Five tips for using Outlook 2016's AutoComplete list efficiently
Image: michaeljung, Getty Images/iStockphotoOutlook remembers every address you type into its To Cc and Bcc fields. It's convenient, because when you start typing an address, the feature known as AutoComplete displays suggestions that match your keys

Outlook remembers every address you type into its To Cc and Bcc fields. It's convenient, because when you start typing an address, the feature known as AutoComplete displays suggestions that match your keystrokes. You can choose an item from the AutoComplete list, and skip typing the entire address. In this article, I'll show you how to manage it efficiently or to disable it if you don't like it.

I'm using Outlook 2016 (desktop) on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but this feature has been around for a long time. Outlook 365's web version maintains a separate list so editing one doesn't impact the other. There's no need for a downloadable demonstration file.

1: Remove entries individually

Most of us occasionally make mistakes when typing an address, but Outlook has no way of knowing it isn't valid and adds that address to AutoComplete. The result is often two addresses for the same person in the AutoComplete list: the wrong one and the right one. If the wrong one sorts first, you might select it by mistake.

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Fortunately, you're not stuck. You can remove addresses that you no longer need or that are incorrect as follows:

Open a new message window.Start typing the address you want to delete.When it appears in the AutoComplete list, use the down arrow key to highlight it (Figure A) and Press Delete or click the X to the right.Figure APress Delete or click the X to delete an entry from Outlook's AutoComplete list.

It's great for an occasional quick edit. You can use this same method to remove entries from Outlook 365's web version, but remember, it's a different list from the one your desktop version uses. As far as I know, you can't delete AutoComplete entries using a mobile device.

2: Know your limits

The AutoComplete list is limited to 1,000 entries for all versions except Outlook 2007; the limit went up briefly to 2,000 with Outlook 2007. once you reach this limit, Outlook removes the entries you use the least to make room for new entries.

To avoid losing control of your list, I recommend that you remove AutoComplete entries that you don't use before you reach the limit--nip Outlook's algorithm in the bud. Outlook does offer a way to increase the limit, by way of a registry setting, but it's unreliable, so I don't recommend it.

If AutoComplete stops saving new entries altogether, the file might be corrupted. First, try removing entries that you no longer use. If that fails, clear the list, and start over (See No. 4). It's not a great solution, but it should get the list up and running again so you can rebuild it.

SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research)


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