The Address List Cannot Be Displayed in Outlook (Fix)

The address list stops displaying in Outlook because of corrupted Address Book, sync issues in cached mode, corrupted Autocomplete List, corrupted PST file, corrupted Office/Outlook installation, wrongly configured user profile and non-encryption of data between Exchange Server and Outlook. This is a very common problem which is usually solved through several simple steps.

Address List Cannot Be Displayed Error In Outlook

What Causes the Address List Cannot Be Displayed Error in Outlook?

  • Corrupted Address Book: Outlook uses data stored in a locally saved copy of the address book to display the address list. If your address book is corrupted, then it can force Outlook to show the current error message.
  • Sync Issues in Cached Mode: In the Cached connection mode, Outlook keeps an offline copy of the user’s data. If that offline copy, conflicts with the online version or is having sync issues with the online server then, it can cause the current Outlook error.
  • Corrupted Autocomplete List: Autocomplete list is quite a useful function of address book but if it gets corrupted or conflicts with other Outlook modules, then it can cause the address list issue in Outlook.
  • Corrupted PST file: PST file is the backbone of Outlook communications and if it gets corrupted then it can force Outlook not to show the current address list.
  • Corrupted Office/Outlook Installation: If Office/Outlook installation itself gets corrupt, then it can cause Outlook not to show the list.
  • Wrongly Configured User Profile: If the user profile is wrongly configured then Outlook cannot perform its legitimate operations which includes displaying and retrieving the address list.
  • Non-encryption Between Exchange Server & Outlook: Outlook uses encryption for communication between Exchange Server and Outlook and if that encryption is not enabled then it can cause Outlook to have problems in displaying the address list.

Things to Consider Before Trying the Solutions:

Before trying the solutions, use the same user profile on another computer and if the problem reappears on that 2nd computer then contact your Organization’s IT Administrator.

How to Fix Address Book not Displaying in Outlook?

1: Use Online Mode of Outlook

Outlook uses Online Mode or Cached Mode to connect with an Exchange Server. In the cached mode, Outlook keeps a copy of the user’s data locally. So, if Outlook is having trouble with Address List in the cached mode then it can force Outlook into the address list cannot be displayed error. In that case, changing the connection mode from Cached to Online may solve the problem.

  1. Launch Outlook and click on the File tab.
  2. Now in the right pane of windows, click on the Account Settings and in the list displayed, click on Account Settings.
    Open Account Settings of Outlook
  3. Now in the Email tab, click on Change after selecting your account.
    Change Email Account Settings
  4. Now click on More Settings.
    Open More Settings of Outlook
  5. Click on the Advanced tab and then Uncheck the option “Use Cached Exchange Mode”.
    Uncheck Cached Mode in Outlook
  6. Click Apply and then click Ok.
  7. Now restart Outlook and check if it is operating without any problem.

2: Repair the PST File

When you perform Send/Receive in Outlook, Outlook then uses the user’s folders to fetch out the required data. Outlook uses the “.pst” file for this purpose. If the .pst file is corrupt, then you may experience problems with your address book. Microsoft has a built-in utility “SCANPST.EXE” that can fix .pst file and thus may solve the problem.

  1. Exit Outlook.
  2. Press the Windows button and then in the search box type Outlook and then in the resulting list, Right-click on Outlook and then click on “Open File Location”.
    Open Outlook Startup Shortcut Location
  3. The following folder will be opened that contains shortcuts of programs.
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

    In this folder, Right-click on the Outlook shortcut icon and then again click on the “Open File Location”.

    Open Outlook File Location
  4. The following folder will be opened.
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  5. Now in this Office folder, locate SCANPST.EXE file and then right-click on it and then click on “Run as Administrator”.
    Run ScanPST as Administrator
  6. Press the Browse button in Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair.
    Browse to Corrupted PST File in ScanPST
  7. Then select the PST file. (Location of the PST file is explained after solution’s steps).
  8. Now Click on the Start button to initiate scanning of the PST file.
  9. If prompted, then click on Repair to fix the issues with the file.
  10. Restart Outlook and check if it has started to operate without any problem.

The location of the .pst file depends on various things like version of Outlook, version of Windows, and how the user’s account was set up. Following are the default locations of the PST file as per the Windows version:

  • Windows 10
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
drive:\Users\<username>\Roaming\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Older Windows Version
drive:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Now after repairing the PST file check if Outlook Address Book has started to work normally.

3: Enable Encryption of Data Between Exchange Server & Outlook

If the Data traffic between Exchange Server and Outlook is not encrypted, Outlook might not grant access to the address book module to display the information anywhere. In that case, enabling encryption between the Exchange Server and Outlook may solve the problem.

  1. Open Outlook and then click on the File tab.
  2. Now in the right pane of the window, click on Account Settings and then in the drop-down list again click on Account Settings.
    Open Account Settings of Outlook
  3. Then in the Email tab, click on user account and click on Change.
    Change Email Account Settings
  4. Now click on More Settings.
    Open More Settings of Outlook
  5. Now click on the Security tab and then check Encrypt Data Between Microsoft Outlook And Microsoft Exchange is checked.
    Enable Encrypt Data Between Microsoft Outlook & Microsoft Exchange
  6. Restart Outlook and check if Outlook Address Book has started to function properly.

