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Auto-complete only works for addresses that have been typed into the To: field, but there is a short-cut key that works just as well.

Windows XP, Professional, SP3. My PC required the reinstallation of Windows XP. As a consequence, I have spent time reinstalling all of my program files. I use Outlook as my email software. Is there any way I can activate all of the addresses which survived in my contact list to be available for run-on when I begin to type in the "To" box? My system only recognizes the few email addresses that I have sent emails to since my PC was fixed.

In this excerpt from Answercast #46, I show an easy way to find email addresses from your Outlook contact list if your auto-complete has been erased.

Outlook auto-complete

The short answer to your question is no. But don't give up yet because I've got something else for you.

What we typically call "auto-complete" is exactly that. It is a function that auto-completes addresses that you've typed before. But that's all that it is.

  • It's the addresses you've typed before.

  • It doesn't have any relationship to your contact list.

Shortcut key

On the other hand, if you type a partial email address for someone in your contact list and type Ctrl K, it will either complete the email address for you or if there are multiple matches, I believe it will give you a dialog to select which one you mean.

Doing that once should then automatically enter that address into the auto-complete that you're looking for.

So it's not a big batch where you can enter them all in at once and have them all work immediately. But as you send email to various people in your address book (or in your contacts list) over time, if you follow this procedure then presumably:

  • Not only is it easy enough that it may just stand on its own without auto-complete;

  • But it should actually, incrementally, add these email addresses to your auto-complete list for you.

Next from Answercast 46 – Is a continuous backup still a good idea?

Article C5723 - August 23, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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