Enabling the Contacts Folder as an Address Book

Last reviewed on January 6, 2014

Applies to: Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2003 and older.

The Microsoft Outlook Address Book is a container that includes the main Contacts folder and any others you add. It’s used most often when you click the To button on an open message.

Outlook automatically makes the default Contacts folder available through the Address Book dialog, but you can also add other folders containing contacts to your address book.

Use the same procedure to remove Contact folders from your Outlook Address book, unchecking the option to use as an Outlook Address book.

Adding Other Contacts Folders | Automatic name checking | Notes | More Information


Adding Other Contacts Folders

To add any folder containing Contact items to the Outlook Address Book:

    1. Right-click the folder, choose Properties from the pop-up menu, and switch to the Outlook Address Book tab.

Enabled contacts as an address book

    1. Check the box for Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book.

Enable Contact folder as an Address book

  1. You can enter a new Name of the address book to make it easier to distinguish from other Contacts folders. The name change affects only the address book display, not the actual name of the folder.
  2. Click OK.


Automatic name checking

You can configure Outlook to look for matching contacts when you tab out of the To, CC, or BCC field. This is commonly known as Resolve contacts. Rather than clicking the To button and choosing names, you can type people’s names (or part of names) and Outlook will match them to existing contacts. If it finds more than one possible match, the name is underlined. Right-click on the name and choose the correct person.

If this is disabled, Outlook won’t look for a matching address until you click the Send button or press Alt+K.

In Microsoft Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, to enable auto-resolve go to File, Options, Mail, Send messages section and select Automatic Name Checking.

Automatic Name Checking
In Outlook 2007, Outlook 2003, or Outlook 2002, look for the Automatic Name Checking option in Tools, Options, Email Options, Advanced Email Options.

To show the Contacts folder from another user’s mailbox in the Outlook Address Book, see Display Other User’s Contacts in Address Book

Outlook 97 and Outlook 98/2000 (CW)

If you are using Outlook 97 or Outlook 98/2000 in Corporate/Workgroup mode and want Outlook to use the folder to resolve names, click Tools | Services | Addressing and add the folder to the list of address lists for name resolution.

In Outlook 97 and in Outlook 98 and 2000 in Corporate/Workgroup mode, you can take some additional steps to make sure that an Outlook contacts folder appears in the address book and to control the order in which contacts folders are checked.

  1. Choose Tools | Services and verify that Outlook Address Book is installed in your profile. If not, add it.
  2. Switch to your Contacts folder, then choose File | Folder | Properties. Verify that Show this folder in address book is checked.
  3. Go to Tools | Services | Addressing, and verify that the folder appears in the addressing search path at the bottom of the dialog. You can change the order in which folders are checked here.

If in Step 1, you don’t see Outlook Address Book as an available service, check to make sure that Contab32.dll is installed on your system. If not, then copy it from the Office/Outlook CD. If you still don’t see it, even after adding the .dll, use Start | Find to locate your Mapisvc.inf file, make a backup copy, and add the following to it:

In the [Services] section at the top of the file add this to the list:

CONTAB=Outlook Address Book

At the bottom of the file add these sections:


Try to add the Outlook Address Book service again after you save the file. Then continue with Steps 2 and 3 above.


The OAB behaves slightly differently in the two Outlook modes. In Internet Mail Only mode, it shows all contacts. In Corporate/Workgroup mode, it shows only those contacts with either resolved e-mail addresses or fax numbers.

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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