Reclaim Outlook’s AutoComplete list when upgrading

We are currently upgrading Outlook 2003 to Outlook 2010 and users have lost the To field’s AutoComplete feature. Outlook will display only those people they’ve previously emailed, even if the recipient is in their address book. Once they send an email, that name pops up in subsequent AutoComplete tasks. Can we export the AutoComplete list from Outlook 2003 to Outlook 2010? — Vera

Vera, yes, you can upgrade to Outlook 2010 without losing your AutoComplete list. Users are bound to be confused when AutoComplete seemingly stops working! Fortunately, the feature isn’t broken; it’s working as designed. When you start entering characters, AutoComplete displays a list of possible matches, based on names you have typed before. That’s the key, AutoComplete relies on previous entries, and your new installation doesn’t have any previous entries. There are two ways to reclaim your AutoComplete list.

The easiest method is to enter the first few characters as you normally would. Then, press [Alt]+k to force Outlook to find a match in the address book. If a unique match is found, Outlook will use it to fill in the To field. If a unique match isn’t found, Outlook will display all possible matches. It’s a simple matter to find and choose your recipient. You’ll only have to do this once for each name.

Just be careful when using this shortcut—you can’t assume that a single entry in the AutoComplete list means that’s all there is. For instance, entering sh might display in the AutoComplete list because you’ve already used that name. However, you might have several other names that fit the bill, such as Sharon Moss and, but until you use those names as a recipient, they won’t show up in the AutoComplete list. While it’s a nice shortcut, it’s one that requires your close attention until you’ve rebuilt your list.

If you don’t want to rely on the shortcut or you’re supporting users that might not have the patience for rebuilding the list, you can copy your 2003 list to 2010. Copy the username.nk2 file from the 2003 system to the 2010 system. You can use Windows Search to find the file. Or look in the Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder. The username component must be the same when you update the 2010 system. If they’re not, rename the 2003 file appropriately.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s