent contacts from Search People, you can delete one address at a time by starting a new message and typing the first letters of the address, then selecting the address and deleting it, either with the Delete key or by clicking the x beside the address. Close the message form when finished. You can clear all names from the list in File, Options, Mail. Look for the Send Messages section halfway down and click the Empty Auto-complete List button.

Tip: dock the People peek and search in it instead of using the Search people command. While it also includes entries on the auto-complete list, the window can be re-sized to display more entries and the search results will stick around until you clear the search.

Search in the people peekTo dock the peek, hover over it and click the dock button in the upper right corner. You can also right-click on the word People and choose Dock the Peek

Search in docked peekThe docked peek keeps the search results in view until you clear the search or un-dock the peek (click the X in the upper right corner of the people window to close it.)

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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