Contacts in O365 have changed??

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New Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 64 bit
Email Account
Exchange Server
My laptop crashed last week and I am now using a second account on my wife's machine until my new one arrives. We use Exchange email accounts so all my contacts remain intact and life is good. The new instance of Office in my new user account generally looks the same but something is up with Outlook contacts. I am not sure if this is the right terminology but typically when I open an Outlook contact a window opens and it is editable... I tend to attach photos to most of my contacts which are plainly visible and I can jump right and make any changes. It feels like what I know as an Outlook form.

In this new instance of Outlook, when I open a contact I get something more akin to a mini web page... Nothing is editable unless I click on the ellipsis (...) under the contact name. It then opens to the familiar editable Outlook form. Oddly, Outlook continues to perform in the traditional fashion on in my wife's account on the same machine. For clarity, I have attached a couple of pictures showing the difference.

Is there a setting somewhere I can change to revert back to the good old days?

Thanks very much!



Hi Warren… Thanks very much. Unfortunately, I am in Business Card view. When I enter a name in the search box while in the email tab the new look & feel opens… If I move over to the people tab, all my contacts appear in the business card view and when I click on one the traditional form opens. I found the edit option when clicking on the ellipses but that’s just another step I’d prefer to avoid if possible.
Sorry... Diane. :) I was staring at Warren's name. :)
When you use search to find the contact, are you getting the People view? I get the people view, but I may have changed it because I hate the People view.

But that shouldn't matter - double clicking on the contact should open the good form.

Hi Diane,
Thanks for following up. When I initiate a search from the email screen it opens the people view... I hate the people view too. When I double click on a contact on the people screen it opens the familiar form. See the attached pics... I can't find any settings to flip or any reference to this being a new problem after some Google searching.

Thanks so much for your help.


Ah... Search people not searching in contacts. Yeah, Search people brings up the contact card - this was changed in either outlook 2013 or 2016, when they changed the results format and started including the autocomplete cache in the results. You need to use the Edit button to access the contact. I have a registry key that might fix it, but it breaks other features.


If the entry is only in the autocomplete cache (which now includes addresses who recently sent you mail), it will look like this:
Hi Diane,

Thanks for following up... Its so strange. Again, I am using Outlook 365 and have been for almost 5 years. Before my machine crashed last week, it was working as expected. I am now using my wife's old machine (we bought her a new one when my machine crashed) and when I am in her account it works as expected. When I switch to the new account I created for myself, I get the people view. Really weird. I hate the people view, its tough to copy things from it and you have to take a second step to edit anything. I guess there is no alternative but to grin and bear it. :(

I am going to rebuild this machine tomorrow or during the holiday next week... Maybe the gods will smile down on me and it will go back to normal. :)

Thanks so much!!
In contacts, you can change the view to something better. In the Search people results list you can't.

What version and build is on the old computer?
Hi Diane,
I can't get into the old computer as it crashed... I am using my wife's old computer but instead of rebuilding it, I just created a new account for me... It was faster... My new computer arrives in early January. In the meantime this will suffice.

As you might expect, my wife's old account and my new account are using the same version of Outlook 365. When I am in my wife's account and I do a search the old Outlook form appears. When I do a search in my account the new People card appears. We are using Outlook 365 MSO 16.0.13328.20350 64-Bit

You mentioned a registry hack might solve the problem but likely would break something else... Can you use macros to fix something like this?

Thanks again for your help!
Macros won't really solve the problem. Do you and your wife both have the same type of mailbox? IMAP -, Exchange ?
Is there a setting somewhere I can change to revert back to the good old days?

Agreed. That new view is the worst ever. When I was forced to use it I corrupted a couple of Contacts. Luckily, I somehow got it back to a simple form/record that can be edited like normal.

Hopefully, you got yours fixed as well.
Hi Vince... Many thanks for your reply.
Unfortunately I have not been able to correct the issue. I am able to enter "edit mode" as shown in the attached picture which then opens the familiar contact form. Do you have any suggestions how I might fix this?

Hi Vince... Many thanks for your reply.
Unfortunately I have not been able to correct the issue. I am able to enter "edit mode" as shown in the attached picture which then opens the familiar contact form. Do you have any suggestions how I might fix this?

So for me, this weird Contact Editing thing started when I upgraded from Office-2010 to Office-2016. It's like it was thought-up by some Millennial Developer who likes minimalistic-design and who doesn't actually try to use Contacts properly (use all fields, use Notes, one-record-per-person, build on the same record over years, etc).

You know, I can write VBA that interfaces with Outlook from Access. I've even managed to keep iCloud for Windows running properly on a couple of Outlook-installs/Windows-machines. But these "Views" in Outlook ... very confusing and not well documented. Seems like there has always been many ways to screw-it-up config-it. I generally click-around and explore until I find something I like, I'm used-to, or can work-with

Try this:
You are in Email
Click Contacts
On the (default) Home menu ribbon
Current View - change from People to Business Card
Now click a Contact
It should open to a fully editable Contact with form-fields showing, and the Notes in bottom Right

It seems that once I got back to the old-school Business Card, the Form-Field Edit came back as well.

If you need further assistance, just ask.
Hi Vince,

Thanks for the hint... As it turns out, I always keep my contacts view in Business Card. Just for yucks, I switched it to People and then back to Business Card and as expected, nothing changed. I don't often access my contacts via the contacts screen... Basically only when a contact seems to be missing or I want to see my whole collection of contacts from a specific company or family. I generally use the Search People field on Outlook's main email screen as shown in the attached.

Again, thanks for the tip... I'll keep experimenting.

Your screens look different than mine.

I'm running Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016.
Outlook version 2012 (Build 13530.20316 Click-to-Run).

What if you just click a Contact from Business Card view?

I don't "search People" ... I search Contacts. there is a long search box right above the Contacts.
Hi Vince,

I moved to Office 365 in 2016 and I was able to access the editable contact form in the manner I've described until about 2 months ago... I spend most of my time in email so being able to initiate a contact search from that screen just saves a step. I did just check what happens when I initiate a contact search from the People display and I was able to confirm:
  1. The same Search People option appears at the top of the People page.
  2. As mentioned in my previous note, I typically leave my People page in Business Card view... When I initiate a search from the People page in Business Card view, Outlook effectively filters away all non complying options leaving the business cards of what I searched for. When I click on a business card, the familiar Contact Form appears...
Sounds like you are running Office-2019, while I am running Office-2016. Maybe that is the difference?

Sorry I could not help. I just know that I had a run-in with that crazy Contacts screen and I hated it. Somehow, I was able to be mine working properly, but maybe you can't get back to that with your version.

Personally, (with your report of problems) I'm not looking forward to upgrading to Office-2019, Office-2022, or Office-365 Subscription.
Frankly, with the other iCloud for Windows problems I am having ... I'm thinking of finally ditching Outlook on all my machines (and family members) and find a different solution.

Maybe after 30 years of using Microsoft Office and Outlook it's time for a change.
I too have been using Outlook and Office forever... Outlook is like my left arm... If I had to I could live without it but certainly nothing I would want to happen. :) I look forward to hearing what you move to.
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