Find people and contacts

Over time your list of contacts grows, and it can be hard to quickly find the right contact or person without a lot of digging. To locate people quickly, take advantage of the handy Search Contacts feature in Outlook.

To search for a contact

  1. Choose People at the bottom of the screen.

    Click People

  2. Above your contacts list, place your cursor in the Search Contacts box.

    Click Search Contacts on the People tab

    Note:  You might be tempted to use the Search People box, which is in the top-right corner on the Home tab. That works, but only if you type the person’s name (or part of their name). You can’t use this box, however, to search for things like phone numbers or addresses.

    Search People box compared to the Search Contacts box

  3. Type the person’s name or other information—like a phone number or company name—you want to search for.

    Tip:  You can search for complete or partial information. If you're searching for someone named Chris Preston, for example, you can type the full name or “pre,” which represents the first three characters of the last name.

  4. Choose the person you want from the search results.

    Click the person you want from the Search results

    Note: The search results return the person's name and contact photo.

Narrow your search

Getting too many results when you search for complete or partial information? Consider further refining your search. When you choose the Search People box on the People tab, the Search Tools tab appears.

Tip:  You can also press Ctrl+E to open the Search Tools tab.

Search tools tab

There are many options available, including the following groups of options on the Search Tools tab, to help narrow your search.

  • Scope    Change the folders you want to search in.

  • Refine    Search for people who have phone numbers or other specific types of information in their contact information.

  • Options    Use previous searches or change advanced search options.

Search from your Inbox

You also can search for contacts from any folder in your mailbox.

To look up someone when you're sending an email message

  • In the Find group, in the Search People box, type the name of the person you want to find.

    SearchPeople box

    You can enter a partial name, a first or last name, an email address, a display name, or a company name.

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