Outlook: Delete Autocomplete Email Addresses

Even after you have corrected a wrong email address in your contacts, the old email will continue to bug you when outlook tries to autocomplete addresses for you.

Microsoft outlook stores any email address you type into the “To” field–wrong or right. For example, if I type in “mom@blag.com” instead of “mom@blah.com”, outlook will try to autocomplete the erroneous address into the email field. No matter where you try to correct this, the error email address will always be remembered.

Likewise, the bigger the cache of email addresses gets, the slower and more useless it becomes.

If you are lucky enough to trigger the autocompletion box, you can press the down arrow until the error email address is selected and then hit DELETE. Often, however, the autocompletion box will not be displayed. Microsoft has a work-around.

The easiest thing to do is to blitz the whole file. The file lives here where your-profile is unique to your installation: “C:\Documents and Settings\your-profile\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook”

Delete or rename all *.nk2 files at this location.

If you need a detailed, walk-through you can find it here:


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Susy

    To expand upon FYIGal’s reply (which I think is the simplest solution for the problem presented):

    I was able to remove a wrong email address from the autocomplete list by putting my cursor in the “TO” box; type the first letter(s) of the wrong nickname/email; use the arrow keys to scroll till the wrong item is selected (arrow keys will keep the drop down window open), then just press the delete button. This will remove that particular nickname/email address from the autocomplete list.

    • anil gola

      > thanks,
      its working and we can delete any wrong email id from outlook

      anil gola

    • Andrewct

      Brilliant – Thank you I have now cleared a huge number of unwanted and confusing addresses from the drop down boxes.>

    • Ray

      Your advice worked great. I was able to remove several names with much effort.

  • Jessi

    There is an easier way. When you start typing in the TO: box and the drop down list pops up with the possible email addresses, scroll down with your arrow keys, and once you are on the email address that is incorrect, hit your delete key. And voila! It deletes that email address.

    • Anonymous

      didnt work for me

    • Tomchase

      It only works until you reboot your system. Once you reboot, everything you deleted with the “work-around” is back!

    • Abhijeet Safai

      This trick helped me. Thanks a lot.

  • Anonymous

    when I,use out look for craigs list, email rejected because of an old contact. I,had in my address book has long been delited yet blocks me from using outlook to ciontact sellers on craigs list. email of deleted was,rBush5@tampabayjr.com

  • Anonymous

    Before I reinstalled Outlook 2007 I was able to delete a message by clicking on the X and continue reading the next message. Now, when I click on the X, the messages close taking me back to the message list. How do I correct this?


  • Sarah

    In Outlook 2007- simply hit delete when the old address comes up. nice ‘n easy.

  • wct

    I just discovered an easier way to delete a specific address in list without having to delete/rename the entire cache…

    1) Start to type the name in the โ€œtoโ€ box, enough so that the faulty address comes up.
    2) RIGHT click on the drop down box that shows the auto fill names

  • Anonymous

    This sounded too easy and it was…it didn’t work when I followed the walk-through description. No *.NK2 files were found.
    Any other ideas?

  • Anonymous

    You’re brilliant. Simplest way to rid a recipient that’s been autoadded to the “autocomplete” list. Thanks for the post.

  • Anonymous
  • Meg

    thanks! very helpful ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sauerfilho

    I have swaped Outlook express for Microsoft Outlook. Some ware in this process my contact list got lost in sub files. I am wondering if anyone knows of a way to scan ones computer for all email addresses contained there in and produce one single list and transfer it into outlook?
    Thanks Werner

  • Newbie

    If the old email keeps popping up, just hit Ctrl + K and the computer will bring up suggested email addresses to finish the email. Choose the right email address and the computer will remember this as the new email address, not the old email.

  • Bethenyjohnston

    Or you can just delete the mistake autocomplete entries by pushing the down or up arrow to select the wrong entry and pushing the delete button

  • Make Maxx

    Thank you very. It is much utile…

  • Kmack22

    fabulous! that works! simply start typing and when the incorrect autocomplete address shows up, press delete on your keyboard. I found that I then had to close that email without saving, and then start a new email and start typing the address I wanted and voila! it appeared correctly. thanks!

  • Thansk! One typo “down error” should be “down arrow” (key)

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Colin. Typo corrected.

      • You’re welcome! (BTW, it should be ‘erroneous email address’ (adjective) not ‘error email address’ (noun) ๐Ÿ™‚ )

        • Anonymous

          google “error email address” About 110,000,000 results (0.49 seconds)
          google “erroneous email address” About 448,000 results (0.20 seconds)

          I agree “erroneous” is more correct, and I’ll edit the post… but we have to write so people using google can find us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Don’t let my sorry excuses dissuade you from proofing more of our tutorials. I’ll be glad to edit posts all day. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Agreed. It’s hard to strike a balance between SEO for bots and TAO (target audience optimization) for humans. I lean toward the humans. Let the 20,000 Googlers figure out how to make their bot speak human. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Oh! BTW it’s not the number of search results that you should SEO for. It’s the monthly search volume. You can get that info from Google Keyword Tool if you have an AdWords account.

