The Auto-Complete feature in Outlook automatically fills in names and email addresses for you when entering them in the To or Cc fields. Based on the characters you start to enter, Outlook displays a list of possible choices that match what you’ve entered.

You can then either click the desired email address from the list or press Enter to insert the email address in the list.

The Auto-Complete feature can save you time if you compose a lot of emails and have a lot of contacts in your address book. However, you do have to be careful when using the feature, so you don’t accidentally select the wrong email address and send an email to the wrong person. If you don’t want to use this feature, you can easily disable it, empty all of the suggestions, or remove individual suggestions.

Disable Auto-Complete Entirely

To disable the Auto-Complete feature, open Outlook and switch to the “File” menu.

On the sidebar, click the “Options” command.

In the Outlook Options window, click the “Mail” category on the left. On the right, scroll down to the “Send messages” section.

To disable the Auto-Complete feature, untick the “Use Auto-Complete List to suggest names when typing in the To, Cc, and Bcc lines” checkbox.

You can re-enable the feature at any time by checking the option again.

Empty the Auto-Complete List of Everything

Outlook keeps track of email addresses you have used in an Auto-Complete List. You can clear this list by clicking the “Empty Auto-Complete List” button.

In the confirmation window, click “Yes” if you want to clear the list.

Remove Individual Entries From the Auto-Complete List

If you just want to remove a specific entry from the list but don’t want to remove the entire list, you can delete an entry right from the auto-complete list.  In the To or Cc field of an open message window, start typing the name you want to remove.  When the auto-complete entry pops up, click the “X” on the right-hand side (or hit your Delete key).

If you’ve been bugged in the past because Outlook suggests inaccurate names or names you don’t need anymore, it’s easy enough to clean them up.

Profile Photo for Rob Woodgate Rob Woodgate
Rob Woodgate is a writer and IT consultant with nearly 20 years of experience across the private and public sectors. He's also worked as a trainer, technical support person, delivery manager, system administrator, and in other roles that involve getting people and technology to work together.
Read Full Bio »