Home > Mac administration, Office 2011 > Fixing “Recent Address” autofill problems in Outlook 2011

Fixing “Recent Address” autofill problems in Outlook 2011

Outlook 2011, like Entourage before it, keeps track of email addresses that you’ve recently sent messages to. Outlook can run into some problems with this, where the autofill will display addresses with your name but someone else’s address. This had been fixable in Entourage by using the method below:

http://www.askdavetaylor.com/how_do_i_disable_microsoft_entourages_autofill_address_feature.html

Outlook 2011 either removed or moved the relevant button from the Compose preferences, but it looks like there’s two ways (one non-destructive, one possibly destructive) to clear recent addresses and contacts in Outlook.

Non-destructive (recommended):

When composing a message, a number of addresses are popping up. To clear the ones you don’t want from the Recent Addresses database, click the little gray “X” at the end of the line.

For any that don’t have an “X” in the name, here’s how to check the “Me” contact that may be storing those addresses and remove any that aren’t needed:

1. Click on Contacts in the lower-left corner of the Outlook window.

2. In Contacts, click the Organize tab

3. Click the button called Me.

The Me contact stores information about the Outlook’s default main user. If it has different information than your name, email, etc, these fields can be updated with your information.

Possibly destructive (not recommended):

There is another way to clear the whole Recent Address cache file, but it could cause data loss so I don’t recommend doing it. It will definitely trigger a database rebuild, which will take some time to run.

1. Quit Outlook

2. Locate this folder in your home folder:

~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/Main Identity/Data Records/Recent Addresses

3. Follow the sub-folders down until you come to a single file (should be named something similar to “x19_36260.olk14Recent”.) Move the file to the Trash.

4. Launch Outlook.

When you open Outlook, it will tell you that there’s a problem with the database and will tell you that a rebuild is needed. Select to rebuild the database.

Why I don’t recommend this: I tested both methods, and the rebuild of the database did not work. It finished successfully, but then Outlook would open, display an error then shut back down again. However, it does clear out everything in one shot so I’m including it. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me.

  1. March 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Genius!! The ‘recommended’ fix worked perfectly. Thank you so much, this was really annoying me!!

  2. Don Smith
    March 22, 2011 at 1:21 am

    I agree, the recommended solution worked perfectly for me as well. I got so tired of names changing because the email address matched on “Me” even though the correct name was in my contact list with the same email address.

    All is good and now all of the people I work with now don’t have my name when I reply to messages.

  3. Patrick Fergus
    March 30, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    A non-destructive but unintuitive way of removing single Recent Addresses is to add the Recent Address to your Entourage Address Book (I think if it’s Control-Click the Recent Address -> Add User to Address Book) which instantly removes them from Recent Addresses. Then delete them from your Entourage Address Book.

    – Patrick

    • Sylvie Rousseau
      August 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      FINALLY someone with the right answer.

  4. Keith Berner
    April 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    There seems to be a step missing. I found the Me contact, but you don’t say what to do to it to remove the recent addresses. Please advise.

    • April 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm

      Click on each item in the Me contact that has information that you want to edit and/or remove. If you want to remove the entry, delete the information. Otherwise, edit it or leave it alone.

  5. Andrew
    April 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    The way to get rid of autofill addresses without the “X” is to go to contacts and clicck the box for suggested Contacts go in there find the suggested contact and delete.

    • Eric
      August 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      I can not find suggested contact, is it the same as search contact?

    • Dave
      February 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      There isn’t a suggested contacts selection.

  6. July 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Thank you, the solution of viewing/editing the ‘ME’ contact properties was exactly what I needed and fixed the problem. This issue has been bugging me for a few weeks now.

  7. Sue
    August 31, 2011 at 11:57 am

    This Non-destructive fix worked great for me! It took care of my annoying problem nicely.

    Thank you very much!!

  8. Lee
    October 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Yes BUT this doesn’t deal with how to remove a Recent Address entry for someone else — it repeatedly use an old address for people who have change their address even after I remove these from my Address book.

    • October 7, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      Lee,

      If there’s no “X”, there’s no entry in the “Me” button, and there’s no entry for the old address in your Contacts, I’m not sure where the old address may be coming from. I’d suggest re-checking your Contacts to make sure that this person doesn’t have a duplicate entry in your Contacts that may have the old address.

