Why Is An SMTP Address Displayed on the “TO” Line for Some Addressee’s and Not Others in Outlook?

Ever wonder why some addressees in the “TO” line of an Outlook email show the actual email address next to the contact name, and others just show the contact name without an email address? Like this:

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It all has to do with where you originally chose the addressee from. If you chose them from your personal Outlook Contacts, it will show the contact display name as well as the email address. If you chose them from the Global Address List, it will just show the display name.

Here’s why… with an Outlook Contact, you can store up to three email addresses for each contact, so Outlook displays the email address you will be sending to (as specified in the “Display As” field, which is customizable for each stored email address). That way, you know if you’re sending to someone’s work, home, or super-secret email address.

If you chose a contact from the Global Address List though, you do not get a choice of which email address you want to send to. Since you cannot choose the address, it doesn’t bother showing you what it is.

From then on, AutoComplete remembers where the address was originally selected from. So even if the selected contact exists in both your Outlook Contacts and the Global Address List, the AutoComplete object will be displayed from the originally selected location.

Just another Microsoft Outlook behavioral quirk!

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About Rebecca Harness

Rebecca Harness is a Business Information Security Officer (BISO) for a publicly-traded, global information solutions company. As BISO, she champions security initiatives and recommends strategies to mitigate risk, facilitating innovation and new product development. She’s also responsible for representing the business unit’s security program in client facing engagements, conferences, and industry forums. Prior to her current role, she was an influential cybersecurity leader for one of the world’s largest transportation providers, known for transforming information security efforts into well-orchestrated programs. There, she developed an innovative methodology for delivering key information security priorities as a service model, leading to quicker adoption enterprise-wide while significantly reducing operational costs. She also led and modernized their global, multi-brand PCI Assessment and other compliance initiatives. In the early 2000’s, Rebecca developed one of St. Louis' leading Managed Services Providers from a startup in a spare bedroom into a mature consulting company with 30+ employees and 150+ clients in the Greater St. Louis Area. Rebecca holds many certifications, including; ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA); ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP); and GIAC Security Leadership Certified (GSLC). She’s also a proud alumni of Hastings College and a longtime member of the Society of American Magicians.

One Response to “Why Is An SMTP Address Displayed on the “TO” Line for Some Addressee’s and Not Others in Outlook?”

  1. Never thought about this before. Anyway good to know this. Thanks 🙂

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