How to Share Contacts Between Outlook and Outlook Express

#Sharing: Friday night pizza
Sharing contacts between Outlook and Outlook Express was not like sharing a pizza (I do hope). © Jeremy Segrott; CC BY 2.0 license
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In Outlook 2000, it was possible to share contacts with Outlook Express.

Two Email Programs, One Set of Contacts

While Outlook and Outlook Express are entirely different email programs, they can share one important thing: the contacts in their address books. Find out here how to set this up.

Sharing Outlook 2000 Contacts

To share Outlook and Outlook Express address book data:

  1. Launch Outlook Express.
  2. Select Tools | Address Book... from the menu.
  1. In the address book, choose Tools | Options… from the menu.
  2. Make sure Share contact information among Microsoft Outlook and other applications. is selected.
  3. Click OK.

If you share contacts between Outlook and Outlook Express, Outlook Express uses the same address book source as Outlook. That means that updates you make to your Outlook Express address book while contacts are not shared do not automatically show up in your Outlook address book (or the Outlook Express address book shared with Outlook).

Sharing Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003 Contacts

While Outlook 2000 in workgroup mode as well as Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003 do not support the above method of sharing contacts via the user interface, you can try a simple registry hack:

  1. Make a backup copy of your Windows registry.
  2. If you closed it, open the registry editor again.
  3. Go to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\­Software\­Microsoft\­WAB\­WAB4 key.
  4. Select Edit | New | DWORD Value from the menu.
  1. Type "UseOutlook".
  2. Hit Enter.
  3. Double-click the newly created UseOutlook key.
  4. Type "1" under Value data:.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Close the registry editor and restart Outlook and Outlook Express.

Outlook 2007 and Later

Unfortunately, Outlook 2007 and later versions do not offer a similar link to the Outlook Express address book.

You can always synchronize both lists with a third, say the Outlook.com address book or Gmail Contacts.

(Updated October 2015)