  9. Claw
    November 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Perfect, fixed a really annoying problem.

  10. David
    November 6, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Your non-destructive suggestion is a li’l confusing — hope this helps:

    The offending or old emails are in “Address Book” On My Computer (find through Outlook Directory, not through Mac – you won’t see it) It’s a shadow local directory up on exchange. I can’t find it anywhere except through Outlook Directory. Very Frustrating.

    Edit or delete cards that trouble you with old emails.

    Hope that helps someone. Cheers!

    • David
      November 6, 2011 at 12:44 am

      David :
      Your non-destructive suggestion is a li’l confusing — hope this helps:
      The offending or old emails are in “Address Book” On My Computer (find through Outlook Directory, not through Mac – you won’t see it) It’s a shadow local directory up on exchange. I can’t find it anywhere except through Outlook Directory. Very Frustrating.
      Edit or delete cards that trouble you with old emails.
      Hope that helps someone. Cheers!

      ** UPDATE:

      Found it! – You will not see Address Book if you have “Hide On My Computer folders” checked in your General tab of Preferences.

      Uncheck it, see address book in Contacts and edit/delete away :)

    • Alejandro
      June 29, 2012 at 6:54 am

      Great!! This was the definitive hint I needed!! I’ve been annoyed by this for a long time and you made my day!! Thousand thanks to you!!

  11. Ed
    November 11, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Thanks very much. This (the recommended solution) solved my problem–having my secretary listed as one of my personal e-mail addresses. Thanks again!

  12. November 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks very much. This (the recommended solution) solved my problem

  13. mike
    November 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    This works great if you have single contacts…but what if old “group” contacts are still showing up…specifically when I click “check names?” I have recently deleted these “groups” that exist only “on my computer” but they still show when I click “check names” which is extremely annoying.

    Thanks in advance!

  14. Marce
    January 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    AWESOME! Thanks!

  15. MD
    February 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

    don’t know how long it took you to come up with the fix, but your saved me so much time

  16. February 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH.. this has been bugging/plaguing me for 18 months!!! and now it is fixed!!!! Thank very much.

    This was all it was
    1. Click on Contacts in the lower-left corner of the Outlook window.
    2. In Contacts, click the Organize tab
    3. Click the button called Me.

  17. Vanessa
    March 11, 2012 at 2:19 am

    With regards to the following:

    “For any that don’t have an “X” in the name, here’s how to check the “Me” contact that may be storing those addresses and remove any that aren’t needed:

    1. Click on Contacts in the lower-left corner of the Outlook window.”

    I cannot see Contacts in the lower left corner like you say. I tried to go into (mail) Preferences –> General and find “Hide On My Computer folders” but I don’t see that option either. Am I missing something. Can anyone offer any suggestions?

  18. Jonathan
    March 26, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    THANK YOU!!! I searched high and wide for an answer to this and your fix is dead on!

    To Vanessa: Look at this picture for an example of what the author is describing:

  19. piedmontphil
    April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Great – fixed my problem – thank you!

  20. David
    May 3, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks. That has been annoying me for a while. Your instructions sorted it out.

  21. sarma
    July 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    wonderful, i have been struggling for “Me” and the recommended fix solved my problem

  22. Ammar
    August 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Thank u, this helped me a lot. Bless ur heart.

  23. Ken P
    September 13, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Hi I have a weird issue – when I start typing an address with the letters RS the default email that appears is my ME address – which does not have RS anywhere in the string!!!

    I have deleted the RS address – and the issue goes away, but I want the RS address so create a new contact and the issue reappears.

  24. RickyB
    January 15, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    FYI, when I renamed the recents file to filenameXXXXRecent to filenameXXXXRecent.old then relaunched Outlook 2011, it rebuilt the database for the identity, but it successfully launched Outlook and all the recents were gone.

  25. Kevin Moss
    July 3, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I Have Outlook 2011 on a Macbook pro, and recently the autofill/complete doesn’t work. ( So frustrating) In addition the autocomplete on online forms, eg first name second name etc, does not auto complete. They both drop down for a mili second then disappear. Is this a virus, or a bug? I use Lion OS. Please help. Its driving me insane. Thank you

  26. Patrick Fergus
    August 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Clearing all recent addresses is also possible via AppleScript without the threat to the Office Database:

    http://www.officeformachelp.com/2012/03/undocumented-tip-use-the-keyboard-to-delete-unwanted-recent-addresses/

    —–
    tell application “Microsoft Outlook”
    clear recent recipients
    end tell
    —–

  27. kc
    August 2, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Wow. Thanks. Quite simple!

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