"An Outlook Address Book entry cannot be used as an e-mail address in a contact."


Um, yeah. It’s almost impossible to figure out what this means. I was trying to move an email address in an existing contact in Outlook 2010 from the E-mail slot to the E-mail 2 slot  and this gem popped up when I tried to paste it.

Turning to Bing, nothing of any use.Google, much the same. However, I found questions on this at least back to 2004 with Outlook 2003. So what’s going on?

Well, I have no idea, really, but here’s the fix that worked for me. First, I copied the existing email address from the E-mail slot into the Notes field for safekeeping. Then I updated the E-mail slot with the new email address I wanted to add and saved the contact. Next I opened the contact up again, copied the old email address out of the Notes field and pasted it into the E-mail 2 slot. This time I was allowed to past the old email address in.

I tried all sorts of variations on this, and what I described above was the only one that worked, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some smarter way around it. Frankly, I’m not sure why it works, but it does.

Another one for the “I just wasted a bunch of time so you don’t have to” bucket.


  1. So… I just had this issue and found that the a contact had been created (at some point) in the Suggested Contacts with the email address I was trying to use for the contact in my normal contact list. The person was at an acquired company and when I tried to update their email address I kept getting this error. I deleted the contact and re-created it and that didn’t work. Then I went and searched other contact folders for the same contact. I found the individual in my Suggested Contacts with only the email address filled in – and it was the one I was trying to use. I moved that contact to the normal Contact folder and repopulated the information and everything worked.

    Very annoying issue… (and only time I’ve ever seen it).

  2. Saw the same issue here. When creating a new Business Contact Manager contact any e-mail address in the Suggested Contact folder caused this error. You can turn off Suggested Contacts in the Options menu under contacts in Outlook 2010 – simply uncheck “Automatically create Outlook contacts for recipients that do not belong to an Outlook Address Book”.

  3. I had the same issue. I figured out this was due to the same email address being already populated in a contact in another folder (in my case the “Linkedin” folder).
    Not really sure how to solve this once and forever as probably the linkedin folder will keep repopulating itself from the site.

  4. I intially fixed with a variation of Marc’s original post. But it didn’t work straight away. However, I did find it does have somethng to do with the “Suggested Contacts” like Chris Archibold said. I found my problem email address in that list and deleted it. Afterwards I had no further problems with the display or adding of that address. Thanks to you all.

  5. Found that the problem is because the email address is in use by another contact in ‘Suggested contacts’. After deleting this system created contact the problem disapeared. q.e.d.


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