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Picking Which Outlook Address to Use in Word

Outlook is designed as a part of the Office suite, and is therefore designed to be used in close concert with Word. At times, however, getting Outlook to work intuitively with Word can be something of a challenge.

Consider the situation where you may want to use the Outlook address book to insert home addresses into a Word document. If you are using the Address Book toolbar button to insert the addresses, both Word and Outlook use what many consider to be a non-intuitive set of guidelines to determine which address is actually inserted in Word. To understand why (and how you can use the address you really want), let's start by recapping a bit on the Outlook side of things.

Contacts in Outlook can have three addresses: 'Business,' 'Home,' or 'Other.' When looking at the contact's details on the General tab on a Contact form in Outlook, there is one multi-line address box displaying one of the addresses. The way to see the other addresses is via the drop-down list/choice button next to the address box--the one that denotes whether the address is 'Business,' 'Home,' or 'Other.'

There is also a check box labeled "This is the mailing address." This check box indicates which of the three addresses is the 'Mailing Address.' If the Business Address is ticked, then the tick will disappear when displaying the home address, but reappear when going back to display the business address again. It's a bit confusing I know, but... Anyway, the thing to do here is to either make sure the tick shows for whichever of the contact's addresses you are likely to use most or (and I think this is better) make sure the business address is ticked rather than any of the others. You'll shortly see why I think the latter, but for now I should point out that ticking any address doesn't stop Word being able to access others. It just sets the default. But it is important to set one of them because of a relatively minor bug in the software.

Okay, lets turn to Word. Clicking on the Address Book button on the toolbar in Word brings up the Select Names dialog box. In the Select Names dialog box, set the 'Show Names From' drop-down list to "Contacts" (the sub choice under Outlook Address Book).

Now the interesting bit. A set of radio buttons will magically appear under the drop-down list and they will be labeled 'Mailing,' 'Home,' and 'Other.' And, yes, 'Mailing' means the contact's address that was ticked to be the Mailing Address, 'Home' is the same as the contact's 'Home' address in Outlook and 'Other' is the same as the contact's 'Other' address in Outlook. Now it should be fairly obvious why I suggested ticking the Business address as the Mailing Address--otherwise it's not an available choice from this Select Names dialog box! (I know, I know. Don't get me started about software design and planning--we'll be here all day!). Suffice it to say, choose the address type that is required for inserting into Word, find the contact's name in the list and click OK. The requested address should be inserted into Word--assuming an address of that type exists for that contact, of course.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (913) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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Comments for this tip:

Dean Zack    16 Jan 2013, 11:40
What do you do though regarding the company name field, is there a way to tell word to insert the company name only if the Business Address radio button is checked? That is one of the biggest oversights in mail merge label developement I can think of. It seems as though you can only include or not include company name in the address label regardless of whether the default mailing address is business or home.

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