Outlook Address Book vs Contacts: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Amit Bansal

When it comes to managing contacts in Outlook, there are two main features that users often get confused about the Address Book and Contacts.

Although they seem similar, there are significant differences between them that are important to understand to make the most of Outlook’s features.

The Address Book is a feature that acts as a meta-location for the Contacts folder and other locations in Outlook that can contain contact information.

On the other hand, the Contacts feature is a list of external contacts, while the Address Book contains information for people who work in your company.

Understanding the difference between these two features is crucial for users to manage their contacts efficiently.

In this article, we will explore the differences between the Outlook Address Book and Contacts features.

We will discuss their unique features, how to use them, and how they can help you manage your contacts more effectively.

By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the differences between these two features and how to use them to your advantage.

Outlook Address Book vs Contacts

When it comes to managing contacts in Outlook, there are two main features to consider: the Outlook Address Book and the Contacts feature.

While they may seem similar at first glance, there are fundamental differences between the two that are important to understand.

Fundamental Differences

The Outlook Address Book is a collection of address books or address lists created from your contact folders.

It includes the Global Address List (GAL), which is a directory of all the users in your organization.

On the other hand, the Contacts feature is usually a list of external contacts, such as clients, vendors, or personal contacts.

Another key difference is that the Address Book is designed for quick access to contact information when addressing emails, while the Contacts feature is more comprehensive and customizable.

You can add and edit fields for each contact in the Contacts feature, such as phone numbers, addresses, and notes.

Functionality

The Address Book is automatically created and updated based on the information in your Contacts folders and other sources, such as the GAL.

It allows you to search for and select recipients when addressing emails, and you can also create distribution lists or contact groups for easier email communication.

The Contacts feature, on the other hand, allows you to manage and organize your contacts in a more detailed and personalized way.

You can sort contacts into categories or folders, add photos or attachments, and customize the view to display the fields that are most important to you.

Purpose

The Address Book and Contacts feature serves different purposes in Outlook.

The Address Book is primarily used for sending emails and managing email communication, while the Contacts feature is more focused on managing and organizing your contact information.

Overall, understanding the differences between the Outlook Address Book and Contacts feature can help you make the most of both tools and effectively manage your contacts in Outlook.

Understanding Contacts

Contacts are a fundamental aspect of Outlook’s address book. They are a collection of individuals or organizations that you communicate with regularly.

Contacts can be added and managed easily in Outlook.

Adding and Managing Contacts

To add a new contact in Outlook, click on the “People” tab and click “New Contact.”

Fill in the necessary information, such as name, email, phone number, and any other relevant details.

You can also add a picture to the contact if you wish. Once you have added a contact, you can manage their information by clicking on their name and selecting “Edit Contact.”

Creating Contact Groups

Contact groups are useful for sending emails to multiple people at once. To create a contact group, click on the “People” tab and select “New Contact Group.”

Give the group a name and add the contacts you want to include.

You can also add contacts to a group by selecting them and clicking “Add to Contact Group” in the toolbar.

Distribution Lists

Distribution lists are similar to contact groups, but they are used for sending emails to a large number of people.

To create a distribution list, click on the “People” tab and select “New Contact Group.”

Give the list a name and add the contacts you want to include.

Then, click on “File” and select “Save As” to save the list as a distribution list.

When you want to send an email to the list, simply select the distribution list as the recipient.

Overall, contacts are an essential part of Outlook’s address book and can be easily managed.

By creating contact groups and distribution lists, you can streamline your email communication and save time.

Working with Outlook Address Books

When it comes to managing contacts in Outlook, there are two primary features: Contacts and Address Book.

Address Books are used to store contact information for people who work within your company, while external contacts are usually stored in the Contacts feature.

In this section, we will discuss the three types of Address Books in Outlook.

Global Address Book (GAL)

The Global Address List (GAL) is a directory of all users and resources within an organization that use Microsoft Exchange as its email platform.

The GAL is automatically created by Exchange and is available to all users in the organization.

It contains a list of all the email addresses and contact information for everyone in the company, making it easy to find and contact colleagues.

The GAL is read-only, so users cannot add or modify entries.

Personal Address Book

A Personal Address Book is a collection of contacts that are stored locally on your computer.

It is not shared with other users in your organization, and it is not stored on the Exchange server.

You can create multiple Personal Address Books in Outlook, and you can choose which one to use as your default.

Personal Address Books are useful for storing contacts that are not associated with your company, such as personal contacts or contacts for a volunteer organization.

Public Folders

Public Folders are a shared repository for contact information, calendars, and other data that can be accessed by multiple users within your organization.

Public Folders can be used to store contact information for departments, project teams, or other groups within your organization.

