Automatically Add Addresses to Outlook Contacts

Last reviewed on June 8, 2012   —  16 comments

Many people who switch from Microsoft Outlook Express to Outlook want the option to automatically add addresses they reply to, to the contacts folder.

We don't generally recommend doing this because it can fill your Contacts folder with a lot of useless addresses you'll never use again. Remember that you are responsible for making sure that the addresses you add automatically are kept up to date. I personally think that adding addresses automatically is a bad idea, unless you're very restrictive with the rules that trigger the addition. You can always add any address by right-clicking on it and choosing Add to Contacts.

You can use VBA to create Contacts from messages in the selected folder or automatically add recipients from outgoing messages to Contacts.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 adds addresses you reply to, to the autocomplete list and if a contact does not already exist, it creates a contact in the Suggested Contacts folder used specifically for contacts it automatically creates. Because the folder is separate from your default contacts folder, it avoids many of the problems associated with saving all addresses you send mail to.

In Microsoft Outlook 2003 and 2007, addresses you reply to are added to your autocomplete cache. This list is not permanent and addresses you want to keep should be added to your Contacts folder, either manually with a right click on the address or using one of the automated tools below.

You have a choice of both standalone tools and custom actions that work with Inbox Assistant or Rules Wizard. (Custom actions do not work in Outlook 2002.)

Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 have this as an option, but just in Internet Mail Only mode. For other versions of Outlook, you must use one of the add-ins below.

Outlook 2003 and up offers a feature in Junk email options (Tools, Options, Junk email options button) that adds people you reply to to your Safe senders list. This does not add them to your contacts but will allow all future messages from the address to bypass the junk mail filter.

Outlook 2002 and up | Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 IMO | Tools | Notes | More Information


Although Exchange server’s Outlook Web Access (OWA) is not Outlook (it’s a cleverly designed web application that resembles Outlook), we’re including it here because we do get asked how to automatically add addresses to the Contacts folder when using it.

The answer is “You can’t”. As of Exchange 2010, OWA does not have this capability. To add the feature, an administrator would need to install a server-side application and as of this time, we are not aware of any software available that is capable of doing this.

At this time, users will need to add the contact to OWA using methods supported by their version.

Suggested Contacts created by Outlook 2010 are available in OWA.

Outlook 2010

Microsoft Outlook 2010 has new feature called Suggested Contacts that creates contacts for people you reply to or send new messages to, if a contact does not already exist. To avoid cluttering up your main contacts folder, Outlook 2010 creates a new contacts folder called Suggested Contacts.

This feature can be disabled in File, Options, Contacts.

Outlook 2002, 2003, 2007

Outlook does not include any built-in function to add addresses automatically. You can use code like that posted at To automatically add recipients from outgoing messages to Contacts in Microsoft Outlook 2002.

Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000 IMO

If you are using Outlook 98 or Outlook 2000 in Internet Mail Only mode, you can set Outlook to automatically add new addresses to Contacts when you reply to those people. See:

Tools in the Spotlight

Add Contacts

Add Contacts automatically adds e-mail addresses to the contact folder when you reply a message and/or send a new message. You can assign categories to the newly created contacts and you can choose any folder as the contact destination, either in your personal mailbox or in public folders on Microsoft Exchange server. When adding a contact, Add Contacts checks the folder for possible duplicates.


Add Email Address

Add Email Address is an Outlook add-in that puts people you reply to in Contacts. It can also scan your Inbox and create contacts out of all those email addresses. It now supports Outlook 2010, both 32-bit and 64-bit.

Bells & Whistles for Outlook

Bells & Whistles is an Outlook add-in that includes more than 40 different features designed to help you manage and compose emails better and quicker. Bells & Whistles is the result of several years of Outlook add-in programming combined with the daily use of Outlook and lots of feedback received from our customers. The result is an Outlook add-in that smoothly improves your email routine without changing the way you deal with emails.


ReplyButler is a productivity tool that automatically pre-writes the greeting phrases (with the correct name. The text module storage saves time for anyone who answers customer e-mails. It can automatically answer e-mails for you. ReplyButler also helps you organize your e-mails by automatically moving your answered e-mails into the right folders. And if you forget an attachment, ReplyButler will remind you. Works with Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and Outlook 2010 (32-Bit). Version 4.00 supports the plentyMarket webshop system.


Remember that you are responsible for making sure that the addresses you add automatically are kept up to date.

I personally think that adding addresses automatically is a bad idea, unless you’re very restrictive with the rules that trigger the addition. You can always add any address by right-clicking on it and choosing Add to Contacts.

About Diane Poremsky

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.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlook forums by

16 responses to “Automatically Add Addresses to Outlook Contacts”

  1. Rob Koch

    My address book is becoming more and more clogged with all the addresses of people I reply to. How can I stop die automatic adding into the addressbook.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      In Outlook 2010's Suggested Contacts? You can either disable the feature or deselect the Suggested Contacts folder to be used as an Address book. To disable the feature go to File, Options, Contacts - last option is to Automatically create contacts. To remove the Suggested Contacts folder as an Address book, right click on it and choose Properties, then Outlook Address book tab. Remove the check to use it as an address book.

      If the contacts are being added to your main Contacts folder, it's not Outlook doing it. Check for addins or VBA macros.

  2. Jonas


    Nice info..
    I have a question. Is there a way to create a html signature with an embedded link the recipient can click on which will add the contact details into a new outlook contact - automatic?


    1. Diane Poremsky

      You could link to a contact card stored on a webserver - clicking the link will open the vcard and they'll need to save it to add it to their contacts. It's probably not quite as automatic as you want, but security won't let you save things to their mailbox automatically.

  3. Jonas

    I think I can make something with vCard?

  4. Paul V. Sheridan

    Diane: Above you say:

    "Many people who switch from Microsoft Outlook Express to Outlook want the option to automatically add addresses they reply to, to the contacts folder."

    No, not true . . . I want to selectively add the email address of a received email to my contacts list (i.e. I do not want the process automated, which was an easy setting in OE!).

    So, how do I SELECTIVELY add the email address of a received emails in Outlook 2010?

    Thanks so much Diane, Paul

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Right click on the address in the reading pane or in the address fields when composing a message and choose Add to Outlook Contacts.

      Are you using Suggested Contacts? You may want to disable that feature, as it saves all addresses you reply to.

  5. Keir

    Hi, will yhis work on a Mac?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      No, sorry, it won't.

  6. Simon Lucas

    I have 110 local contacts in my address book in Outlook 2010 that I would like to add as a block to my account so I can send messages to all of them via live. How can I copy them over?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      You can either install the Outlook Connector and move or copy them to the Contacts folder in the connector account or save as CSV and import the CSV into the Live account online. If you don't plan on using the Live account in Outlook, importing from a CSV might be the easiest.

  7. Simon Lucas

    Thanks, Diane. That's sorted it.

  8. ken Trent

    Not very helpful. I just wanted to add a contact to my Outlook Address Book but not send them an email at present.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Those methods create the contacts, they won't send an email to them. Do you want to create contacts for a bunch of people at once or just for one person every now and again? Right click on the sender's name and choose Add Contact to create a contact for that person.

  9. Debbie Stone

    I have a public folder I access for work through Exchange OWA. I can't see the public calendar on my iPhone or iPad though, when I am out in the field. Is there a way to configure Exchange or something else in order to accomplish this?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      The only way to get it on the phone is to copy the events to a calendar folder in your mailbox - if you access OWA via a browser on the device, you should be able to access it. (Guess I should double check that with the new OWA and new public folders.)

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