Outlook Missing Address Book – The address list cannot be displayed.

When I open Outlook and create a new message, I used to be able to press the To, Cc, or Bcc button and then select recipients directly out of my Address Book, however, now I get the following error message:

The address list cannot be displayed. The Contacts folder associated with this address list could not be opened; it may have been moved or deleted, or you do not have permissions. For information on how to remove this folder from the Outlook Address Book, see Microsoft Office Outlook Help.

So after seeing that message, I checked out the Microsoft Office Outlook Help, but to no avail. I tried to remove the address book listing but it won’t let me, so then I tried to add a new Outlook Address Book and I received an error saying that the same type of address book could not be created twice. What the hell is going on here? Anyone have any suggestions?

39 thoughts on “Outlook Missing Address Book – The address list cannot be displayed.”

  1. Am facing same problem. Unable to check book to make contacts my address book – it’s grayed out. Problem occured when I imported my PST file from computer where I was running Outlook 2003 to another computer where I’m running 2007.

  2. Same exact problem as Greg after I imported my PST file from computer where I was running Outlook 2003 to another computer where I’m running 2007. Anybody find a solution?

  3. Same problem here too. Dell assistance couldn’t help either. The strange thing is that I do have all my contacts in the contacts folder, but none show up in my address book. The solution from Windoze didn’t work for me, I got stucked between Steps 1 and 2 (how sad!).

    Any new ideas?

  4. same problem as well..i have imported my pst file from office 03 to 07..
    sometime when type in the name in the “Cc” or “To” field, it can not show up the address for the name i typed, once i double clicked the name it said something like my address book list is corrupted. this is just randomly not working…god…

  5. Yeah, such a pain in the ass. I hate not having access to any of my contacts who I haven’t emailed before. It’s wierd though… for some reason, the contacts that I have already emailed before still auto-populate when I begin typing their name/email in the To/Cc/Bcc field.

  6. I used the procedure in Commnet 5. My folder shows up, so I went to displaying the folder Contacts. From there, I still got the message, so I then had to go to:
    TOOL>ADDRESS BOOK. I then selected from the drop down list of:SHOW NAMES FROM THE: and selected the file that I selected the step before as the one to dislpay from. I then went in to the TOOLS>OPTIONS> of Address book (still open from the selection before) and From the SHow list first, selected the same folder as before. VIOLA! It worked now.

  7. suggestion five did not work for me either, but i did find the missing piece of info for me… when I opened address book, under tools > address book (icon), I received the message many received… so ok the warning, you see an empty address book… go to PULL_DOWN menu under:

    Show names from the:

    It probably says “CONTACTS”, so pull down, I received

    Outlook address Book



    Noticed TWO contacts… I could have changed order, but decided to delete one contacts pointer… problem solved! to delete that first contacts I believe i went to Tools> address book>… it’s after midnight.. you are almost there

  8. Suggestion 5 worked for me – after I right-clicked the Contacts folder and made the changes. Have to restart Outlook to see the changes.

    However – I can’t get a Contacts folder I created in my PST file to be the location new contacts are added to by default, e.g. when selecting Add to Contacts from the context menu.

    Any suggestions?

  9. \\ark’s solution worked! Thank you! Now all I have to do is get the address book to alphabetize by last name, rather than first.

  10. If your problem started when you moved your Outlook to a new computer or reinstalled – here is the solution!

    first do the steps in [5] then go to Tools>Address Book
    Here you will see on the left a statement: “Show Names From The” with a drop down – if you look you will likely see two CONTACTS listed there… choose the “other one”

    Now you should see all your contacts listed. If you don’t see them see if there are any other contact lists listed in “Show Names From The”

    Once you see your contacts listed – select them all…. then go to File>Add to contacts

    THEN go to Tools (still in the address book) and switch the order of the Contacts (you will probably see two of them there) in the box “When sending mail check names using these address lists in the following order.

    Click OK then test it.

    Good Luck!

  11. Number 5 (Windoze) worked. Thanks for posting the KB article. Our problem was that the Address Book needed to be recreated using the method mentioned at MS. Again, thanks!

  12. I tried all the above solutions and none of them worked. Not Solution 5 or even oren’s. When I go into Tools/Address Book, I do not have a “Show Names From The” drop down at all.

    kAlso tried to go to Contact Folder / Properties / Outlook Address Book tab where I should be able to click the box “Show this folder as an email address book”.

    Any more hints?

