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I have outlook 2010 on a Windows 7 laptop. When I go to send an email at the "TO" line and I start typing the name, if I start to enter the last name it will not recognize anyone in my contacts and will not auto-populate a list of all the names that fit the description of what I have typed so far. But if I start typing the first name first it will start this auto-choice feature based on what I have typed so far. The company I work for has 20k + employees and If I want to email someone like "Michael Hutch " if I type "Michael" it still gives me like 800 names to chose from.

My old laptop that had 2003 Outlook on it, had this functionality. Is there a way to enable this in Outlook 2010?

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You could go through your contacts and change each name from, say, "Michael Hutch" to "Hutch, Michael". Would that be feasible? – Dr Kitty Jun 22 '12 at 21:25

When searching for a recipient based on text you type in the “To”, “CC”, or “BCC” fields, auto-complete looks at the following fields:

  1. Display Name (i.e. Jane K. Doe)

  2. Primary SMTP E-mail address (i.e.

  3. Exchange Alias (i.e. janedoe)

  4. legacyExchangeDN attribute in Active Directory (more on this later)

Auto-complete does NOT search against any of the following criteria:

First Name (if it is different from the display name, for example if the display name contained a nickname instead of the legal first name, which is listed in the recipients’ “first name” field in Active Directory)

Last Name (unless one of the above four fields starts with the last name)

Username (unless one of the above four fields starts with the username, or is set to match the username)

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This doesn't really answer the question. It explains the fields that autocomplete uses to suggest email addresses, but it doesn't help the OP figure out if there's a way to get it to sort by last name, or explain why it's not possible. For example, can a person control the display name or Exchange Alias, or if they are sending to people in a GAL is this set by the Exchange admin? – Adam Wuerl Feb 1 '13 at 20:55

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