Dealing With Outlook’s Autocomplete Feature

Have you made this mistake?  You go to compose a new email, place the cursor on the To line and start to type a few characters.  At this point a helpful dropdown appears with the name of your intended recipient along with the email address.

BUT, a problem arises when you accidently select the wrong recipient (which occurs frequently if you only pay attention to the display name and not the email address), and then the email goes out to the wrong recipient.

When we last discussed this topic (Mitigating Risks of Using the Autofill Feature in Outlook ), the option to remove people from this list was very limited.  So, we created the Autocomplete Manager add-in to help people deal with this list by removing everyone not in your company from the list whenever Outlook is started (among other options).

And this is great, but it doesn’t fit every situation.  Some customers want to shut off the Outlook Autocomplete list altogether (which you can do by following these instructions from Microsoft).  This forces you to select your recipients by choosing your existing contacts or manually type in any email addresses.

But did you know that if you have to type in any email addresses that you only have to type a few characters, then use Ctrl-K to have Outlook automatically fill in the contact?  This is helpful if you’ve decided to shut off the Autocomplete feature altogether because Outlook will still try to resolve the email address for you.  This way, it’s unlikely that you’ll make a mistake since Outlook will pull from your existing contacts.

When being careful about sending email outside the company, it may be better to keep the Autocomplete feature turned on (for the efficiency), but also use the Outlook Safeguard Send add-in to analyze all the email addresses of outgoing emails to get the best of both worlds.