How to Add a Drop-Down List in an Outlook Contact Form

Drop-down lists can speed up routine data entry tasks.
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Microsoft Outlook includes a plugin called Business Contact Manager that enables you to create drop-down lists for the values you frequently use in forms. Business Contact Manager integrates with Outlook's interface and provides several data type templates, such as text fields and drop-down lists. The list customization window guides you through the process of adding elements to a list, and you can update a list at any time from the Business Contact Manager tab.

Download and install the Business Contact Manager plugin from the Microsoft Download Center (link in Resources). After installing the plugin, the Business Contact Manager tab is displayed in the Outlook window.

Launch Outlook; click “File” and select the “Business Contact Manager” tab. Click “Customize” and select “Customize Record Types” to open a pop-up window that displays a list of data types, including Account, Business Contact, Business Project, Lead and Opportunity records.

Select a data type and click “Customize Form” to open the list customization window displaying formatting and data field options. Click “Add Fields” and select “New” followed by “Drop-Down List” from the menu. When prompted, click “OK” to open the Edit Lists window.

Click “Add” to add an item to the drop-down list. Type the item's name and click “OK.” The new item appears in the Value column, and you can add more items to the list by repeating this step.

Edit your list's order with the up and down arrows. Select an item from the Value column and click an arrow button to move it up or down. When you're finished creating the list, click “OK” to add it to the current Outlook form.

  • Information in this article applies to Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.
  • If you expect to choose one item more than the others, make it the default item. In the Edit Lists window, select the item and click “Make Default.” If a user doesn't choose an option from the drop-down list, the default option is selected automatically.

David Wayne has been writing since 2010, with technology columns appearing in several regional newspapers in Texas. Wayne graduated from the University of Houston in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Arts in communications.