Disable Outlook's address-autocomplete feature

Keep the e-mail program from suggesting addresses as you type to avoid sending mail to the wrong people; plus, a freebie takes the sting out of exporting Outlook autocomplete entries.

I didn't realize how much I had come to rely on Microsoft Outlook's ability to automatically complete the e-mail addresses I entered in the To:, Cc:, and Bcc: fields until a recent Microsoft Exchange server update at my office wiped out the entries. Of course, one person's convenience is another person's security risk.

Eli Lilly and Co. found this out the hard way last year after a lawyer in the company's employ sent a confidential memo intended for a colleague to a report for the New York Times whose name was similar to the coworker's.

To disable Outlook's address-autocomplete feature, click Tools > Options > E-mail Options (under the Preferences tab) > Advanced E-mail Options. Uncheck "Suggest names while completing To, Cc, and Bcc fields" and click OK three times.

Microsoft Outlook 2007 Advanced E-mail Options dialog box
Block Outlook from autocompleting addresses by unchecking this setting in Advanced E-mail Options. Microsoft

If you're a fan of Outlook's autocomplete feature, you may want to export your autocomplete entries to another PC. Microsoft provides instructions for doing so, though Vista users will need to refer to one of the article's comments to find the location of the .nk2 file they need to export.

But there's a better way: Nirsoft's free NK2View lets you view the entries in this file and export them as a text file, HTML, or XML. You'll find more information about the utility on the NirSoft site.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.


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