Prevent alternate Exchange e-mail alias suggestions

This feature requires you to use a Microsoft Exchange Server 2000, Exchange Server 2003, or Exchange Server 2007 account. Most home and personal accounts do not use Microsoft Exchange. For more information about Microsoft Exchange accounts and how to determine which version of Exchange your account connects to, see the links in the See Also section.

You can turn off or avoid using a feature in Microsoft Outlook that suggests names of e-mail recipients when you begin typing a name or e-mail alias in the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes.

This Office Outlook feature, which is for Microsoft Exchange e-mail account users, prompts you to identify which person that you are attempting to send an e-mail message to, when you type an e-mail alias that could match multiple people or resources in the Exchange address book.

Note: This article is not about the AutoComplete feature in Outlook, which suggests, as you type, matches from people that you previously sent an e-mail message to. For help on the AutoComplete feature, see Using the automatic name fill-in feature (AutoComplete).

For example, if you type pat and there is also an entry in the Exchange address book for someone with the e-mail alias of patr and patdirects, Outlook prompts you to pick between every entry that begins with pat, in this case three different entries.

The benefit of this feature is that it allows you to type only the first few letters of an e-mail alias and then choose from a suggested list. However, if the person that you are sending to has a short alias, or if there are other aliases that include the alias that you are sending to, it can be frustrating to be prompted about other possibilities. You can turn this feature off in the two ways explained below.

Turn off alias suggestions on a case-by-case basis

  • In the To, Cc, or Bcc box, type the equal sign (=) immediately before an alias.

    For example, if you type =pat, no other e-mail aliases are suggested. It is assumed that pat is the complete alias.

Turn off alias suggestions permanently

For advanced computer users only, there is a way to permanently turn off Exchange alias suggestions. If you are not comfortable making the following changes by using Registry Editor, do not proceed. Use the case-by-case method explained in the previous section.

Warning: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you might cause serious problems that require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

  1. To open Registry Editor in Windows, do one of the following:

    • In Microsoft Windows Vista, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click Run, and then type regedit, and then click OK.

    • In Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003, click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.

  2. Expand the KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Exchange Provider subkey.

  3. Right-click the Exchange Provider folder, point to New, and then click DWORD Value on the shortcut menu.

  4. Type OAB Exact Alias Match, and then press ENTER.

  5. With the new entry still selected, press ENTER.

  6. In the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, in the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.

    For Base value, select Hexadecimal.

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