Make the Address Book show only e-mail addresses, not fax numbers

Last reviewed on April 16, 2012

Microsoft Outlook considers fax numbers to be valid e-mail addresses. If you want to be able to send both e-mails and faxes from Outlook, there’s no solution to this issue.

If you are keeping the fax numbers just as a matter of record, though, and don’t use them in Microsoft Outlook, then you can choose one of the non-fax phone number fields to store the fax number information. Unfortunately, you can’t change the names of the built-in fields; you would need to remember which field contains fax numbers.

Another approach is to put text in front of the fax number, such as "W: " for a work fax or just "Fax:"; this causes the number to disappear from the Outlook Address Book, but keeps it easy to see the number in the contact record or Contacts folder. The tools listed below add a prefix automatically and remove it when you need to dial the number.

Macro to prefix Fax numbers

You can run the following macro to refix fax numbers with Fax: so they won’t show in the address book.

Replace BusinessFaxNumber with HomeFaxNumber or OtherFaxNumber if you need to hide other fax numbers.

Removing the Fax prefix from numbers requires more complicated VBA code to strip only the prefix and is more prone to error. Because of this we recommend using an addin that can toggle the prefix off and on.

Public Sub HideFaxNumbers()
    Dim objOL As Outlook.Application
    Dim objNS As Outlook.NameSpace
    Dim objContact As Outlook.ContactItem
    Dim objItems As Outlook.Items
    Dim objContactsFolder As Outlook.MAPIFolder
    Dim obj As Object
    Dim olfax As String

    On Error Resume Next

    Set objOL = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
    Set objNS = objOL.GetNamespace("MAPI")
    Set objContactsFolder = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderContacts)
    Set objItems = objContactsFolder.Items

    For Each obj In objItems
        'Test for contact and not distribution list
        If obj.Class = olContact Then
            Set objContact = obj

     With objContact

          If .BusinessFaxNumber <> "" Then
               olfax = .BusinessFaxNumber
           .BusinessFaxNumber = "Fax: " & olfax 
        End If
          .Save

     End With
        End If

     Err.Clear
    Next

    Set objOL = Nothing
    Set objNS = Nothing
    Set obj = Nothing
    Set objContact = Nothing
    Set objItems = Nothing
    Set objContactsFolder = Nothing
End Sub

Tools

Hide Business Fax Numbers From Address Book

This software will change all fax numbers for a contact to have a pre-pended character before the number so the address book won't recognize it as a valid address. Then when you click "To:" and get the Address Book dialog box, you'll only see email addresses listed.

Hide Fax Numbers

Changes all fax numbers for a contact to have "Fax:" (or other text) before the number. This prevents Outlook from recognizing it as a valid address, so you won't see it in the Outlook Address Book. You can strip the prefix text at any time, for one contact or all of them at once, on demand or as numbers are added. Works on multiple Outlook folders for nested contact folders. Enter code WD9BHK53 during checkout.


More Information

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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