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FAQs: Address Book

  1. AutoComplete, autofill, most recently used
    1. Remove addresses
    2. Autofil uses name not in address book
  2. Share your Address Book
    1. Export as a text file, only certain selected entries
    2. Export contacts w/categories
  3. Merge two contacts
  4. Contacts in group
    1. Add name to group
  5. Maximum number
  6. Alphabetical order, Last Name, First Name
  7. Synchronize contacts across multiple desktops
    1. Contacts do nor sort correctly after sync from exchange server
    2. Sync w/ Apple's Address Book
  8. Slow to open
  9. Copy Company & Dept
  10. Import Yahoo Calendar & Address Book
  11. Delete Duplicate Contacts
    1. Contacts are duplicated when syncing to iPOD
  12. Birthday Reminders
  13. Add contacts automatically from emails rather than entering manually

Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.2.3 Update adds Sync-Services with Apple's Address Book.

Microsoft Office 2008 adds "Last Name" "First Name" columns.

1a How do I remove addresses from the Most Recently Used (AutoComplete) list?

Outlook for Mac: There is no "clear all" button. Currently you have to clear individual items by clicking on the X next to the name when you are addressing a message.

Entourage X - 2008 : To clear ALL there is a preference in Mail & News: Compose: Clear List button. There is also an option in the preferences to disable this feature all together.

Entourage 2001: There is no Clear List button.

To clear a single address, add it exactly like the one that is remembered to your address book and mark it as Junk (or assign category Junk). You can just delete the address, but if you receive it again it will just be added back. Marking as junk will permanently remove it from the AutoComplete list. You will need to leave the contact in the Address Book with the junk category.

For full info see The Most Recently Used (MRU) AutoComplete list

1b) Autofil uses name not in address book. When entering recipients in a new email, it comes up with an 'Andrew' not 'Andy' Surname. So I go into Address Book where I discover it already *is* Andy Surname. A search reveals that there is no Andrew Surname despite its appearance in the email recipient's box. What on earth is going on?

It means he sent you a message recently as Andrew Surname. The list of possible recipients includes the Most Recently Used list of 200 correspondents, weighted for recentness and frequency, who are _not_ in your Address Book, as well as your Address Book contacts. You need to combine the two contacts into one. For full info see The Most Recently Used (MRU) AutoComplete list

2) How can I share my address book?

BASICS: Entourage allows you to export as text file (tab delimited) and starting in Entourge 2004 you can export as Entourage archive (.rge). This file can only be read by another Entourage user. Video How to: Import Entourage archive (.rge)

Outlook exports as .olm file and as a text file (tab delimited). The .olm file can only be used by Outlook Mac.

Share with anyone including PCs. File --> Export as tab delimited file creates a file that can be opened by Excel or any text editor. Most database and spreadsheet programs are able to read or save data in a delimited format. Tab-delimited files are saved with a .txt extension. On the Windows-based computer, import the .txt file into your e-mail, spreadsheet, or database application. How to export as CSV

Note: When you export contacts in a tab-delimited file, Entourage includes contacts from the address book on your computer as well as address books for any Microsoft Exchange accounts that you have set up in Entourage.

When you export a contact, all the information in Entourage related to that contact — such as mailing addresses, birthday, and notes — is included, except for encryption certificates, which are not exported. Some mail applications might be unable to display the contents of certain fields such as "Spouse" and "Interests."

2a) Export as a text file, only certain selected entries from the Entourage Address Book.

There is no easy way to do this in Entourage.

  1. Export Selected Contacts This script will export to an excel spreadsheet 'first name', 'last name' and 'default email address' (by Barry Wainwright)
  2. If you want to share a part of your Address Book, you can export using Entourage archive (.rge) the category(s) you want to share. Create a new Identity in Entourage and import the .rge file. Now you can export as tab delimited file just those contacts. If you want to include categories, get Export-Import Entourage X (for Entourage X)at MacScripter.net.
  3. Starting with Entourage 2004, you can sync with Apple's Address Book then do your export. Apple's Address Book will allow you to drag a group to the desktop. If you create a group there called "Friends" for example and drag contacts into that group, and then drag the group to the desktop, it creates a text file containing the VCF data for all the contacts. You can then open this file in TextEdit or another text editing program to do as you wish, although it will be identified as an Address Book file by default.
  4. Third party solutions:
    1. You could get Paul Berkowitz's Export-Import Entourage scripts (shareware) at MacScripter.net. It will do the Export by selection, category, etc. etc. Does not work in Snow Leopard.
    2. AddressBookToCSV AddressBookToCSV is a one trick pony whose purpose in (artificial) life is to export contacts from the Mac OS X Address Book. That form is called CSV, a comma separated value format.

2b) How can I export contacts preserving categories?

Using File -> Export Contacts won't preserve categories.

Starting in Entourage 2004, you can export as Entourage Archive (.rge) files. This will preserve categories. See Video on using Entourage Archive (.rge) files.

