Changing Sort Order of the Outlook Select Names Dialog

Step-By-Step instructions

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Unfortunately, Outlook is not flexible when it comes to sorting names — at least not in the Select Names dialog that comes up when you click the To: button whilst composing a message, for example.

Outlook is not very flexible, but you do have some options: two options. You can sort alphabetically by first and then last name or by the "file as" format, which is last name followed by first name.

Change the Sort Order of the "Select Names" Dialog in Outlook 2016, 2013, and 2010

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
  3. On the Address Books tab, in the Name list, click Outlook Address Book, and then click Change.
  4. Under Outlook Address Books, click the address book that you want to change the contact display format for. For example, click Contacts: Mailbox – Mailbox name.
  5. Under Show names by, click File As (Smith, John).
  6. Click Close in the Microsoft Outlook Address Book and Account Settings dialog boxes.
  7. Exit and restart Outlook.

Change the Sort Order of the "Select Names" Dialog in Outlook 2007 and 2003

To change how contacts are sorted in Outlook's Select Names dialog:

  • In Outlook 2007:
    • Select Tools > Account Settings... from the menu.
    • Go to the Address Books tab.
  • In Outlook 2003:
    • Select Tools > E-mail Accounts... from the menu in Outlook.
    • Make sure View or change existing directories or address books is selected.
    • Click Next >.
  • Highlight the desired address book.
  • Click Change....
  • Select the desired sort order (First Last or File As) under Show names by.
  • Click Close.
  • Click Finish.