Undocumented tip: Use the keyboard to delete unwanted recent addresses

MRUTwo weeks ago I posted an undocumented tip for quickly scrolling to a specific date from the Microsoft Answers forum. Today, another forum poster provided a great undocumented tip for using the keyboard to quickly delete unwanted email addresses from most recently used (MRU) list.

As Outlook for Mac sends and receives mail it stores the most recently used 200 email addresses in the MRU. You see the MRU at work every time you address a new email message and a list of Contacts and Recent Addresses appears while typing a name into the To, Cc or Bcc fields.

Over time the MRU gets cluttered with useless addresses from mailing lists, website auto-responders, online promotions and even spam addresses. To keep the MRU clean of spam addresses just mark a spam message as “Junk” and its address will automatically be removed from the list.

To delete the rest of the addresses click the Remove from recent addresses button (the gray “X” to the right of the email address).

A faster way to delete these is to use the keyboard command fn + Delete. The “fn” refers to the function key found in the lower right corner of many keyboards. With the unwanted address selected in the MRU list type fn + Delete and it is removed immediately from the list. The next item in the list takes its place. Keep tapping fn + Delete to keep removing these unwanted addresses. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to quickly move to another list item to delete it.

Addendum: This tip explains how to quickly delete one unwanted address at a time but how does an Outlook user clear all recent addresses? Outlook doesn’t include a menu command or preference setting but it does have an AppleScript command just for this:

Copy and paste the above three lines into a new window in the AppleScript Editor application found in /Application/Utilities and click the Run button to clear recent addresses. To keep this script readily available select File menu –> Save As… –> Clear Recent Recipients.scpt and save this into your Outlook Script Menu Items folder found in your Home folder (where ” ~ ” denotes your Home folder):

To run the script at any time select it from the AppleScript menu just to the right of the Help menu in Outlook.

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1 comment to Undocumented tip: Use the keyboard to delete unwanted recent addresses