By default, when you double-click on a contact in Outlook 2013, the new Contact Card displays for that contact. The Contact Card doesn’t contain all the fields from the full contact editing window that opens when you create a new contact.

The Contact Card also displays by default when you search for a contact.

The new Contact Card displays information about the selected contact regardless of where it is stored. For example, if you have two email accounts set up in Outlook and the same contact exists in the Contacts folder of both accounts, the details of these two separate contacts are merged on a single Contact Card. The information for both separate contacts stay the same and stay separate. Microsoft just figured it might be useful to view all available information about a contact in a single window.

However, you can still open the full contact editing window when editing a contact or when searching for a contact. We’ll show you a few ways to do this, including a way to modify the registry to have the full contact editing window display when clicking on the results of a contact search.

To switch to your Contacts folder, click the People link at the bottom of the Outlook window or press Ctrl + 3.

To access the new Contact Card for a contact, double-click on the contact in the People view.

The new Contact Card displays. Click the plus sign next to a section to add information to that section for the current contact. Click Save to save your changes.

NOTE: You can also edit the contact using the new Contact Card by clicking Edit on the Contact Card that displays to the right of the contact list when you single-click on a contact.

The same information that displayed on the separate Contact Card displays to the right of the contacts list on the main Outlook window, allowing you to edit the contact’s information.

You’ll notice that the new Contact Card does not contain all the fields available on the full contact editing window. You can access the full contact editing window for a contact by clicking on the Outlook (Contacts) link under View Source on the Contact Card.

NOTE: This link is only available on the Contact Card when displayed to the right of the contacts list in the main Outlook window.

The full contact editing window displays for the selected contact.

There are different views available for your contacts list. If you select any view in the Current View section of the Home tab other than People, the full contact editing window displays by default when you double-click on a contact.

For example, when we selected Card above, the view of our contact list changes to a card format. Double-clicking on the name on the card opens the full contact editing window.

When you search for a contact and double-click on a name in the results of the search, the new Contact Card opens by default. We will show you how to change Outlook to open the full contact editing window by default when searching for a contact.

Annoyingly, this contact dialog automatically goes away when I click somewhere else in Outlook.

NOTE: When the new Contact Card displays, it automatically goes away when you click anywhere else in Outlook. To keep the window accessible, click the thumbtack at the top of the window. The Contact Card may get hidden behind the Outlook window when you click elsewhere, but it’s still available through the Outlook icon on the Taskbar.

To always open the full contact editing window when clicking on a search result from the People search, we will make a change to the registry.

NOTE: Before making changes to the registry, be sure you back it up. We also recommend creating a restore point you can use to restore your system if something goes wrong.

If you’re on the Start screen in Windows 8, go to the Desktop. Move the cursor to the extreme lower, left corner of the screen until the Start button pops up. Right-click on the Start button to display the Command menu and select Run.

NOTE: You can also access the Command menu by pressing Windows Key + X.

Enter “regedit” (without the quotes) in the Open edit box on the Run dialog box and click OK.

If the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue.

NOTE: You may not see this dialog box, depending on your User Account Control settings.

In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:


If the Contactcard key doesn’t exist, you’ll need to create it. To do so, right-click on the Common key and select New | Key from the popup menu.

Rename the key to “Contactcard” (without the quotes).

In the right pane, right-click on the empty space and select New | DWORD (32-bit) Value from the popup menu.

Rename the new value to “turnonlegacygaldialog” (without the quotes).

Double-click on the new value and enter 1 in the Value data edit box. Click OK.

Select Exit from the File menu to close the Registry Editor. To allow this change to take effect, close Outlook if it’s open, and reopen it.

NOTE: We tested this in Windows 8 and found that we didn’t have to log off and log back on or restart the computer for the change to take effect. You may experience different results in other versions of Windows.

To go back to opening the new Contact Card by default from a People search, change the Value Data for the turnonlegacygaldialog value to 0 or delete the Contactcard key.

Profile Photo for Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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