I possibly know the outcome to this problem, but I've been asked to investigate anyway.

I work in a law firm that has a lot of very sensitive information. Occasionally, an under-pressure-super-busy secretary may send an email to who they thought was another staffer in the office, but was in fact a client for an unrelated matter (eg. same first names).

A director has asked me, and said that he himself has done the same as the staffer before, to ensure that only authorised or internal email addresses are suggested when you compose an email.

I explained that the auto-complete feature is a blanket on or off setting that is there to assist you by suggesting previously contacted addresses with the same characters you've typed. But he comes back at me with his authoritative demeanor that it is an expectation in a corporate environment that such a feature be restricted to internal email addresses only ("What happens in the Prime Minister's office for their staff?") and to find a solution for our office.

I can empathise with him and understand why he believes that feature should exist, so here I am, ticking the boxes.

Is there any way of restricting the auto-complete list in Outlook?

The best I can think of is turning auto-complete off, clearing the staff's NK2/ACL and using Nk2edit to import only the Exchange GAL. But that won't work and it won't suggest any of the GAL addresses because auto-complete is off. Turn it back on and it starts learning again. So leave it off and use auto-resolution and/or the actual address book (who knew such a thing existed?!)?


You already know the answer. It's no. No way to restrict autocomplete list contents. Some kind of workaround may be importing GAL into autocomplete list periodically. Say, one time per hour or something like this.

  • Not bad!... I could do a clean (GAL only) autocomplete list of the NK2 file (it's Outlook 2007), and maybe include the %localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook\RoamCache\Stream_Autocomplete_0_***.dat file at the same time. Store it somewhere on his PC and run a scheduled batch file to replace each morning on computer startup. Has to be done when Outlook is closed though or it won't work - so it's kind of limited to once a day. The problem is if the GAL updates, the clean files will need to be recreated. – Reece Apr 22 '16 at 10:40
  • I think I might just let him know I've extensively looked into it and all documentation shows that what he's asking cannot be done. It's not hard to accept that you'll either not have the autocomplete feature and have to use the address books and your memory - or - use the autocomplete feature and have to proof-read your emails before you hit send. It's honestly not that hard or time consuming. Trust me that with the way he puts pressure on his staff, the person who made the mistake won't do it again. It'll only be the director who reports to no-one that continues to make the lazy mistake. – Reece Apr 22 '16 at 10:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.