Office solution: You can't change Outlook's default Contact folder-at least, not the way you might think

This week learn the partial solution to last week's challenge: How can I change Outlook's default contact folder?

Last week, I asked a trick question--kind of. The truth is, to the best of my knowledge, you can't actually change the default Contacts folder. There's a compromise of sorts, but nothing that fully fills this need.

You can move the folder you use the most up in the Navigation Pane hierarchy, but it's mostly for looks. To do so, right-click the folder that you want to be the default folder and choose Move Up In List. Repeat as many times as necessary to position that folder at the top of the list. Some readers report that this does not work for them and unfortunately, I have no explanation to offer. Outlook should remember the order, from session to session. Unfortunately, regardless of list order, Outlook still selects the Contacts folder. That's what I meant when I said this technique was for looks only. I've found no way to force Outlook to select a folder by default other than the out-of-the-box Contacts folder.

The position in the list, without the inherent default behavior doesn't serve much purpose. Most uses change the list order thinking the position will change the default address book--that you can do! Txclimber offered the basic steps for changing this default. Thanks Txclimber. For more details on changing the default address book, read Get Outlook to default to the address book you choose.


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.


Maybe I am not understanding the question, In both 2007 and 2010 you can change which default contact folder opens. In 2010, open the address book and then click on TOOLS, OPTIONS. There is a custom option, select that and then move the contact folder that you want to open to the top. At the bottom of that screen select that same folder in the box marked: "When opening the address book, show this address list first". Then click on ok. When you open the address book next time, that contact folder will be displayed first.


I have mine set up perfectly for my objectives. I keep "Outlook.pst" as my primary folder and set it as default inbox for all my email accounts. I process the inbox from this folder and file anything I want to keep in my second folder called "Archive.pst" which is in effect my filing cabinet. I have a 3rd folder I call "ArchiveN.pst" (It could be "Graveyard.pst") which are older than 6 months and which I also designate for Archiving.

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