Use an AppleScript.

For Entourage 2001, direct download Export Selected Contacts For Entourage X and 2004, use Export-Import Entourage (shareware)

3) How do I merge two separate contacts?

If you sync with Apple Address Book, you can use AB's find duplicate contacts and select to merge.

"Merge Contacts" by Eric Hildum and Allen Watson

"Merge Two Contacts" by Paul Berkowitz.

4) Contact's email address does not update contact in group. Is it supposed to update email addresses in a group?

If, when you create the group, you drag (see note) addresses into the Group window or let addresses you enter auto-complete, they will be linked to the address book entries and will update when you update the address book entry. If, on the other hand, the group is created by script or by manually typing the full address of the recipient, then the entry in the group won't be tied to any matching Address Book entries and, therefore, won't update along with changes to the address book.

You can tell whether a group entry is tied to the Address Book by the icon next to the group entry. If the address entry in the group has the little blue-dressed man, then the entry is tied to the Address Book. If it has a yellow "@" sign (or blue dot), then it is not.

Note: Dragging is not the only method. If you click Remove (not delete) those "blue dot" contacts, click Add, and then re-type a few letters of their name (first or last), they will appear in an auto-complete list. Press Return and the contact will appear with its contact blob icon. From now on, any change to the contact email address (the one recorded for the group member) will transfer to the group member.

However, note that you may choose a non-default email address if the contact has more than one, if you wish. If you then change the default, and/or make a change in the contact to a different email than the one listed for the group, no change occurs in the group. This is a good thing: it lets you keep someone's non-default email address in the group. But any change made to the contact's email address _listed in the group_ will be reflected in the group too. (So in contacts with only one email address, any change transfers to the group member.)

4a) I've tried to add names to a group with limited success. The name is added, and I've clicked "save" only to have the new entry rejected, as in not included in the group list. How complete does the original entry have to be to be accepted into the group listing?

It has to have an email address. Groups are just for emailing.

If the contact is in your address book, you can drag the contact into the group window or click on the Add button and locate the address.

You might want to look at are Categories and Custom Views. Give everyone who belongs together the same category, then make a custom view for contacts of that category. That gives you a sort of mini-Address Book of just those contacts, complete with all the columns. The members will appear there automatically without your having to do any dragging. If you already have dozens of them in the group you've been trying to make, you can apply the category (after you've made it in Edit/Categories/Edit Categories) to everyone in the group at once using Paul Berkowitz's script Apply Group Category.

5) Is there a maximum number of contacts that are able to be stored in Entourage?

There is no limit. It only depends on what version of Entourage you are using and how big your database is. Entourage 2001 has a limit of 2 GB on both the Database and Messages file. Entourage X has a 4 GB limit. Starting with Entourage 2004, Entourage has no limit.

6) Is there an easy way to change the address book to show all names in alphabetical order by last name first?

New to Entourage 2008: Last Name, First Name columns. See screenshots

Name Column: The Address Book displays the names as FirstName LastName, but they are sorted in alphabetical order by LAST name, not first name. Click on the Name column and you'll see for yourself.

Groups are another matter - they indeed are sorted by first name. Get Paul Berkowitz's script Group Sort X.

It will sort all your groups alphabetically by last name. Whenever you add any new group members , run the script again on just that group - it's instantaneous when done that way.

If you're using Entourage 2001-2004, you can use Paul Berkowitz's script "Sort by Field" to get a list of all your contacts in "Telephone Book" format. You can work around the limitation in the Address Book by leaving First Name fields of all contacts blank, and putting the first name into the Nickname field instead. Add a Nickname column to the Address Book in View menu / Columns or by control-clicking on any column header and adding "Nickname", then drag it to be just to the right of the Name column. You will now see the Last Name followed by the First Name. Sort as usual by Name column to make it alphabetical by Last Name.

Here is a script to convert all your contact First Names to Nicknames :

tell application "Microsoft Entourage"
    set theContacts to every contact
    repeat with theContact in my theContacts
       tell theContact
          set firstName to first name as Unicode text
          if firstName ≠ "" then
             set nickname to firstName
             set first name to ""
          end if
       end tell
    end repeat
 end tell

Will it simply copy the first name into the nick name field or will it delete the first name afterwards? I really don't want the latter to happen as it would screw up my Apple Addressbook sync!

As written the script will indeed delete the 'first name' entry, which would be disastrous if you were to run the script twice!

However, just comment out (or delete) the line that says: set first name to ""

And all will be well. The first name will be copied to the nickname field and not deleted.

7) Can you synchronize your Entourage contacts across multiple desktops?

You can do this with a shared project in Entourage 2004. Previous versions don't have this ability, though.

Plaxo tolbar for Mac - Plaxo works great for transfering contacts and complete calendar details from Outlook 2003 on a PC to the address book on my Mac. This will also work on Outlook 2007. Unfortunately they don't do email, just contacts and calendar. It's great service to back-up your data and it's FREE. This one seems to be of great use for Parallels users.

