My client requires basic contacts management for under 100 end users. I am wondering if Exchange 2010 can handle their requirements using global address lists.

The requirements are as follows:

  • Only around 5 administrators that can edit contacts.
  • All other users have read only access.
  • Ability to secure groups of contacts to be visible only to select users (or domain security groups).
  • Ability to search contacts.

Can Exchange 2010 / Outlook 2010 meet these requirements? Is it possible to set permissions on address lists?


  • Exchange as a contacts management application? How about a purpose-built tool like SugarCRM or some other CRM package?
    – EEAA
    Feb 6, 2013 at 5:06

1 Answer 1


Yes, Exchange/Outlook (any version going back at least as far as 5.0) can be used for that purpose and meet those requirements.

I would just point out, however, that a Global Address List, by definition, is global. Everyone can view it, so it's not the right tool to use for managing contacts. (And the search/field ordering on GALs leaves much to be desired, IMO.)

The right tool would be AD/Exchange contact objects, which are often used in the way you seem to be desiring. We have a bunch of groups of contacts for various departments, management levels, teams, even VIPs, and that's fairly standard in my experience.

Set up Exchange shared folders with the desired permission sets, populate with contact objects, and that's pretty much it. Much easier than messing around with [G}ALs, which are really much more of a pain than they need to be.

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