External Contacts in the Address Book


Applies to: Office 365 for professionals and small businesses, Office 365 for enterprises, Live@edu

Topic Last Modified: 2008-12-04

External contacts represent people outside your organization who can be displayed in your organization's address book and other address lists. External contacts have e-mail addresses outside your organization. They don't have a mailbox in your organization and they can't sign in to your domain.

External contacts are great because they let you maintain an up-to-date organization-wide repository for contacts and help your users collaborate more efficiently with people outside your organization.

One repository for contacts

Do people in your organization regularly interact with many of the same colleagues, partners, or vendors outside your organization? Who keeps track of the contact information? Instead of each user trying to maintain their own list of contacts, you can add external contacts to the shared address book, including e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and even detailed information, like the person's title, department, or manager. It's more efficient and everyone has access to the same up-to-date information.

And that's not all:

  • People outside of the organization can be added as members of groups.

  • External contacts are listed in the shared address book, just like users inside your organization.

  • An alias for the external contact resolves to the display name in the To: field when you create a message.

Collaborate with outside organizations

External contacts can make collaboration easier and more efficient. Here are just a couple of examples:

  • At universities, faculty members often work with researchers from other institutions. You can use external contacts to create research groups for collaborative communication on projects.

  • Businesses, large and small, work with vendors, contractors, or consultants on a daily basis. You can add these individuals as external contacts and designate managers in the shared address book. For example, if one of the vendors manages a group of contractors, you can identify the vendor as the manager of the contractors, and the contractors will be identified as direct reports of the vendor in the shared address book.

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