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Outlook 2013 Address Books

Outlook 2013 still uses several different Address Books that are really part of Microsoft Exchange Server. The Address Books have several separate, independent lists of names and e-mail addresses — it’s pretty confusing. Microsoft simplified the issue of dealing with Address Books in Outlook 2002 and later versions, but that doesn’t help if you use Outlook on a large corporate network.

The Outlook Contacts list (what you see when you click on the Contacts button in the Navigation bar) contains all kinds of personal information, whereas an Address Book (what you see when you click the To button in a new message) focuses on just e-mail addresses.

An Address Book can also deal with the nitty-gritty details of actually sending your message to people on your corporate e-mail system, especially if that system is Microsoft Exchange Server.

Here’s the lowdown on your plethora of Address Books:

  • The Global Address list: If you’re using Outlook on a corporate network, the Global Address list, which your system administrator maintains, normally has the names and e-mail addresses of everyone in your company. The Global Address list allows you to address an e-mail message to anybody in your company, without having to look up the e-mail address.

  • The Contacts Address Book: The Contacts Address Book is the e-mail addresses from the Contacts list. Outlook automatically populates the Contacts Address Book so you can easily add people to a message you’re sending when you click the To button.

  • Additional Address Books: If you create folders for Outlook contacts, those folders also become separate Address Books. Your system administrator can create additional Address Books as well, and if you connect Outlook to services like LinkedIn, your LinkedIn contacts may appear as a separate Address Book, too.

If you’re lucky, you’ll never see the Address Book. All the addresses of all the people you ever send e-mail to are listed in the Global Address list that somebody else maintains, such as on a corporate network. Under those circumstances, Outlook is a dream.

You don’t need to know what an Address Book is most of the time — you just type the name of the person you’re e-mailing in the To box of a message. Outlook checks the name for spelling and takes care of sending your message. You’d swear that a tiny psychic who knows just what you need lives inside your computer.

Unless your Uncle Bob works for your company or is a regular client, however, it is doubtful that his e-mail address will be found in the Global Address list.

Under less-than-ideal conditions, when you try to send a message, Outlook either complains that it doesn’t know how to send the message or can’t figure out whom you’re talking about. Then you have to mess with the address.

That situation happens only when the address isn’t in one of the Address Books or isn’t in a form that Outlook understands. For these cases, you must either enter the full address manually or add your recipient’s name and address to your Contacts list.

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