When there is an Active Directory change and I have a local Contact of that user I can update his/her fields by clicking the Update button.

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This works very well

Details Updated 06.07.2012:
    Title: new title

The problem is that I have to do that for each and every contact. Is there a possibility to just do this "Update" for all contacts?


I know this is old, but it's the first search result in Google and doesn't have a proper answer. These screenshots are from Outlook 2013, but the process works identically in 2010 or 2007.

First, open your Address Book. You can find that in the Home tab of your ribbon. Screenshot of Outlook ribbon

Second, select your Global Address List. Global Address List

Third, select the contacts you want to update. You can select all of them by selecting the first one, scrolling to the end of the list, and Shift + click the last item. From there, right-click any selected contact and choose "Add to Contacts". Selecting the entire Global Address List

Fourth, you will receive a dialogue box for any matching / existing contacts. Choose "Update All", wait a moment, and you're done. This will update contact information, pictures, phone numbers, etc. Duplicate contacts

That's it! Now you have the most up-to-date information from Active Directory in your local address book. Enjoy. Maybe even do a happy dance.

  • Good job - not the nicest way, but certainly works :-) – Dennis G Aug 4 '14 at 7:46
  • I'm not sure there IS a better way. Local contacts always trump Active Directory contacts, and do not update when changes happen in AD (by design). If you ever find a better way, please let me know. For now, I've written an Outlook plugin that performs these steps automatically for the company I work for. – philipthegreat Aug 4 '14 at 16:55
  • 1
    Hence I accepted the answer. Not the nicest way as in - why isn't this default?! I can manually update each contact with the nice "Update" button and it automatically synchs the contact with AD, but I can't do that for all contact with a simple buttonclick? Your way works though! – Dennis G Aug 4 '14 at 17:36
  • Now if there was only a way to DELETE non-existing contacts... ;-) – Dennis G Aug 21 '14 at 8:20

Switch to your contacts view, then go to the "Send/Receive" tab. Under Send/Receive Groups, you should see an option to "Download Address Book." Now you will be prompted for a few options, and you can choose to update from the Global Address List (this is how your AD should push out contacts).

Download Address Book

Choose the correct parameters

  • Doesn't do the trick for me. I can dowload the Address book, but the users are not updated. When I open a single user and click update, it is updated though. – Dennis G Jul 6 '12 at 13:13
  • So all of these contacts you are updating are also on the AD, correct? – brenton Jul 6 '12 at 13:17
  • Yes they are. I download the full address book and it loads for a couple of seconds. No changes. I open some contact which I haven't updated yet, click on update - it is updated. Also the Update button seems to have to do something with "Outlook Social Connector" - see the other screenshot I added? – Dennis G Jul 6 '12 at 13:21
  • Outlook Social Connector is normal - I have it on my contacts as well. Microsoft Support has an article on offline address books which may be helpful in this situation...it appears you have cached mode turned on (it is by default on the clients) – brenton Jul 6 '12 at 13:32

The Outlook Social connector (Free with Outlook 2010/2013) will do what you are asking for. It scans your contacts and makes updates based on information in the GAL.

If you want to do this for many hundreds of users, consider a third party solution: http://blog.itrezzo.com/2014/02/how-to-sync-gal-to-iphone-Android.html

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