Remove Old Addresses From Outlook Drop Down List

In Outlook, as you start typing a name in the To box, a drop down list may appear, showing names of people to whom you’ve previously sent an email.

OutlookDropdown

Sometimes those names are out of date, and the list includes old email addresses.

In my Outlook drop down lists there are multiple entries for some people – a current address and one or more older addresses. When sending email to those people, I waste time trying to remember which address is the correct one. I’d like to get rid of the old items in the list, so the correct addresses are the only ones left.

Remove the Old Addresses — Outlook for Windows

If you’re using Outlook for Windows (not Outlook.com), follow these steps to remove one of the suggested email addresses from the list.

  1. Create a new email message
  2. Start typing a name in the To box
  3. When the drop down list appears, click the down arrow (or up arrow) key on your keyboard, to move to the name that you want to delete.
  4. On the keyboard, click the Delete key.

Now when you start typing the name, the deleted names don’t appear.

OutlookDropNew

Manage the Suggested Addresses — Outlook.com

If you’re using Outlook.com, the above suggestion will not work — you can’t remove individual address in Outlook.com.

However, you can follow these steps to manage the suggested email address list, so only names from your contact list appear, instead of everyone you’ve ever communicated with in Outlook.com.

  1. In Outlook.com, click the Settings icon (a gear wheel), at the top right of the screen.
  2. In the drop down list, click Options
  3. In the Customizing Outlook.com section, click Advanced privacy settings.
  4. In the Auto-complete suggestions section, select “Only suggest people in my contact list” .
  5. Click Save, then click the Outlook.com link, at the top left of the screen, to return to the main page.

Now when you start typing the name, only the names from your contact list appear.

_________________

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36 Responses

  1. This works for the autocomplete lists Internet Explorer stores as well.

  2. Toad says:

    An excellent tip. I’ve sent things to the wrong address by clicking on an outdated address. I’ve also sent things to the wrong address by not paying attention to the auto-complete function. When Bob Denver died, I sent an e-mail to my wife about how I couldn’t believe Gilligan was dead. The problem is that the e-mail went to a client, whom I didn’t know that well, with the same first name as my wife’s. Luckily, the client just responded by saying “I can’t believe it either!”

    I now have an Outlook rule that delays the sending of e-mail by two minutes. It’s kind of a pain if you send something out just before you leave work, and you want to shut your machine down. But, I leave my machine running most of the time anyway to do maintenance chores.

    • Phil Reinemann says:

      Toad, my Outlook 2007 also uses a rule to delay sending (by 5 minutes) but I also have an override to send NOW. I don’t click SendNow it sits in the Outbox and the only way I’ve found is to create (reply) to the original email and copy from the one in the Outbox, click SendNow and send it, then delete the original Outbox email.
      SendNow is a macro that sets a category, and the rule checks if the category is set then it causes the delay to skipped. The macro is activated by a button I have in the QAT of the message being composed. It is applied to the Outlook client (and not Outlook webmail).

      I found the code by consulting Slipstick systems. Here is the macro:
      ‘20130828 Basic code from Diane Poremsky, Slipstick Systems:
      ‘http://www.slipstick.com/developer/how-to-use-outlooks-vba-editor/#comment-178945
      Public Sub SetSendNowCategory()
      Dim toBeSentMessage
      Set toBeSentMessage = ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
      toBeSentMessage.Categories = “SendNow”
      End Sub

      You also have to create a category (mine is SendNow, and it’s green, if that matters. Red might be good to get rid of a hot potato.)

      The rule has no chosen condition, with “action” to delay sending by 5 minutes except if assigned to a category, which is SendNow.

  3. Thanks, Jan Karel, that’s a good tip too.

    Toad, Gilligan is dead? Geez, why doesn’t anyone email me with important news? I’ve emailed a couple of things to the wrong person, thanks to that drop down list and its enthusiastic autofill. I’ve received a couple of erroneously sent emails from clients though, so it all balances out.

  4. Doug Glancy says:

    Those autocomplete entries are stored in an NK2 file – on my computer the path is C:Documents and SettingsdougApplication DataMicrosoftOutlook. If you back this up before a system reload you can restore all the autocompletes. There are also NK2 freeware editors out there.

  5. Dermot says:

    Great tip. Of course, it presumes you know which is the correct address and which is the old defunct one!

  6. mike says:

    This works great…Thank you!!!!!

  7. Enid says:

    I have never been so frustrated in my life, but this was a great tip….I really appreciate the help

  8. Sarah says:

    Wow! I was ready to tear my hair out. This information made my day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  9. Tom says:

    I was going nuts. Thanks for the tip! It’s so obvious once you know.

  10. Adrian says:

    I deleted one by accident. I used the full address a couple of times but it is no reappearing on the dropdown list. How do I undelete an address?

  11. shreya says:

    It was an awesome tip…..thanks a lot for providing this information :) :) :)

  12. Anne says:

    Thanks so much!!! typed it in wrong once, and there it stayed, so carried on using without me realising it was wrong, no wonder she wasn’t getting my emails. Thank you thank you.

  13. Barbara says:

    YOU make my job easier. I thank you! Wonderful tip; keep them coming!

  14. Swanee says:

    thanks, I’ve been trying all different sorts of actions without results. this worked!

  15. Leslie says:

    Ahhhhh, what a relief–thought I’d go crazy. thanks so much for this invaluable tip. ;-)

  16. Laura Altes says:

    Someone teach Yahoo webmail how to do this please!!

