Using the Address Book

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 8, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Rory Hamblin wrote recently with a problem and question concerning the address book in Word. When he chose Envelopes and Labels from the Tools menu, and then clicked on the address book icon, Rory would get an error message concerning the MAPI library.

For Word to use an external address book via the Address Book button (such as the one on the Envelopes and Labels dialog box), it needs to access one that is used by a MAPI application (such as Outlook or Schedule+ or the old PAB from Windows Messaging). Word also needs the DLLs that help it read those types of address books.

The error message is popping up because something is not right in the installation of the program responsible for the MAPI library. What program is that? More often than not, it is the e-mail program used on the system. Thus, there are two installation-related actions that can be taken. First, re-install Outlook, Schedule+, or whatever mail program you are using. Second, make sure the optional "Address Book" component of Word is installed. Both of these actions can be taken by again running the setup programs for the applications.

If you are using Outlook Express (in contrast to Outlook), you should understand that the address book it uses cannot be used by Word--even though Outlook Express will work just fine as the e-mail program accessed by Word when you click on Send Mail. Of course, this doesn't stop Word from trying to use Outlook Express' address book, particularly if you are using an older version of Outlook Express. If you use an older version of Outlook Express you can try these steps to see if it fixes the problem:

  1. In Outlook Express, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Make sure the General tab is displayed.
  3. Clear the Make Outlook Express My Default Simple MAPI Client check box.
  4. Click OK.

If you don't see the check box mentioned in step 3, don't worry about it--your version of Outlook Express is probably not old enough to exhibit this address book problem.

Finally, it is possible that if you aren't using a Microsoft-provided e-mail client, that your third-party software is providing it's own MAPI DLL that is incompatible with Word. If this is the case, there is no way around the problem other than to talk with the tech support people that make the e-mail program. (That, or you can ditch the third-party program and use one of those from Microsoft.)

So where are the addresses stored that are accessed through the Address Book button? They are stored in the MAPI-based application's address book; they are not stored in Word. If a Word-based solution is desired, there is another way to have addresses stored for repeated recall and use. This involves installing the Letter Templates & Wizard option. (Again, if it is not already installed, you need to re-run Setup and use the Add/Remove mode.) With this option installed, you can use the letter wizard to create a letter. Creation via the wizard involves inputting (or selecting previously entered) addresses for use in the letter. These addresses are stored in Normal.Dot as AutoText entries under the name of the addressee.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (899) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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