Using contacts (People) in Outlook.com or Outlook on the web

Note: Sign in to Outlook on the web using any Microsoft account, including email accounts ending in @outlook.com, @live.com, @hotmail.com or @msn.com.

In Outlook on the web, you use the Outlook People page to view, create, edit, find, and delete contacts. You can use your contacts for your own reference, and you can automatically add them as recipients when you compose an email message in Outlook Mail.

In this article

Getting to the Outlook People page

What you’ll see on the Outlook People page

Understanding contact folders

Creating a contact from scratch

Creating a contact from an email message

Creating a contact list

Editing a contact or contact list

Working with contact folders

Deleting or restoring a contact or a contact list

Searching for a contact or contact list

Linking and unlinking contacts

Getting to the Outlook People page

  1. Sign in to Outlook on the web. For help, see Sign in to Outlook on the web.

  2. Select the App Launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon , and then in the App Launcher, select the Outlook People tile.

What you’ll see on the Outlook People page

The following screen shot shows what you'll see on the Outlook People page.

Screen shot of the Outlook People page.

Here's a description of what you'll see:

  1. The Search people box, which you use to search for a contact or a contact list

  2. The toolbar, which provides menus and commands for creating and modifying your contacts and contact lists depending on the context

  3. My Contacts, which contains all of your contact folders

  4. The middle pane, which shows the contacts and contact lists that are contained in the item that's selected in the left pane

  5. The filter menu, which contains options to narrow and sort the contacts and contact lists that are displayed

  6. The contact card, which shows details about the contact or contact list that's selected in the middle pane

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Understanding contact folders

When you create a contact or contact list from scratch, it gets stored in the contact folder that's selected in the left pane. Therefore, before you add any contact or contact lists, it will help to know something about contact folders. Here's all you need to know to start.

Each of your contacts and contact lists is stored in a contact folder. You can create contact folders to keep certain contacts or contact lists together and find them more easily.

My Contacts, which is in the left pane of the Outlook People page, contains all of your contact folders. When My Contacts is collapsed, you can select it to expand it and see all of your contact folders.

When My Contacts is expanded, the Contacts folder appears directly under it, as shown in the following screen shot. You get the Contacts folder automatically. It contains all of your local contacts unless you create other folders and add contacts to them.

Screen shot of the Outlook People page. In the left pane, My Contacts is expanded and the Contacts folder appears under it.

For more information, see Working with contact folders later in this article.

Creating a contact from scratch

  1. Under My Contacts in the left pane, select the folder that you want to create the contact in. If My Contacts is selected rather than a particular folder, the new contact is created in the Contacts folder.

    Note: Before you create a new contact, make sure you select the folder in the left pane that you want to create it in. After you create a contact, it isn't possible to move it to a different folder. To store a contact in a different folder after you create it, you can delete the contact and then re-create it in the other folder.

  2. On the toolbar, select New.

    Screen shot of toolbar on the Outlook People page, with a callout for the "New" command.
  3. In the Add contact form that opens, fill in the details that you want.

    You can select the new icon to see options for that type of information. For example, select new next to Phone to add phone numbers.

  4. You can select discard Discard to cancel your changes at any time. Otherwise, when you’re done, select Save Save to save your changes.

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Creating a contact from an email message

To quickly add any sender or recipient that's in an email message to your Contacts folder, do the following:

  1. Select the App Launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon , and then in the App Launcher, select the Outlook Mail tile.

  2. In an email message in the reading pane, select the name of the sender or recipient that you want to add to your contacts.

  3. On the contact card that appears for that person, select Add.

    Screen shot of part of an email message on the Outlook Mail page. The sender of the message is highlighted and the contact card of that recipient appears. There is a callout for the Add command on the contact card.
  4. In the Add contact form that opens, add more information about the contact as you like.

  5. Select Save Save to add the card to your Contacts folder or select discard Discard to cancel.

    If you select Save, the contact is automatically added to your Contacts folder. When you create a contact in this way, it isn't possible to save the contact in a different folder or to move it to a different folder.

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Creating a contact list

A contact list is a collection of contacts. It's sometimes also called a distribution list. You can specify a contact list as a recipient when you compose an email message. When you send the message, it goes to all of the contacts in the list at the same time. For example, you might create a contact list named "My book club" and add all of the members of your book club to it. Then to address a message to everyone in the club, you would only have to enter My book club on the To: line of the email.

To create a contact list
  1. Under My Contacts in the left pane, select the folder that you want to create the contact list in. If My Contacts is selected rather than a particular folder, the new contact list will be created in the Contacts folder.

    Note: Before you create a new contact list, make sure you select the folder in the left pane that you want to create it in. After you create a contact list, it isn't possible to move it to a different folder. To store a contact list in a different folder after you create it, you can delete the contact list and then re-create it in the other folder.

  2. On the toolbar, select the down arrow next to New, and then select New contact list.

    Screen shot of part of the toolbar on the Outlook People page. The screen shot shows the "New contact list" option in the "New" drop-down menu.
  3. In the blank form that opens, enter the Contact list name, the contact list Members, and optional Notes.

  4. You can select discard Discard to cancel your changes at any time. Otherwise, when you’re done, select Save Save to save your changes.

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Editing a contact or contact list

You can edit contacts or contact lists that you create or import into Outlook on the web. You can't edit contacts that you get by connecting to a social network account such as LinkedIn. For information about importing contacts from another email account or email program, see Import contacts to Outlook for Windows.

