Change Outlook's default Contacts folder

Every click counts, right? Control which Contacts folder Outlook opens by default and eliminate a few unnecessary clicks from your routine.

Outlook offers one Contact folder at startup, named appropriately enough, Contacts. When you click the Contacts shortcut (in the left pane), Outlook opens that default folder. Now, as you may know, you can have more than one Contacts folder. To create more folders, choose Folder from the New menu (while in the Contacts window). Or right-click an existing Contacts folder in the Navigation pane and choose New Folder. Once you have multiple folders, you'll probably find that you use one more often than the others. But Contacts remains the default, and that's the folder Outlook opens when you launch a Contacts window. If you're in and out of the Contacts window several times a day, the extra click of selecting another folder can quickly become annoying.

The solution is so simple: Make your favorite Contacts folder the default. Then, when you launch Contacts, Outlook will open the folder you really need, not the out-of-the-box Contacts folder. That statement is just a bit deceptive though, because you don't actually change a default setting. Rather, you usurp the default folder's position, as follows:

  1. With the Contacts window open, right-click the Contacts folder you want Outlook to open when you launch the Contacts window.
  2. From the resulting context menu, choose Move Up In List (as many times as necessary) to position it at the top of the list.

When you launch Contacts, Outlook opens the folder at the top of the list. By moving the folder you use the most to the top, you can eliminate a few annoying clicks. Admittedly, this isn't a huge timesaver, but it's one of those shortcuts users don't take advantage of, mostly because they don't realize they can!


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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