Transferring Auto-Completion Information to Outlook 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010
All versions of Outlook since Outlook 2003 have had a feature called Auto-Complete.  Auto-Completion "remembers" recipient names and email addresses that you have used before and offers to complete the email address as you type characters.  This works within Outlook and OWA 2010.

In Outlook 2003-2007, the Auto-Completion (aka NickName) data is stored in a hidden N2K file.  This file is located in the following path:
This can usually be shortened to:
Microsoft changed the way Outlook 2010 handles Auto-Completion data so that it supports roaming users.  Recipient AutoComplete lists are now stored on the Exchange Server.  A user’s recipient AutoCompletion list is now available to any computer on which Outlook 2010 runs that is connected to the same Exchange account.

This article discusses how to migrate the older format N2K file to the new format on a new computer.  This is helpful for when a user gets new hardware and wants to maintain their current Auto-Complete data.  A good example is when an executive using Outlook 2007 gets a new laptop with Outlook 2010 pre-installed.
  1. Copy the Outlook.nk2 file from the old computer to the following path: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook.  This is a hidden folder so it’s easier to unhide the folder. Replace the user name variable with the actual user name.
  2. Go to the Control Panel –Mail -Click Show Profiles and note the name of the user profile. This is usually Outlook
  3. Make sure the User profile name (Outlook) is the same name as the NK2 file e.g. Outlook.nk2 again this is usually the case.
  4. In the start menu search box(Run in XP) type Outlook.exe /importnk2
  5. This should then populate the Outlook 2010 auto completion file with the data contained in the old NK2 file.
  6. Open Outlook and compose a new email, type the first few characters and you should see your old email address auto populate.


  1. Thanks Jeff. Here's the Microsoft KB too for anyone interested:


  2. Thanks Jeff and Steve.
    Useful information.


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