  13. Dear Dawn Amato Rudolph!
    Thanks so much! I have the similar problem with my MO 2003, for a long time I could not repair this until read your idea.
    My address list can not be displayed because there are some contact list but only one is true, some others are mistake or empty (I am not sure). I have done successful with this matter. The process as follow:
    – go to Tools>Address Book, one explaining will appear to say that your add. list can not be display…. click OK, the add. book display with a empty box, do not care this.
    – on the left a statement: “Show Names From The” with a drop down we can see some contact list, please choose until you can see your add. list (with many contact add. in the bellow box), remember it.
    – On Address book (the windows box that you are seeing) click TOOL/OPTIONS, one Addressing box appear. Drop and choose the correct list for “Show this address list first” and “Keep personal addresses in”. in the box “when sending mail, check names ….” please remove some error list but keeping the correct list.
    – Finally, click “apply” then “OK” and close the address book. Your address list has been already for using!

  14. i am with no. 23 (wfuson). i have tried everything, and all steps fail somewhere, because drop down lists are empty, or tick boxes are greyed out. there is a deeper flaw somewhere, andthe MS help actions posted under no. 5 (winoze) do not work here! i just got a reply from MS U.S. to submit my queryto a european unit, with a link that is erroneous… just like this software i paid a fortune for!

  15. I have tried all suggestions that are written here. I went to TOOLS -> ACCOUNT SETTINGS -> ADDRESS BOOK TAB, the Outlook Address Book appears but I cannot remove it, the REMOVE option is grayed out. I closed this window and went to Step 2: FILE -> FOLDER -> PROPERTIES FOR [MY FOLDER] clicked on the Outlook Address Book tab and when tried to check on the SHOW THIS FOLDER AS AN EMAIL ADDRESS BOOK I can’t since this is grayed out too. I even tried to create a NEW Contacts Folder and it was also grayed out. I also went to TOOLS -> ADDRESS BOOK and there’s nothing available in the drop down list. I cannot find any other suggestions so see if I can remove the address book and enter it again. Does anybody have other hints?

  16. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but I was only able to correct problem by creating a new Outlook Profile and deleting the old one. My existing profile was evidently corrupted.

    It is a pain but it worked for me.

  17. Thanks all, this helped a lot.

    Special thanks to post #5 and #12, between these two you can fix this problem. After I just deleted the ‘contacts’ default and mine is now default.

    Follow #12 closely, It works!!!!

  18. Nothing worked for me – same problem as post #27 by GammaRay. I fixed it by deleting the existing “Outlook Address Book” service, and then re-adding the service. kb287563 describes how to add the service, but mine was already present. It wasn’t until I deleted and reinstalled that things started working.

  19. This worked for me after trying all suggestions above and spending many hours trying to fix: This is so simple it’s embarassing!
    On the Standard Tool Bar in Outlook 2007, select the down arrow next to the help icon (the question mark). Then select ‘add or remove buttons’, then select ‘standard’. Look down the list for a box that has ‘Find a Contact’. Uncheck the box. Hope this helps you, too–it solved my problem!

  20. None of this works for me! I don’t want to create a new Profile. I am not allowed to remove the Outlook Address Service to reinstall, the REMOVE button is greyed out. Any other suggestions?

  21. A bit of a different problem here. When I try to use the address book, I get a “Search” window. This happens if I try to use “To:”, etc., or open the address book. The contacts list is still good – it opens from the Nav Panel normally. Everything was working normally until a few days ago, when it cratered. I’ve tried all of the above things and several others; no luck. Running the Install disc to do a repair didn’t fix it and I’m pretty leery of doing a re-install as MS gives no option all of Office or none of it.

    Got any more ideas? I’m listening.


  22. I had this problem and could find no help until someone suggested I might have a corrupted Outlook profile. I created a new profile, got red of the old one and PRESTO… it worked like a charm.

    a pain in the butt solution but…

  23. None of this working for me. in the MS fix step 2 is not allowed it is grey and nothing shows up in the address book show names etc. .

    How can I find an answer?

  24. I had the same problem, couldn’t see any names in the search contacts folder in the top taskbar. (I am using Outlook 2007) on Windows & Pro. I could see the list of contacts when I clicked on the contacts folder in the Left Hand Navigation pane. I stumbled upon the answer when I went into the Address Book Icon on the Top Taskbar and there are two check boxes. One says “Name Only” and the other says “More Columns” The More Columns box was checked, so I unchecked it and ticked the Names Only box and “Voila” there was my missing Contacts List.
    Hope this helps!
    Colin D.

  25. Colin fixed this for me. Thanks Colin!!! And, now I feel like an idiot but spent a week after a complete (required for other reasons) HDD format and reinstalling Win XP Pro32-bit and Office 2007 Enterprise (akaPro+), etc. etc. I could not figure out why my Contacts, OAB [Office (2007) address books] were not showing up in the ‘To’, ‘Cc’ or ‘Bcc’ fields when I was trying to write and send a new email. The problem was that the default setting is ‘More Columns’ and all had to do was select ‘Names’ and waaf.nlaa, there they were for all 5 of my Contacts folders.

    See Colin’s response for details. THANKS Colin!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *