Display Public Folder and Other Contacts in the Address Book

Last reviewed on May 22, 2013   —  34 comments

Microsoft Outlook 2010 supports multiple Exchange server mailboxes. This allows you to open the other mailbox in your profile as another Microsoft Exchange account and once you do this, you will have full access to the contacts folder (along with all of the others folder in the mailbox.)

Delegates should not open their manager’s mailbox as a second mailbox in Outlook 2010. Continue opening it as a secondary mailbox in the profile.

For users who connect to Microsoft Exchange server, maintaining a contacts folder in the Public Folders hierarchy is one way to benefit from a group address book that individual users can contribute to. With some extra effort (see below), the Outlook Address Book can also display contacts from another user’s mailbox, making it easy for an assistant to use the boss’ contacts to address messages.

Display Other User’s Contacts in Address Book | Notes | More Information

Display Other User’s Contacts in Address Book

The process of adding another user’s Contacts folder to your own address book display is somewhat involved:

  1. Create a new Outlook profile that connects directly with the other user’s mailbox, not your own, then start Outlook with this profile. If you receive a prompt that Outlook cannot open the folders, you may need to ask the Exchange administrator to grant your Windows user account full access to the other user’s mailbox temporarily so that you can complete these steps.
  2. Right-click the other user’s Contacts folder, choose Properties, then switch to the Outlook Address Book tab. Make sure that the Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book box is checked. Under Name of the address book, change the displayname from Contacts (the default) to a name that will distinguish this address list, such as Joe’s Contacts if you’re in Joe’s mailbox.
  3. Close Outlook.
  4. In Control Panel | Mail, bring up the properties for the profile that you created in Step 1. In the Microsoft Exchange Server service, change the main mailbox from the other user’s to your own. On the Advanced tab of the Exchange Server service, add the other user’s mailbox as a secondary mailbox.
  5. Restart Outlook, using the same profile as in Steps 1 and 4.

After you restart Outlook, when you display the address book, you should see Joe’s Contacts listed in the Outlook Address Book along with your own Contacts folder.


Any contacts folder that you see in the Outlook Address Book can be used as the data source for a merge with Word. However, in some versions of Outlook, you will receive an error if you start a merge with a contacts folder in Public Folders from within Word. The workaround is to start the merge in Outlook instead, displaying the source contacts folder, then choosing Tools | Mail Merge.

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 Slipstick.com.

34 responses to “Display Public Folder and Other Contacts in the Address Book”

  1. ben

    This didn't work

  2. Diane Poremsky

    What version of outlook? I recently verified it still works in outlook 2010.

  3. Don

    does this method work with Exchange online? We are using Office365 and have not been able to use our shared contacts as an address book.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      It should but I'll need to double check. I know it works with Outlook 2010 and in-house Exchange and there is really no reason why hosted exchange would be different than local exchange.

  4. Don

    I forgot mention we are using Outlook 2007 to connect to Office365. Thanks for the quick reply Diane.

  5. GlennG

    Diane, we are also using Outlook 2007 to connect to Office365. I successfully created the profile connection and connected directly with the other user’s mailbox, but then I could not change it. I cannot change the mailbox in the profile to my name - can't make any changes at all.

  6. Scott

    I can tell you with 100% certainty that the process outlined above will work with Office 365, until you close Outlook and try to reopen it. I'm still searching for an answer.

  7. Alex

    Same result as Scott.
    Using Outlook 2010 with Office 365.
    Please keep me posted if you find a solution.

  8. Ian

    Thanks Diane and everyone else who pointed me in the right direction with this. I was able to get this to work with Outlook 2010/Outlook 2007 and Office 365.

    At first it failed because I wasn't following the directions exactly. I was using separate mail profiles for the user mailbox and the "Shared Contacts" mailbox. When I used only a single profile and switched the mailboxes back and forth within the profile it worked.

    Before messing with the user profile at all I connected to the "Shared Contacts" mailbox in Outlook. I right clicked the root of the mailbox and opened "Folder Permissions". In the permissions tab I checked the box for "Folder Visible" for both Default and Anonymous. I also right clicked the Contacts folder and chose "Properties", and then under the permissions tab I granted Editor permissions to Default and Anonymous.

    Then I was able to get this to work by creating a profile for the end user and connecting it to Office 365. I then modified that same profile to connect to the other mailbox with the shared contacts folder. I made the contact folder available as an address book and renamed that address book "Shared Contacts". Then I closed Outlook and modified that mail profile back to the actual user and added the "Shared Contacts" mailbox as a secondary mailbox. If you don't add the "Shared Contacts" account as a secondary account it will not be visible as an address book and you will need to start over.

    During the process I received a few warnings/errors stating that "Your mailbox has been temporarily moved...". I just clicked the button to "Use temporary mailbox". Once it is all set back to the actual user you can do a final close and re-open of Outlook to make sure that warning doesn't reappear every time you load Outlook. For some users the first time they try to open the contact folder in the folder view, or through the address book interface, they may receive an error. In my environment I was able to close and re-open Outlook and then it worked fine.

    I know these directions aren't perfectly step-by-step, but hopefully it will help someone out.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Thanks for sharing how you got it to work. I'll compare your steps and mine and update them so its more clear or add any steps I might have left out.

  9. Ian

    Just remembered, sometimes when trying to edit a mail profile the control panel wouldn't let me change the mailbox name. In those cases logging out and back in to Windows allowed me to change the mailbox for an existing mail profile.

  10. Don

    I got the same error as IAN above " Your mailbox has been moved..." and I cannot get the message to disappear. It comes up everytime I launch Outlook. Any idea how to resolve this?

  11. Don

    I have completed all the steps above to get the Contacts to show up as expected. Now i am prompted everytime I start Outlook with a Message " Your Mailbox has been moved and i must select "use Temprorary Mailbox or old data" to get into the Mailbox. I also noticed that when I change the account name back to the original user which it accepts with no problem, It's not changing the Display name nor the Email address of the account user for the profile. I have to go back and change that manually.
    Most Solutions I have found say to delete the profile and start over, but that defeats to purpose i think.

  12. Tom K.

    after following steps i see address books for secondary acct but do not see those for primary, i should be seeing both right?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      You show see both, yes. Are you using Outlook 2010? Several people said it doesn't work right in Outlook 2010. (I haven't had a chance to repro it yet.)

  13. Tom K.

    yes - using outlook 2010; company just switched from groupwise, havent used early versions of outlook/exchange; surprised its not an easier thing to do...

    1. Diane Poremsky

      You'd think it would be built in... but unfortunately, it's not. You can use shared contacts if you select the contact and click Email button, but not using the To button to open the address book.

  14. T Young

    This is the ideal solution for my client and works exactly as published. However, I believe there is a step missing because after the user logs off then logs back in and opens Outlook they get the following message:

    "Your mailbox has been temporarily moved on Microsoft Exchange Server. A temporary mailbox exists, but might not have all of your data. You can connect to the temporary mailbox or work offline with all of your old data. If you choose to work with your old data, you cannot send or receive e-mail messages."

    This is easily fixed by removing the new profile created in steps 1 and 4 and using the original profile.

    Has anyone seen this? I haven't experimented yet but curious if the old profile should be deleted or if there is another solution to prevent this?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback...

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What version of Outlook are you using? I've seen that with Outlook 2010, but not older versions. I don't know of any workaround for Outlook 2010.

  15. T Young

    Hi Diane,

    My client is using Outlook 2010, so doesn't sound like good news. Do you know if the 'old' profile is required to display the other user's contacts in the address book? I haven't had an opportunity to test this yet...

    Thank you for the quick response!

  16. T Young


    Correction, my client is using Outlook 2007.

  17. duncanog

    Superb advice & help - thanks.

  18. Jeff Carroll


    You made the comment "Delegates should not open their manager’s mailbox as a second mailbox in Outlook 2010. Continue opening it as a secondary mailbox in the profile."

