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The Most Recently Used (MRU) AutoComplete list

The "Most Recently Used" (MRU) is often misunderstood. These entries are harmless. They never show up in your Address Book, only in the AutoComplete list. Also, Entourage automatically selects the address you will most likely want to send to based on the text you've already typed.

Any message marked as Junk (either by you or the Junk Mail Filter) will not be added to the MRU list.

Entourage's Address AutoComplete feature gathers addresses from both the address book and the recently-used list (with a maximum of 200 entries). They are sorted intelligently, organized by the frequency of messaging for each contact, with the most-used contacts showing up on top.

There will always be 200. Some will always be considered "useless" by the user. The better organized you are at adding "good" addresses to you address book the more you will enjoy the MRU feature.

Entourage X, 2004 and 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.

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.

Entourage 2001: There is no Clear List button. See: How to Remove Addresses from the Entourage Address Cache

Clarification on using the MRU

Still a bit confused on using the autofil feature in Entourage? The following is from a post on the Entourage talk list between a user and MVP Paul Berkowitz.

OK, this makes me raise something that's been bothering me. For some reason nicknames and even how you get email addresses in messages for contacts don't work right for me. I have a contact whose first name is Joan. I email her a lot. I have another contact whose first name is JoAnn. I don't email her very often. *Every single time* I type joan into the "to" field, I get JoAnn's email address. I've finally trained myself to use Joan's last name instead. But WHY is it doing this?

Because it doesn't pay attention to capitalization (it's "case-insensitive"). "Joan" and "JoAn" are the same (which means you don't have to bother using Shift key at all, ever).

Why is JoAnn always before Joan? Given that the first 4 letters are the same, Entourage will find whichever one comes first in its scanning of Address Book contacts. I'm not sure if that is in order of which contact was created first (has the lower ID in Entourage's database) or if it scans by alphabetical order of Last Name, as they appear in the Address Book. One or the other.

I thought it was supposed to default to the person to whom you'd last sent an email, or the person from whom you'd last received one.

Why did you imagine that? In the case of contacts in the Address Book, it does not bother checking for that. If it did so, it would take 100 times as long. As well as checking the Address Book, it also checks the MRU list. That list is _formed_ and frequently _reformed_ by a complex protocol that does weight by frequency, as well as recentness, of correspondence. I don't know when exactly the MRU list is recompiled - whether it's just at startup (doubtful), every few minutes, when Entourage is not busy doing other things, or what. But it's very unlikely to be happening at the moment you start typing the characters for a recipient: once again, that would slow everything down. The prioritized list is already in existence when you start typing. And, in any case, it's irrelevant for contacts, it's only for non-contacts.

In a fit of pique at one point, I even gave Joan the nickname Joan, but that didn't help.

Of course it wouldn't. That's just the same person in the same location in the Address Book, using the same 4 letters and therefore the same search! Pick a DISTINCTIVE nickname - I'll try that again - a DISTINCTIVE nickname that does not use the same starting letters as any other contact's first name or last name or nickname. For example, "jn" or "TrueJoan", or "Dingbat" or anything else you will remember and which does not compete with another contact's name.

Note: Nicknames do not show up in the message.