Preventing Disasters caused by Outlook’s Auto-Complete feature

By: standss , Aug 9th, 2011

We have previously reported on the potential problems of accidentally sending emails to the wrong person because of Outlook’s AutoComplete feature.  Here’s more information on this important topic and how to protect yourself.

Whenever you type an email address in the To/CC/BCC field of an email, Outlook helps out by showing you a list of email addresses that match what you have typed. This can be very helpful in quickly entering a recipient’s email address.

But it also makes it easy to send emails to the wrong person.

What is the source of the Auto-Complete List

Outlook itself builds the Auto-Complete list using email addresses of people that you send emails to. This includes both people who are in your contact list as well as those who are not in your contact list. This means that…

People can be in the Auto-Complete list even if they are NOT in your Contact list!
Deleting someone from your Contact List does NOT delete them from the Auto-Complete list!

How to turn AutoComplete Off (or On)

I find Auto-Complete very handy but you may want to turn it off to avoid possible auto-complete disasters of your own.

If you are using Outlook 2000-2007:

  • On the menu click Tools and then click Options.
  • Under the Preference tab, Click the E-Mail Options button.
  • Click the Advanced E-mail Options button.
  • Untick the “Suggest names while completing the To, Cc and Bcc fields” box.
  • Click OK … until you are back in Outlook.

If you are using Outlook 2010:

  • On the menu click File and then click Options.
  • Click the Mail tab.
  • Scroll down to Send Messages
  • Untick the “Use Auto-Complete list…” box.
  • Click OK.

If you still want to use Outlook’s AutoComplete feature then, the following links may be useful.
Deleting Email Addresses from Outlook’s Auto Complete List

2 Replies to “Preventing Disasters caused by Outlook’s Auto-Complete feature”

  1. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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