    I am new to Outlook coming from GroupWise as well and just want to understand this better.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Outlook 2010 and 2013 can open two Exchange accounts by adding them in File, Account Settings, Add. You need to know the mailbox password to use this method. (AA's most likely know the password.) This method would open the mailbox as a second mailbox.

      Delegates should not use that method, even if they know the password. They should go to Account Settings, double click on their own account then click More Settings. The Advanced tab has a button to Add mailboxes. You can open any mailbox that is shared with you using this method (and you don't need to know the password).

  19. Frank P

    Hi there. I've been pulling my hair with this issue. An user wants their contacts from mailboxes she has full permissions to appear in the address list. I've followed this procedure but I can't get the 'Outlook Address Book' tab to appear in the other contacts folder properties.

    I don't know if true but I've seen comments regarding that this functionality is being deprecated in favour of public folders or even Sharepoint. Can you guys light me up on what I'm doing wrong in this?

    Much appreciated

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What version of Outlook are you using?

  20. KePaha141

    Has anyone tested that this method of adding other users' Contacts as an Outlook Address Book works in Outlook 2013? My Xchg Svr does not support the Outlook 2013 client.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Other users told me it did not work so I did a quick test and it worked, but I have not tested it extensively yet. I didn't test it over a period of days and long term use is where it fails.

  21. Tom Yeager

    Many thanks to Diane Poremsky and to all of Slipstick for this method that I have used for over a year. I’d like to suggest a similar but, for me, more successful method of showing another’s contacts in an Address Book.

    This procedure never results in the "Your mailbox has been temporarily moved..." message that frequently occurred with the published method. (On some computers, I was never able to get that to go away, before now.) Nor did it ever cause the Status Bar message “Online with Microsoft Exchange” rather than the preferred “You are connected to Microsoft Exchange” which I often saw regardless of the state of my Use Cached Exchange Mode setting.

    My method was tested extensively on several OL2010 installations. A key to its success is that OL 2010 allows multiple Exchange accounts under one profile. So this method will not work with OL 2007, but, likely, will work with OL 2013, which I have not tested. The OL accounts sharing out their contacts were OL 2007 and OL 2010. The Exchange server was Microsoft’s Office 365 which uses Exchange 2013 for my accounts there.

    Preliminary steps, unknown if necessary, include that the shared out contacts were not the primary contacts folder, but a separate folder. The contacts owner had her own private contacts folder and a separate much larger customer contacts folder that the entire office needed to see. A sharing invitation for the customer contacts folder had been earlier sent to the other users.

    My steps are
    1.) In Control Panel | Mail, create a profile pointing to your own Exchange mailbox. Then, as a 2nd account (not an additional address), add the mailbox of the person owning the contacts you need access to.
    2.) In OL, right-click the other user’s Contacts folder, choose Properties, then switch to the Outlook Address Book tab. Make sure that the Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book box is checked. Under Name of the address book, change the displayname from Contacts (the default) to a name that will distinguish this address list, such as Joe’s Contacts if you’re in Joe’s mailbox.
    3.) Close OL!
    4.) In Control Panel | Mail, open the Properties of the profile. Click Email Accounts, then Remove the 2nd account. On your own account, click Change, then More Settings, then Advanced. Add the 2nd account in as an additional address.
    5.) Restart OL using this profile. The other person’s contacts will now be included in the Address Book.

  22. Bob

    The fix for my situation with Office 2010 is turn off Cached Exchange Mode. No more temporary mailbox moved errors when opening Outlook 2010!!

  23. Kent I.

    Is there a way to automatically have all public folders be added as an email address book? Right now we have to manually do this for each public folder that we want included as an address book, and it has to be done anytime a user changes workstations.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      The settings should stick for a user - they are stored in the exchange mailbox. I'm not aware of a way to automate it. sorry.

  24. Amy B

    I'm trying to get this contact folder to show up when I click the To: button in an email message. I have been able to successfully get the shared contact folder to show up in my contacts tree, but cannot get it to appear in the Address Book drop-down list when composing a new email and click the To: button. Any one else having this issue? OL2010

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Shared contacts folder can't be easily enabled as an address book and the method on this page that used to enable them as address books no longer works consistently. Sorry.

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