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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!

About

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.

13 comments
SWATsystems
SWATsystems

Doesn't Work. "Every click counts", and this useless article just had me click about 50 times for no good reason.

eeekkk
eeekkk

I have checked my regional settings and they are set to US. However the contact phone number in both Business Contact manager and Contacts for Outlook 2010 default to China. I have not been able to change the default to US.

jonhp
jonhp

office 2010 64 bit, windows 7 pro. this idea is a dud. it doesn't work. not very helpful.

Heimon
Heimon

This doesn't work with Outlook 2007 SP2 anymore. It stubbornly continues to open its default contact folder first, regardless of its position in the list. Any idea how to fix it? Any registry key to alter? Thank you, Heimon from Germany

Wedgewood
Wedgewood

Hi. This did not work for me. The address book I want to use is now first in my list, and Contacts is second. But if I close Outlook and then reopen it, then click Contacts in the left panel, my Contacts folder is highlighted, and its addresses are displayed (not the folder at the top of the list). What am I doing wrong?

rsdance
rsdance

Useful tip about moving the contacts folder but what I really want is a way to change the default contact folder when when I create a new email and click on To: Your trick does not solve this problem. Is there a way to do this?

dfausak
dfausak

This is for Outlook 2007, but should work in 2010 version. In Outlook, click Tools > Address Book. In the Address Book window, click Tools > Options. Select which address book you want to show first. You can make other changes to your address books here as well. This should now be the default when you click the To: button in a new message.

JRWilliams308
JRWilliams308

Running Office 2010 on Win7 (x64) After closing and reopening Outlook, No matter contacts forward is listed first, when clicking the contacts button in the navigation pane, the original default contacts folder is displayed. I think the orginal poster neglected to close outlook to test this. If you do not close Outlook, and are simply clicking the contact button on the navigation bar, you'll return to the folder you were last in.

smeyers
smeyers

This did not work for me, no matter where on the list the "Contacts" folder is it is the one that opens when Outlook loads. I tried it with my Calendars and it worked fine?

dfausak
dfausak

What you want to do is change Outlook's default address book. Open the address book. To do this, in Outlook, click Address Book on the Tools menu. On the Tools menu click Options. In the Show this address list first, click the address book you want to use first. If the contacts folder you want to use is not listed, you must first designate it as an Outlook address book. Navigate to the Outlook Folders List. Right Click the Contact list you want to add as an address book. In the Outlook Address Book tab, check the box "Show this folder as an email Address Book" Hope this helps.

dmalcolm
dmalcolm

I have Outlook 2003 and I cannot see how to do this?

ssharkins
ssharkins

I was just going to add this -- but you beat me to it!

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