  • Jonathan

    Thank you for this thead i deleting of email address on autocomplete is very easy with this kind of forum. Thanks a lot.

  • Ed

    This is a great tip. I have wanted to get rid of these bad entries for a LONG time. it is too bad there is nothing in the Outlook help online about this. Thank you so much.

  • giri

    thank you,,

  • Arsal

    Thank you very much, It was giving a big trouble becuase there are same name for two different people. I just highlight the unwanted name and press delete, and it works

  • kelseyW

    very, very helpful! thx!

  • LStarrider

    If you need to save these files to Your Contacts just begin an email type the name and when it comes up in the “To:” box, right-click and on the Context Menu choose “Add to Oulook Contacts”.
    Then it is safe to delete the .NK2 file.

  • Salcalvert

    THANKS SO MUCH!! that has been bugging me for so long, I have one person in my address book that I always accidently use the wrong email for because of this stupid auto completing, and its just casued a big problem because she didnt get an important mail. It took me seconds to delete the wrong address with your instuctions, I wish Id known & done it a long time ago. Thanks again for your helpful post!

  • Capilot23


    I have Office 2010 and have the same problem with Outlook in Office 2010. Your VERY SIMPLE “trick”, Quickly and Easily removes the unwanted addresses.

    I then discovered that Outlook has taken and added email addresses from everywhere/anywhere that I have ever gotten an email from, including businesses, and “unsubscribe” lists.

    I found that typing in just the first letter of EVERY letter in the alphabet PLUS all numbers from 0 – 9 pulled up lists of these that I have NEVER used or NEVER SENT to, but only have received from. I used the same “trick” of Down Arrow to Highlight the UNWANTED address and pressed DELETE on the keyboard. Presto, like magic they are gone.

    I usually WAIT till Microsoft has put out at least one or two Service Packs before I EVER buy ANY of their products. Last year, in 2010, I did not wait, and bought Office 2010. What a ROYAL Pain in the behind it is.

    For example, Word Does NOT come with a button to Print or to Save. You have to find where they are hidden and CREATE your own “ribbon”.

    I can’t imagine ANYONE who uses word that would at some point Not want to print or save a document. Microsoft really makes it difficult to find where these features are, and then have to INSTALL them in a “ribbon”.

    Because in 2010, Office 2010 was new, there are VERY few books on it. I did find one, but it is geared for people who have never used ANY Office products. It is great if you don’t even know how to create a document, set margins, etc, BUT it does NOT have the information for something as simple as Print or Save.

    When will Bill Gates and Microsoft wake up??? I think NEVER.

    To put out a word processor program and not think people would want a single button each for Print OR Save, is beyond me.

  • Here is a free NK2 Cache Rebuild tool, works really well.

  • Pete

    So, how is this done if I use Outlook on a Mac? The delete options does not work.

  • Ct_fan

    I have outlook 2007. I dont see any *.nk2 files in my outlook subdirectory?? What am I doing wrong?

  • vinod james

    Thanks for your very important information. This save my Value able time

  • Sarah

    This “delete” feature works great…until I sign on the next day and all of my deleted names are back. Any ideas?

  • Marshal Hubs

    Hi Ct_fan,

    The utility should automatically detect the location of your *.nk2 folder, but if it doesnโ€™t then youโ€™ll find it at following location : %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Outlook. I hope this will solve your problem to locate *.nk2 files in outlook subdirectory. Once it done, kindly share your experience.

  • cb

    What it does not say here is that you need to hold down “control” while you are scrolling through that list in your Message TO field…. with that done, now you can hit delete and it will be deleted from the auto correct cache.

  • Mike

    Unfortunately, this is not a foolproof system of deleting unwanted/out of date addresses. I have one that, although replaced by an updated address, continues to override the new address. But I cannot find the incorrect one in the address list to delete it (again)! It’s lurking somewhere on my computer, but I’ve no idea where.
    Any ideas, please?

  • Donna

    Having these old email addresses that are not useful and popping up over and over ………was driving me crazy.
    I can’t believe how EZ this is. ONE STEP EZ ………… and I don’t have to go into my contacts or set rules. Or go to File or Edit or Help or Tools. They can be deleted in the TO: line of an email permanently. Who would think?????? It would be so EZ!!!!! Thank you so much.

  • rick

    How do I delete unwanted email addresses in the Autocomplete Cache on Outlook 2013 on an iMAC?

  • monde

    I want to know how cn I delete my email addres if I have forgot my password

  • V K Mahajan

    Whenever First letter of Email address is filled in new email, The Emil Addresses Box open but Close before I can chose one.

  • venn williams

    Thats great but I have microsoft outlook for Mac.
    how do I delete unwanted e maii addresses that auto complete