4: Empty the Autocomplete List

Outlook saves every address a user enters in the To, Cc, & Bcc fields of an email message. Then, when a user enters the first few letters of an email address, Outlook automatically suggests matching contacts. If this autocomplete list is corrupt, then it can force Outlook to display the error message. In that case, emptying the Autocomplete List may solve the problem.

  1. Click on the File tab and then in the left pane of the window, click on the Options.
  2. Now in the Outlook Options, select the Mail.

    Open Outlook Options
  3. Then in the Send messages section, click on Empty Auto-Complete List.
    Empty Auto-Complete List
  4. In the confirmation dialogue box, select Yes.
  5. Now restart Outlook and check if Outlook Address Book is functioning normally.

5: Repair Office/ Outlook

If Microsoft Office/Outlook installations themselves are corrupt, a lot of the modules might cease to work properly. Running the Microsoft Office built-in repair tool will clear out any problems with the Office installation and thus may solve the problem.

  1. Click on the Windows button and then type Control Panel and in the resulting list, click on Control Panel.
    Open Control Panel
  2. Click Programs.
    Open Programs in Control Panel
  3. Now click on Programs and Features.

    Open Programs and Features
  4. Click the Office suite that you want to repair, then click Change.
    Change the Office Installation in Programs and Features
  5. If UAC prompts, click yes.
  6. Then select Quick Repair and click on Ok.
    Quick Repair of Office
  7. Click Repair, and then click Continue.
  8. After completion of the repair process, restart your computer. And check if Outlook Address Book has started to function normally.
  9. If not, then repeat step-1 to step-5.
  10. This time select Online Repair and then click on Ok.

    Online Repair of Office
  11. Now click Repair and afterwards, click Continue.
  12. After completion of the repair process, restart your system and check if Outlook Address Book is operating fine.

Note: This will repair the whole Office suite even if you want to repair just Outlook. If you are using a standalone version of Excel, then in the control panel, search for Outlook by name and repair it by following the steps mentioned above.

6: Remove Address Book and Then Add it Back

The Address Book sync issue between the server and Outlook client can cause Outlook to display the error message. Also, a corrupted address book causes this issue. In that case, removing the Address Book and adding it back may solve the problem.

  1. Launch Outlook and then click on the File
  2. Click on the Account Settings and then in the drop-down list, click on Account Settings.
    Open Account Settings of Outlook
  3. Click on the Address Books tab.
  4. Now select your current Address Book and click on Change.
    Change Address Book
  5. Now in the Address Book window, click on Remove the Address Book.
    Remove Address Book

Note: If you do not see the Outlook Address Book option, start directly from step 7.

  1. Click Yes when asked to confirm the removal.
  2. Now in the Address Book tab, click New.
    Add New Address Book
  3. Click Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
    Select Additional Address Books
  4. Now select Outlook Address Book type and click Next. If you are using another type then select that type.
    Select Outlook Address Book
  5. Click OK when prompted to restart.
  6. Click Finish.
  7. Restart Outlook.
  8. Now in the Folder list, right-click the folder that will be used with the address book for example Contacts folder and then click on the Properties.
  9. Click the Outlook Address Book
  10. Check the checkbox next to Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book (if already not selected), and afterwards, click OK.
    Enable Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book
  11. Restart Outlook and check if Outlook Address Book has started to function properly.

Important: Re-adding your contacts can be real tiresome work especially if the address list you were using was a large one. Also, several email addresses might be lost.

7: Delete Offline Address Books Folder Contents

Outlook uses the Offline Address Books folder to fetch out an address book. If due to a sync error there are conflicting entries in the folder, then it can cause the address list not to be displayed. In that case, deleting the Offline copy of Address Book Folder contents may solve the problem.

  1. Exit Outlook.
  2. Press Windows+E to open File Explorer and enter the following address in it.
    C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\Offline Address Books
    Open Offline Address Books Folder
  3. Press Ctrl+A to select all the contents of the folder and then press Shift+Delete to delete all the contents.
  4. Now launch Outlook and check if Outlook has started to operate fine.

Solution 8: Delete the User Profile and Create a New One

The Address List cannot be displayed error in Outlook could be the result of the wrong configuration of user profile or a corrupted user profile. In that case, deleting the one being used and adding a new one may solve the problem. Keep in mind that this step completely deletes your Outlook profile, and you have to create a new one and reconfigure your connection.

  1. Press the Windows key and type Control Panel then in the resulting list click on Control Panel.

    Open Control Panel
  2. Near the top right corner, click on Category and then click on Large Icons.

    Switch to Large Icons View
  3. Now click on Mail.

    Open Mail in Control Panel
  4. Now in Mail Setup, click on Show Profiles.
    Show Profiles in Mail Setup
  5. Now select Outlook profile and then click on Remove to delete that profile.
    Remove Outlook Profile
  6. Then add a new profile.
  7. After the new profile is added and configured, launch Outlook.

Last Words:

Hopefully, you can use Outlook without any problem. But if you are still having the issue then use Outlook Web App (OWA).

Keep visiting us for new tips and tricks!

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

The Address List Cannot Be Displayed in Outlook (Fix)

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