7a) Contacts do nor sort correctly after sync from Exchange server

It could be database corruption, but first try this:

Click the "Name" column to make sure that is what Entourage is sorting by. Remember that even though Entourage 2004 and older displays the contacts in a First Last format, the sorting is done by last name when you are sorting by the Name column. Make sure that there aren't any spaces or ~'s in the Last Name field of the contacts that don't seem to be sorting correctly. A space will cause the contact to be placed at the top of the list, and a ~ will cause it to be placed at the end. Also, the sorting will not be correct if the entire name is in the first name field or the last name field; for sorting to work properly, the first and last names must be in the proper fields. If all of the contacts seem to be properly formatted, but sorting by name still doesn't work properly, that could be a sign of database corruption. Try rebuilding the database. How to Rebuild

7b) Can you sync Entourage's Address Book with Apple's Address Book?

This option was added starting in Entourage 2004 with the 11.2.3 update. If you are using an older version of Entourage see Dan Crevier blog for more info.

8) Slow to open....Why is it taking so long to open my Address Book?

Once it opens, click on the name column to re-sort your contacts. That should cause Entourage to re-sort the list and speed things up.

9) I want to quickly copy someone's mailing address into another document. As far as I know, this is done by using the popup menu next to the Street address field, and then selecting "Copy name and address...". This does not grab the text for Company and Department, which is usually part of the address.

Option 1: Turn Preview Pane on for the Address Book (command+\). Find your contact, and the preview pane will show you a summary of all the info in the contact record. Hold the shift key down and select all of the items you want to copy to the clipboard.

Option 2: Here's something that Word does better than Entourage. If you display the Contact toolbar in Word (View/Toolbars/Contact) and enter a contact's name there (or even just start typing a contact's name in a document and click return when its name appears in a tooltip), then click Include Address in the Contact Toolbar, the business address does include the company (not available for Office 2001).

More info: In Word, You only get the first 100 in that list from the Contact menu. But there's usually no need to see the list at all. Just start typing in the contact's name and you'll get a small auto-complete list just like you do in an Entourage email message addressee field (but it has only contacts, no Most-Recently-used additions). If you really want to see your list of contacts, just go to the Tools menu in Word / Office Address Book. You get the same Address Book as in Entourage and can just select a contact that way. At the bottom left of the Address Book is a popup for Default/Work/Home addresses. If you pick Work (or the Default is Work) and Insert, again you'll get the Company as part of the address.

10) Import Yahoo Calendar & Address Book.

If Yahoo exports as CSV, see Import CSV files

Paul Berkowitz's "Export-Import Entourage" script package allows you to export from Yahoo Calendar & Address Book to Microsoft Entourage and vice-versa. You can find more information on his script package here. (Does not work with Snow Leopard.)

11) How do you delete duplicate contacts?

There are several delete duplicate contacts scripts. Check out that Duplicates Page

Use Apple's Mail Delete Duplicate Contacts to clean up your contacts in Apple Mail, then sync to Entourage's Address Book. This works with Outlook contacts too. (not available for Entourage X users)

Check out Scrubly. Works with Entourage and Outlook.

11a) Entourage Address Book duplicates contacts when syncing to iPOD.

Entourage doesn't support Middle Names.

Having a middle name in an Address Book contact will cause the contact to be duplicated when it is synced to Entourage.

Currently, in Leopard and Entourage 2008, there are multiple problems with Sync Services. Always keep backups. March, 2008

12) In Outlook on Windows, it is perfectly possible to be automatically reminded about coming up birthdays. Is there a similar feature in Entourage?

In the Address Book, select the contact whose birthday you'd like to be reminded of. To the left of his or her birthday in the Summary view, click the calendar icon. Select "Add to Calendar." You can then customize the reminder time to determine how much advance notice you'll get.

13) Is there a way to add contacts automatically from emails rather than entering them from emails. I would rather not go though all of my archived mail just to add contacts.

Check out WhoPaste.. a "contract grabber" utility that creates contact records from text (like email signatures) or directly from spreadsheets (either rows or cell ranges). WhoPaste is compatible with Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4.3+) and Leopard. ($10 USD)


Go to Tools/Rules/POP - assuming your messages are in local folders "On My Computer".

  1. Click New. Name the rule "Add to Address Book".
  2. IF: change (All messages) to (From) Is not in address book (to avoid duplicates).
  3. Action: change the second action (Set category) to Add sender to address book
  4. Uncheck the Enabled box. (I assume you don't want this rule running on ALL future messages, including spam that escapes the Junk filter. If I'm wrong, keep the box Enabled.)
  5. Go to the local Inbox, select one message, press cmd-A to Select All.
  6. Go Message menu/Apply Rule/Add to Address Book. Let it run.
  7. Repeat in any other folders where you want this done.