Use Outlook's Contacts, not Contact Cards

Last reviewed on August 23, 2014   —  5 comments

I had a couple of questions this week from users who hate the contact cards in Outlook, especially when they are trying to save a new contact. They want to use the familiar Outlook contact form, not the contact card, when they use the Add to Outlook Contacts command.

While you can't turn the contact cards off completely, you can force Outlook to use the contact form when you turn on the Legacy GAL dialog. In addition to using the contact form when adding new contacts from an email address, you'll get the older Properties dialog when you view address properties instead of the contact card, such as when you need to see if Send using Rich Text Formatting is enabled for an address. If you've ever double clicked on an address in contacts and were frustrated when the new contacts card came up, you'll want to use the legacy gal dialog.

right click options

Normally, when you right click and choose Add to Outlook Contacts, the new Contact Card opens (shown in the screenshot below) with the name and address field filled in. When the Legacy GAL key is set, that same command opens an Outlook Contact form.

The new contact card

In Outlook 2013, the default behavior when you double click on an address in a message or contact is a contact card opens. When the Legacy GAL key is enabled, the address properties dialog (or the contact for the person) opens.

Email properties

Another useful registry edit turns off hover card - this is the mini-contact card that pops up when a mouse hovers over an address (shown in the first screenshot). With hover functionality turned off the mini-card only comes up when you click or right click on an email address in Contacts or in the message header. It won't come up when the mouse slides over the address.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\common\contactcard
DWORD: TurnOnLegacyGALDialog
Value: 1 (enable)

DWORD: TurnOffHoverFunctionality
Value: 1 (turn off)

Administrators can set these values in Group Policy. These policies are under Office 2013, not Outlook, under Contact Card.

Although Outlook 2010 doesn't use the Contact cards in the same way Outlook 2013 does, you can turn off the hover cards and use the legacy gal dialog in it.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\common\contactcard
DWORD: TurnOnLegacyGALDialog
Value: 1 (enable)

DWORD: TurnOffHoverFunctionality
Value: 1 (turn off)

Do it for me

I have ready-to-use registry files to turn off the hover card and turn on the legacy GAL dialog at Using Outlook's New Contact Cards

To use, right click and save the .reg file then double click to run it. You'll need to Ok several dialogs to add it to your registry. You'll need to restart Outlook.

Turn Off Hovercard & Use LegacyGAL: Outlook 2013 Outlook 2010

This short video shows the address property dialogs that are affected when the TurnOnLegacyGALDialog value is enabled.

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.

5 responses to “Use Outlook's Contacts, not Contact Cards”

  1. N. Linsley

    I use Outlook as part of Office Pro 2013, on a home computer ... no Exchange ... and I do not have HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\common\contactcard

    I get as far as HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\common but there is nothing for "contactcard."

    My registry also does not contain the phrase "TurnOnLegacyGALDialog" ... I've searched the entire registry.

  2. Stan Brown

    Diane, your Outlook 2010 version .REG file references Office 15.0 instead of 14.0.

  3. Loretta Yeo

    Holy crow - I've had Office 2013 for two years and I didn't even know about the downgrade to Contact Cards. I just tried to save an email address and sure enough the little watered-down card showed up.
    Why oh why does Microsoft keep "fixing" things that aren't broken? It would be better if MS just let the dumb/lazy people get their hand-holding from Apple and Android, and stop degrading OUR software to accommodate them. Better to have loyal power users, than a bunch of kids with ADD.
    At some point I may need this fix, but it's just as easy to copy the email link, then switch to the "People" screen and click on an open space to get a new contact. I guess that's why I've been doing...
    BTW - That's another blasted back-engineering of a feature - more than 3/4 of my Contacts are businesses, not "People." It's unprofessional to have to click on "People" to get the contact info for a client or vendor. I gave back an HTC Arrive Windows7 phone after two weeks because I couldn't sync it by USB to my PC, and translating it through "the cloud" screwed up my files. Not to mention, there isn't even a File As field, so all those contacts with an empty Name field got lost. That was March of 2011, and AFAIK they still haven't restored direct sync in Windows Phone 8.1. I'm using my Motorola Q9c running Windows Mobile 6.1 as a PDA and a cheap flip phone on a Consumer Cellular subscription for $18 instead of $70. I don't need the Internet on a phone.

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