Generating An Empty Global Address List By Default

Brass Contributor

Good afternoon,


Is it possible to generate or update Exchange Online's default address lists for all users in a tenant to be completely empty without generating new lists and address books and assigning them to mailboxes?


We are looking for a method to automatically provide empty address lists to all users across the board without setting the user's mailbox to hidden from GAL or assigning an address book policy.


Best regards,



8 Replies

Hi @CSU_Scott 

did you tried to create address list with unmatched filter type and set it as primary.



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We have empty address lists. I don't see a way to set the address book policy as the default despite get-addressbookpolicy having a setting for IsDefault. I don't get an option in set-addressbookpolicy to make it the default address book policy in Exchange Online.

Best regards,

Thought I would see if anyone else wants to take a shot at a solution?

Hi @CSU_Scott 

I think that, for what you're trying to do, the only way is with empty recipientfilters, ( or filter combination with no matches ), in PS. Didn't tested it, but should work. For your reference working with recipient filters: Customizing Address Lists and Address Book Policies in Office 365 | Andrew Morris, MCSE (wordpress.c...


Hope this helps or that finally you achieve your goal.


Have a good day.

Thank you @FcoManigrasso
We have gone down that path, but what we need is all users to be automatically without any address book without assigning an address book policy. We need to make an empty address book the default policy so we don't have to assign it via a PowerShell script post launch.

Best regards,


Hi @CSU_Scott,

In that case, I guess  the only solution for your scenarion are the Information barrier policies.

"If your organization is in single or multi-segment mode, information barriers is no longer based on Exchange Online Address Book Policies (ABPs). Organizations using ABPs will not have any impact to the existing ABPs when enabling information barriers. If there's no ABP defined for users with associated IB segments and policies, an ABP is automatically created with empty address lists for these users. You can change these ABPs as needed. We recommend that your ABPs are consistent with the segments you configure in information barriers. You should try to avoid user visibility differences between your existing ABPs and your new information barriers configuration."


Learn about information barriers - Microsoft Purview (compliance) | Microsoft Learn


I like this too. As I read through it, I don't think I can do that. The goal is to not publish the data in the Address Lists by default. They should be allowed to communicate with each other if the users are aware of each other. We want to minimize the publishing of their information while allowing them to communicate as needed.

What about setting all of the existing address lists to Null? Anyone aware of ramifications of doing this?

Hi @CSU_Scott,

Unfortunately that's something that I never tested. 

Let's see if someone else in the Community had to deal with such scenarios. If I can get some time next week I'll test it in a development tenant.