If you’re on Exchange, you have access to at least two address books: the global address list (GAL) and your personal Contacts list. Outlook defaults to the GAL, which is efficient if most of your email goes to people in the organization. On the other hand, if most of your email goes to people outside the organization, you might find this setup tedious. Fortunately, there’s a simple setting that will force Outlook to default to the address book of your choice, not Outlook’s! To change Outlook’s default address book, do the following:

  1. On the Home ribbon, click Address Book in the Find group. In Outlook 2007, click the Address Book icon on the Standard toolbar. Or press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+b.
  2. If you want, click the Address Book dropdown – you’ll probably see at least a couple of books listed. Don’t change your setting at this point; just take a look.
  3. From the Tools menu, choose Options. The default setting is Start With Global Address List. If yours is different, someone has already changed it. If you’re on Exchange, the GAL is usually members of your organization. This list won’t contain the contacts you add yourself. Your contacts are personal to you and are in the Contacts list.
  4. If you want Outlook to default to your contacts, click the Start With Contact Folders option.

You can further customize Outlook by clicking Custom. When choosing this option, you can set a custom list as the default.