Change default address list in Outlook on the Web (OWA)

In one of your previous tips, you mentioned how to set your private Contacts folder as the default when selecting the Address Book instead of showing the Global Address List first.

When I’m away from the office, I’m forced to use Outlook Web Access instead of being able to use Outlook.

Is there any way I can make this change in Outlook on the Web as well?

Address Book buttonWhile it was possible to set a default Address List in previous versions of Outlook on the Web (OWA), this in no longer possible in any of the recent versions.

In part, this is most likely due to the fact that they’ve made improvements to how names were resolved in Outlook on the Web.

Another justification that is often the case for the removal of a feature in a new design, is that it was rarely used relatively expensive to re-implement.

OWA on Exchange 2010

Exchange 2010 buttonOpening the Address Book in OWA 2010 will show the Global Address List first. While you can’t change this, you can switch the name resolution order which by default is set to your Contacts folder.

  1. Press the Options button in the right top corner (below your name) and choose: See All Options…
  2. In the pane on the left click on “Settings”.
  3. From the icons at the top, click on “General”.
  4. Set the “When resolving names, check first in:” option to Contacts.

OWA on Exchange 2013

Exchange 2013 buttonWhen you use OWA 2013, opening the Address Book will show “My Contacts” first. You can’t change this default, and it might not even be directly clear how to switch between Address Lists at all.

Setting a name resolution preference is also not possible in OWA 2013 and it will always try to resolve against your Contacts folder first before trying to resolve the name against the Global Address List.

Outlook on the Web 2016, 2019, Microsoft 365 Exchange Online and

Outlook on the Web buttonSimilarly to OWA 2013, Outlook on the Web will default to your own Contacts folder and you can’t change this default.

The discoverability of and method to switch between Address Lists hasn’t changed much either, especially for Exchange 2016 and Exchange 2019.

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