To edit a contact or contact list
  1. In the middle pane, check the box next to the contact or contact list that you want to edit, and then select Edit on the toolbar.

    Screen shot of part of the Outlook People page. In the screen shot, the check box next to a contact name is selected, and there is a callout for the Edit command in the toolbar.
  2. Make the changes that you want.

  3. You can select discard Discard to cancel your changes at any time. Otherwise, when you’re done, select Save Save to save your changes.

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Working with contact folders

  • To create a contact folder, right-click or press and hold My Contacts in the left pane, and then select New folder.

  • To rename or delete any contact folder that you created, right-click the folder and then select Rename or Delete.

  • To move any contact folder that you created to a location named Other contacts so that the folder is still visible but out of the way, right-click the folder and then select Move to "Other contacts". You'll see the folder appear under Other contacts.

    To move a folder from Other contacts back to the main list of your folders under My Contacts, right-click the folder and then select Move to "My contacts".

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Viewing your contacts and contact lists

On the Outlook People page, when you select an item in the left pane, the middle pane displays contacts that are in that item, as follows:

  • When you select My Contacts, the middle pane displays all of your contacts and contact lists.

  • When you select a particular contact folder, the middle pane displays only contacts and contact lists that are in that folder.

Using the filter menu to narrow and sort the contact display

At the top right of the middle pane, there's a drop-down menu that you can use to narrow and sort the contacts and contact lists that are displayed there. The name of the menu describes the sort order that's currently being used. The default menu name is By first name, because that's the default sort order.

Screen shot of the Outlook People page that includes a callout for the filter menu in the middle pane. The callout shows the default name of the menu, which is "By first name."

When you select the menu to open it, you'll see that it contains the following three sections:

  • The Display section, where you can choose People if you want to view only the contacts that are people, or choose Lists to view only the contacts that are contact lists.

  • The Display Order section, where you can choose First last or Last first to control the way each name is displayed.

  • The Sort Order section, where you can choose from options such as Last name, Company, and Work city. The sort order that's being used determines the name of the menu. For example, if the current menu name is By first name and you change the sort order by selecting Last name, the menu name changes to By last name.

    Screen shot of the Outlook People page. The screen shot includes a callout for the filter menu in the middle pane. The callout shows that the menu name is now "By last name."

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Deleting or restoring a contact or a contact list

You can delete contacts or contact lists that you created or imported into Outlook on the web. You can't delete contacts that you get by connecting to a social network account, such as LinkedIn.

You can recover contacts and contact lists that you deleted less than 30 days ago. When you recover a contact or contact list, Outlook on the web automatically places it in the My Contacts folder.

To delete a contact or contact list
  1. Select the contact or contact list.

  2. Select Delete.

To restore a contact or contact list
  1. On the toolbar, select Manage, and then select Restore deleted contacts.

  2. In the Recover deleted items window, select the check box to the left of each contact or contact list that you want to restore.

  3. At the bottom right of the Recover deleted items window, select Recover.

  4. In the Recover items dialog box, select OK.

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Searching for a contact or contact list

  1. In the Search people box at the top of the left pane, enter a search term.

    • To search for a contact, enter a name or an email address in the Search people box, and then select the search icon Search for support . For example, to find a contact named Norris Reiss whose email address is norris@outlook.com, you could enter norris or reiss in the search box.

    • To search for a contact list, enter part or all of the name of the contact list in the Search people box, and then select the search icon Search for support or press Enter. For example, to find a contact list named "My book club," you could enter only the word club in the search box.

  2. To narrow your search after you get some search results, select a refiner in the Include people from section under the search box. The Include people from section will include a refiner for each of the following:

    • Each contact folder that you created

    • Each social network that you're connected to

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Linking and unlinking contacts

You can link contacts to each other to indicate that they are somehow related. In addition, Outlook on the web automatically detects contacts that have the same or very similar names and links them so that they appear as a single contact.

  • To link certain contacts to each other, select the check box to the left of each contact in the middle pane, and then on the toolbar, select Link.

  • To unlink contacts from one another, do the following:

    1. In the middle pane, select the check box to the left of a linked contact.

    2. On the toolbar, select the Links drop-down menu.

    3. On the drop-down menu, select the x next to the contact that you want to unlink from the others.

Understanding automatic linking

To see which contacts Outlook on the web has automatically linked for a particular contact and to see suggestions for other, similar contacts to link that contact to, follow these steps:

  1. Select the check box to the left of the contact name. If Outlook on the web has automatically linked any contacts that have the same or similar names, a Links drop-down menu will appear on the right side of the toolbar.

  2. On the toolbar, select the Links drop-down menu.

For example, you might have contacts named Keri Mills and Keri M. Mills, as shown in the following screen shot. When you select the check box next to one of them, Links (2) appears on the right side of the toolbar to indicate that Outlook on the web has automatically linked the two contacts. Then when you select Links (2), the Linked Profiles section on the menu shows the contacts that are linked, and the Suggested Profiles section under that shows additional, related contacts that you can select to link to the ones that are already linked. In this example, if you select the contact that is shown in the Suggested Profiles section, Links (2) on the toolbar will change to Links (3).

Screen shot of the Outlook People page. The screen shot shows two contacts with similar names. It also shows the Links drop-down menu on the toolbar, which contains a Linked Profiles section and a Suggested Profiles section.

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See Also

Welcome to Outlook on the web

Import contacts to Outlook for Windows

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