Contacts in Exchange address books are unavailable when composing a message in Outlook 365

Occasional Contributor

My customer has purchased a contract for Microsoft Exchange from their ISP. We successfully added two Exchange accounts to a single Outlook 365 profile. When we click on Contacts, we see two address books, one for each Exchange account, and contacts are present in each. However, when a new message is composed and the To: field is clicked, none of the contacts is available. I've looked for documentation about configuration of Exchange address books in Outlook 365, but it's sparse and obsolete.

What are the steps to correctly configure Exchange address books for use in Outlook 365?

21 Replies

It should work by default! Please recreate the profile and try after adding the first account..




But it doesn't work by default. The Exchange accounts were deleted and re-added, to no effect. The Exchange accounts were deleted, the profile was deleted, a new one was created, and the Exchange accounts were re-added, but that had no effect, either. That's why I'm posting here.


Could the problem be related to the use of two Exchange accounts in the same Outlook profile?

What kind of things do you see if you Click the “to” button? Do you only see the offline address books?
You didn’t check before adding the second account?

FOA, thanks for your quick replies and your diligence.


We see three address books. Two of them, AFAICT, are the Exchange address books, but clicking on them shows nothing, so I can't be sure. (Unless there's some distinction in the presentation of the name that I ignore.) One of them must be offline, but we don't see that address book under Contacts. Very confusing for the client and just as confusing for me. IAC, when my customer tries to find someone after clicking in the To: field, no one in the address book can be found. (I'm there, but typing "aronoff" retrieves nothing.)


No, I did not check the address book behavior before adding the second Exchange account. I did not expect this problem in mature MS products. Besides, my customer requires both Exchange accounts in the profile. Am I supposed to tell this customer that it can be done but address book info won't be available?

It should work with 2 accounts! Just trying to troubleshoot :)
Do you mean clicking in the “to address” field or clicking on the to button itself?

Either way. If we click in the To: field and type a name in one of the address books, nothing is retrieved. If we click the To: button, we see three address book names, but clicking on any of the address book names shows no contents.

Ok! The address bar uses a history feature retrieving contacts you have already sent mails to, so if it is a new setup, nothing will show!
That the lists are not populated though seems strange! They were populated when you look at them on other places right?
Will you take screenshots of the lists populated and from send message where they are empty?
Also please log into and try from there!

I can certainly take screen shots, but my remote access to that customer's PC will not be available until next week.


BTW, it was very hard to add the Exchange accounts to the profile. We had problems with "Your mailbox has been temporarily moved to Microsoft Exchange server" (MSKB 3197025), a message that started for unknown reasons and persisted. The account was deleted and re-added, when I saw incessant requests for the account password. The password would be pasted from Notepad into the password field again and again. After three or four times, I'd cancel the login request and the account would behave normally to send and receive.


According to my customer, the contacts were unavailable during message composition from the beginning.


FYI, if I log into the web interface (via mail.domainname.tld), the account''s contacts are available in each account.

I think this should be discussed with the ISP or the company that handles their exchange online! Seems there could be problems maybe with their autodiscover record or something! But please try(or the customer) to login from the browser and test!

I Also recommend posting this or link to this thread in the exchange forum!


I tried contacting the ISP, but as soon as "Exchange" is mentioned, they refuse all responsibility and hang up.


I can certainly post in the Exchange forum, but I'm not responsible for the configuration of Exchange, so I won't be able to answer many questions.


Yes, we tried online and in each account, the contacts for that account are available and behave as expected during message composition. However, my customer prefers Outlook 365.

Hmm, they are responsible for it and don’t care? Sounds great!

Sounds good though it works from OWA

Try do a repair and or see if there is any updates for office

If a delete/re-create of the profile didn't work, a repair is futile. The problem has existed for months (since the Exchange accounts were first installed in May 2018), so the next product update is also futile. I'd really like to identify the source of the problem, as in "Yeah, we've seen this when [that] was improperly configured in the [such-and-such] interface." I suspect this is due to two Exchange accounts in the same Outlook 365 profile. It'd be great if someone could chime in with "We have two (or more) Exchange accounts in the same Outlook 365 profile and we have no problem getting to contact information in the new message window."


I'll post the screenshots early next week and then add this to the Exchange forum.


I need to mention that the Office 365 installs are in French.


I've attached three screenshots:


The first shows the two Exchange address books visible in Contacts. I've blacked out all the names except my own. The contact lists are sparse, since the names aren't accessible when composing new messages, which inhibits their use.


The second shows what (isn't) displayed when clicking on New message | To:.


The third shows what (isn't) displayed when I search for my name, which we know is in one of the Contact lists.


It's worth noting that the Contact list is shown as "updating", but there are so few contacts that the updating is a symptom of the problem.


I checked another PC using Outlook 365 with a single Exchange account. The contacts are not usable there, either, so my suspicion that it was two Exchange accounts that was contributing to the problem was wrong.


I would appreciate any and all comments and suggestions.


TIA and regards.


It looks like the first image is you local contacts! If you click the address book (carnet d adresses ) up in the right corner here and from there choose the global address list - it should be empty. Correct? If you from the "TO" window in the compose message section select another address list you'll probably see the contacts from  the first pictureSkärmklipp.PNG


Also please recap your setup: have you migrated any accounts from exchange on-prem or exchange online only?




In the To: message window, all the address books are empty. I do not understand why my name wouldn't be found, since we know that my name is in one of the address books.


The Exchange accounts were migrated from 3 GB "basic" accounts provided by the ISP by default.


Please let me know if you would like answers to any other questions you might have.


Go back to contacts (first screen) and select a few and see if they have any mailaddress or just maybe a phone number?