Resolve duplicate contacts

If you save a contact (contact: Person, inside or outside of your organization, about whom you can save several types of information, such as street and e-mail addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and Web page URLs.) with the same name or e-mail name as one that already exists in your Contacts folder, Microsoft Outlook will display a dialog box that allows you to either add the new contact or update your existing contact with the new information from the new contact.

ShowAdd this as a new contact

The new contact will be added to your Contacts folder. So, for example, if you made a contact with the name Judy Lew, and you already had a contact with that name, you would have two contacts named Judy Lew. To distinguish between the two you might want to add a middle initial to one.

ShowUpdate new information from this contact to the existing one

Outlook will compare all the fields with data in them and copy the data from the new contact into any fields that have conflicting data. For example, if you have a contact named Judy Lew with the phone number 555-0112, and you get a contact with a new phone number, Outlook will copy the new number into the old contact and leave all the other fields the same.

Any categories you’ve assigned, and any text in the message box from the new contact, will not be copied into the existing contact. If you want to copy these fields from a new contact into an existing contact, you will have to copy them manually. Certificates (certificate: A digital means of proving your identity. When you send a digitally signed message you are sending your certificate and public key. Certificates are issued by a certification authority, and like a driver's license, can expire or be revoked.) and links to contacts on the Activities tab will be copied from the new contact and added to the existing contact without replacing the original information. Links on the Activities tab to items other than contacts, such as to tasks and appointments, will not be copied.

In case you need to revert to the information in the original contact, a copy of the original contact is stored in your Deleted Items folder whenever Outlook copies new data.

 Note   If you are saving many contacts to Outlook, Outlook can save the information faster if you do not use duplicate detection. To turn this feature off, do the following:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click Contact Options, and then clear the Check for duplicate contacts check box.
Applies to:
Outlook 2003