Outlook 2013's Linked Contacts

Last reviewed on December 28, 2012   —  17 comments

Outlook 2013 has a neat feature where all contacts for a person are linked together and the aggregate data from all of the linked contacts is displayed on a contact card, with the source of the data listed on the contact card. You can click a link to open any one of the contacts associated with the person.

Contact card links

Outlook does a pretty good job at matching the contacts but occasionally gets it wrong. When contacts are incorrectly linked, or not linked, you can correct the links from the contact card.

Unlink contacts Under list of associated contacts (View Source) is a link for Link Contacts. Click this link to open the Linked Contacts dialog shown here.

To unlink contacts, hover a name then click the X beside the name to unlink it from the contact.

To link contacts, type a name into the Search field to search for Contacts to link to the contact. Select the names you want to link to the contact.

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.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

17 responses to “Outlook 2013's Linked Contacts”

  1. Eric Legault

    Not to be confused with Contact Linking or Lync Contacts LOL!

  2. baron bruno

    Why don't they have implemented this new functionnality in remplacement of contact linking on all type of items ??? New functionnality but usage limited if not implemented on all types of items !!!

  3. Elena

    Custom Task with "Contacts" link field was created in Outlook 2003.
    I migrated the custom form into Outlook 2013. I updated the registry as described in this article to be able to continue using the "Contact" field. However the registry update did not change the behaivior of the custom form: when a contact is added to the "Contacts" field Outlook crashes and restarts.
    This does not happen if I add the "Contact" field to a new custom form. It only happens with the form imported from the Outlook 2003.
    Can anything be done besides recreating the custom form from scratch?

  4. Kendall Ymker

    I do not want to use this feature. How do I turn this automatic linking off? Outlook is linking some of my contacts together. I have manually removed the link. Outlook then, at random intervals, decides to re-link the contacts. I have even changed the names so they are more dissimilar but Outlook still links them.

  5. Kendall Ymker

    Thanks but that doesn't help me. Probably a rhetorical question but why does Microsoft think that it needs to "help" me in this way? The fact that the software is doing things that I don't want or even ask it to do is very aggravating.

  6. Todd Parkhill

    Is there any way to recover data once something has been unlinked? I noticed that Outlook, oh-so-helpfully, linked/merged a company's record (no person's name) with a person at that company. I unlinked the two and now the entire company record is gone and I'm left with just the person's record! I needed that co. info and now it seems Outlook has "helpfully" removed it.


    Foolish me; I thought Office365/Exchange was going to help me and my business.

    1. Todd Parkhill

      Correction: the company info is there, but the notes are gone. Aaaargh!

  7. Todd Parkhill

    Is there a way to safely unlink contacts? When I have unlinked contacts all my notes for the contact disappear and I cannot find them anywhere.

    I posted a similar question two days ago, but I don't see it. Why is that?

    1. Todd Parkhill

      And now that I've posted my follow-up question, I see my previous question... Must be a cache issue.

      Please disregard and thank you for your reply. I'll take a look in "Deleted Items."

  8. Marc Bressman

    You have to love when Microsoft just decides to randomly implement new "features" that actually make it harder to work and then don't offer any way to revert to the way things were (or disable these features altogether).

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