Outlook creates an Autocomplete entry for every email address typed in the ‘To’ line of an email. As soon the first letter of an email address is typed in the ‘To’ line, Outlook’s Autocomplete list starts to show available entries. In the example below, and email message has been started with recipient names displayed after typing V in the To: line and the associated Autocomplete entries have appeared as below:
To select a recipient, just click on a name in the list to choose that person for the email.
Why clean up the list?
This list can become cluttered with entries that are not useful – either they are incorrect, no longer used by the recipient, or no longer used by you. The Autocomplete list can also become an impediment if it contains similar entries and care isn’t taken to ensure that the email is being addressed to the proper party.
You can clean up this list so it better meets your needs. You can take an individual entry removal approach or a complete ‘wipe-out and start over’ approach.
Selected editing of the Autocomplete List
Any time you see an unwanted email address on your Autocomplete list, you can delete that email address as follows:
Using your up/down cursor keys, cursor to the entry you wish to remove. When you land on that entry, just press the ‘Delete’ key on your keyboard to remove that entry from your Autocomplete list.
Note: You must use your cursor keys to choose the entry you wish to delete – if you choose an entry by ‘clicking’ on it, that will just force the email address into the ‘To’ box in your email.
How to wipe the entire list
If you’d like to start with a clean slate, you can permanently delete (or rename) the file that stores the Outlook Autocomplete entries
- Exit Outlook first (ensure it is completely shut down by using your Task Manager if necessary)
- Click Start, and then click Search. Choose For files or folders.
- In the All or part of the file name: box, type *.NK2 (that’s the asterisks symbol followed by a period then nk2)
- In the Look In box, choose your local hard drive.
- Click More advanced options, and then select Search hidden files and folders check box.
- Click Search.
- When the Outlook.nk2 file appears in the search list, right-click on it, and then click Rename. Rename the file extension from .NK2 to .BAK, and then press Enter. Quit the Search and restart Outlook.
The Autocomplete List will now be *completely* empty and Outlook will begin to generate a new Autocomplete list from each email address you type.
Note: If you change your mind, just reverse the above process by changing the file extension back to .NK2.