Public Folders can be accessed by anyone who has permission to do so, and they can be set up to allow users to add or modify entries.

In conclusion, Outlook provides several options for managing contact information, including the Global Address List, Personal Address Books, and Public Folders.

Each of these options has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice will depend on your specific needs and the needs of your organization.

Managing Business Cards and Photos

When it comes to managing business cards and photos in Outlook, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Here, we’ll discuss how to manage business cards and photos using Outlook Contacts.

Business Cards

Outlook Contacts allows us to create and share electronic business cards.

To create a business card, we can choose a layout and background, add pictures or graphics, and include the contact fields that we want to appear on the card.

These fields can include things like name, job title, phone number, email address, and more.

Once we’ve created a business card, we can share it with others by sending it as an attachment to an email message.

Recipients can then save the card to their own Outlook Contacts for future reference.

Adding and Removing Images

In Outlook Contacts, we can also add images to a contact form or electronic business card.

This can help put a face to a name or quickly match a logo to a company contact.

To add an image, we can follow these steps:

  1. Open the contact form or electronic business card.
  2. Click on the picture icon in the top left corner of the form.
  3. Select “Add Picture” from the drop-down menu.
  4. Choose the image file that we want to use.
  5. Adjust the size and position of the image as needed.

To remove an image from a contact form or electronic business card, we can simply click on the picture icon and select “Remove Picture” from the drop-down menu.

In conclusion, managing business cards and photos in Outlook Contacts is a simple process that can help us stay organized and professional.

By creating electronic business cards and adding images to our contacts, we can make a great first impression and easily keep track of important information.

Conclusion

In summary, both the Outlook Address Book and Contacts feature to serve a similar purpose of storing contact information.

However, they differ in their functionality and usage.

The Address Book is a collection of address books or address lists created from your contact folders.

It includes the Global Address List (GAL) if you use Outlook with an Exchange Server account.

It is primarily used to look up and select names, email addresses, and distribution lists when addressing email messages.

On the other hand, the Contacts feature is like an electronic Rolodex where you can access contact information for people you likely deal with on a regular basis.

It allows you to create and manage contact information, including names, email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses.

When it comes to managing contacts, the Contacts feature is more robust and offers more customization options, such as creating custom fields and categories.

It also allows you to import and export contacts from other sources, such as a CSV file.

Additionally, you can create contact groups to quickly send emails to multiple contacts at once.

Overall, both the Address Book and Contacts features are essential tools for managing contact information in Outlook.

Depending on your needs, you may find yourself using one more than the other.

However, understanding the differences between the two can help you make the most out of both features and streamline your workflow.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When it comes to using Outlook, there are often questions about the Address Book and Contacts. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers:

What is the difference between the Address Book and Contacts in Outlook?

The Address Book is a collection of address lists, while Contacts is a folder that contains contact information for people and organizations.

The Address Book is a central location for all of your address lists, including the Global Address List (GAL), which contains contact information for everyone in your organization.

Contacts, on the other hand, are where you store contact information for individuals and organizations that you interact with.

How do I add someone to my Address Book in Outlook?

To add someone to your Address Book, you need to create a new contact. To do this, click on the People icon in the bottom left corner of the Outlook window.

Then, click on the New Contact button and fill in the person’s information. Once you’ve added the contact, they will be included in your Address Book.

Can I customize my Address Book in Outlook?

Yes, you can customize your Address Book in Outlook. You can create new address lists, add or remove address lists, and change the order in which address lists appear.

To customize your Address Book, click on the Address Book button in the Home tab of the Outlook ribbon.

Then, click on the gear icon in the top right corner of the Address Book window and select Options.

From there, you can customize your Address Book to suit your needs.

How do I search for a contact in Outlook?

To search for a contact in Outlook, you can use the search bar at the top of the People window.

Simply type in the name or email address of the contact you’re looking for, and Outlook will display any matching results.

You can also use filters to narrow down your search results.

Can I import contacts from another application into Outlook?

Yes, you can import contacts from other applications into Outlook. To do this, click on the File tab in the Outlook ribbon and select Open & Export.

Then, select Import/Export and follow the prompts to import your contacts.

You can import contacts from a variety of applications, including Excel, Access, and other email clients.

In conclusion, understanding the difference between the Address Book and Contacts in Outlook can help you better manage your contacts and communication.

By customizing your Address Book and utilizing search and import features, you can streamline your workflow and stay organized.

Related Articles

Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of MailSmartly.com. Through this blog, I focus on Microsoft Outlook, offering insightful and informative content. Additionally, I produce educational videos on YouTube to further enhance the understanding of my audience. visit my YouTube Channel

View all posts

Leave a Comment