  17. Pat Renner says:

    My sister was having this problem and I do not use the autcomplete on eMails so did a google search and found this thread. It worked so THANK YOU.

  18. shirley ruedy says:

    This did NOT work for me. When I begin to type the name, the dropdown box appears, but the wrong address is first in line and already highlighted in blue, as is my Outlook custom. I hit the Delete key — and nothing is deleted.

    I am SO morose, as all the other comments say Thank you thank you thank you, this tip is so easy and it works! Why doesn’t it work for me? (I’ve tried both the down and up arrows, with the same results. — Shirley

  19. monica graae says:

    I could not delete an old e-mail address from the drop down list when I followed these instructions.

  20. monica graae says:

    I had the same result as Shirley Ruedy above had experienced.

  21. Vivian Evans says:

    I, also, could not use the above instructions to delete an old e-mail address from the drop-down menu. So, it took me approximately five minutes to figure it out and I found the solutions. It works for me! I pray that it will work for you, too.

    Here are the instructions:

    1. Put the cursor at the beginning of the “TO” field. You need not have to put in the address.

    2. Depress “UP” or “DOWN” arrow on your keyboard to get to an old e-mail address.

    3. Move your mouse over the old e-mail address until you see the “X” at the end of it.

    4. Click on the “X” and VIOLA! It’s deleted.

    Move over, you young people! I am going on seventy-eight years old and I did it! Take care!

  22. Israel Sava says:

    Thank you so much. Short, clear and helpful

  23. PJ Griffin says:

    I’m struggling as well.
    When you don’t type anything (as per Vivian’s method) the drop-down gives “frequent contacts” only, and a nice little X to delete each.
    When you start typing you get all the possibilities as it tries to autocomplete, this is where the incorrect entries appear but without any delete option.
    Help, please.
    Pete

  24. steve jeffery says:

    I’m using outlook on a window 8 laptop and your suggestion just does not work.

  25. Lance says:

    I suspect the problem for people like me is that the instructions only work for stand-alone Outlook. They don’t apparently work for outlook.com, the successor to hotmail – or at least I haven’t found a way to make them work. The close box doesn’t exist in my dropdown menus and hitting delete also fails to remove the offending address.

  26. Sharon says:

    I assume that no one has found the solution to this issue in Outlook.com!

  27. Brett says:

    That’s amazing!! Thanks for the tip. I know this is an incredibly simple fix but it is NOT intuitive. Thanks for sharing, now I won’t accidentally send rude and provocative emails to the wrong people anymore!

  28. Scott says:

    Lance
    August 8, 2013 at 7:49 am · Reply
    I suspect the problem for people like me is that the instructions only work for stand-alone Outlook. They don’t apparently work for outlook.com, the successor to hotmail – or at least I haven’t found a way to make them work. The close box doesn’t exist in my dropdown menus and hitting delete also fails to remove the offending address.

    I’m having them same problem Nothing is working. I on windows 7 and google chrome. Please help….thank you

  29. Richard says:

    I also couldn’t get names to delete. I followed all the instructions above, no joy. What did work was the following.
    1. Top left hand side, right beside the word Outlook, there is a little down arrow. Click on it.
    2. In the drop down menu, select People.
    3. On the left hand side are all your contacts, check the little box on the left of the name.
    4. On the menu bar at the top of the page, click Delete.
    5. Confirm the delete.
    6. Celebrate!

  30. rkt says:

    Instructions DO NOT WORK for Outlook.
    Really annoying to have to look at all the old addresses…and be careful when you SEND!

  31. Stan says:

    I have tried the various suggestions listed and none of them will DELETE the unwanted old addresses……Can you help ?

    Stan.

  32. Chris says:

    Same here Stan and you fellow frustrated folks. Can’t delete the old and unwanted email addresses from the drop down menu. Call me a paranoid conspiracy nut but I think Microsoft makes it so difficult to delete these addresses because the information is retained as some form of “association file”. I mean, c’mon, these smart programmers and developers surely knew that somebody would want to delete their useless addresses at some point. It’s like an architect forgetting to include a toilet!
    Anyway, I’m on the list of those who want instructions to delete.

  33. Philip says:

    I tried the suggested method with Microsoft Outlook and it worked:

    I typed the first two letters of the customer’s name (which is highlighted in blue), showing his new email address. The name with the old address is immediately below.
    I put the cursor on the un-highlighted name, held it there and pressed delete . . . and PRESTO, the unwanted name has gone.

  34. MARGIE says:

    If you’re using Outlook.com, the above suggestion will not work — you can’t remove individual address in Outlook.com.

    However, you can follow these steps to manage the suggested email address list, so only names from your contact list appear, instead of everyone you’ve ever communicated with in Outlook.com.

    In Outlook.com, click the Settings icon (a gear wheel), at the top right of the screen.
    In the drop down list, click Options
    In the Customizing Outlook.com section, click Advanced privacy settings.
    In the Auto-complete suggestions section, select “Only suggest people in my contact list” .
    Click Save, then click the Outlook.com link, at the top left of the screen, to return to the main page.
    Now when you start typing the name, only the names from your contact list appear.

    _________________

    this was the ONLY thing that worked for me !!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

  35. Joseph Kiron says:

    People, I have had stand-alone Outlook 2010 for a few years and it’s recently become even worse than what has been said so far. Deleting an address from the drop-down list does not help, it goes and immediately returns. But worse than that, it won’t accept the new address either from the address book or from actual emails in and out! My daughter got married and it won’t stop using her old surname, and a client closed his business and it refuses to learn his new private address at all! HHHEEELLLPPP!!!

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