Changing Sort Order of the Outlook Select Names Dialog

Organize the select names dialog box however you like

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When you create a new email message in Outlook and select the To field or select the To button, a list of contacts displays. This list is sorted alphabetically by the first name and then by the last name. If you'd rather sort the list by the last name followed by the first name, change it.

Information in this article applies to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; and Outlook for Microsoft 365.

Change the Sort Order of the 'Select Names' Dialog in Outlook

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

  1. Go to the File tab and select Info.

  2. Select Account SettingsAccount Settings.

    Screenshot of Account Settings in the Outlook menu
  3. Go to the Address Books tab, choose Outlook Address Book, then select Change.

    Screenshot of selecting Outlook Address Book in Account Settings
  4. In the Outlook Address Books section, select the address book that you want to change the contact display format.

  5. In the Show names by section, select File As (Smith, John).

    Screenshot of changing contact list sort by File As
  6. Select Close.

  7. In the Account Settings dialog box, select Close.

  8. Exit and restart Outlook.

  9. Create a new email message and select the To field.

    Screenshot of a sorted contact list in Outlook
  10. The contacts are sorted in the order you selected.

Sort Your Contacts List

To change how contacts are sorted in your Contacts List:

  1. Select the People icon in the lower left corner of the Outlook window to open your Contacts list.

    Screenshot of the People icon in Outlook
  2. Go to the Home tab and, in the Current View group, select List.

    Screenshot of List view in the Contacts list
  3. Select the column header for the column you want to sort.

    Screenshot of sorting items in the Contacts list
  4. Sorting your contacts list makes it much more helpful to find individual contacts.

Format Individual Contact Names

In the Contacts list, if individual names aren't formatted the way you like, modify the formatting.

To format individual contacts:

  1. In the Contacts list, double-click the contact you want to format.

    Screenshot of selecting a contact in the Contact List
  2. On the Contact page, select the File as drop-down arrow and choose how the contact name should be displayed.

    Screenshot of selecting the File as format in Outlook
  3. Select Save & Close.

  4. The contact is formatted the way you've selected in the File As field.

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