Updated: 2009-04-09

When you use Microsoft Outlook with Microsoft Exchange Server, Outlook uses the Offline Address Book (OAB) to provide offline access to directory information from the global address list (GAL) when users work offline or are configured to use Cached Exchange Mode. When a user starts Outlook in Cached Exchange Mode for the first time, the user's Exchange mailbox is synchronized to a local offline folder (OST) file, and the offline address list from the Exchange server typically is synchronized to a collection of OAB files on the user's computer.

When you plan to configure users to use Cached Exchange Mode, you can take steps to help avoid network delays when users start Outlook and Outlook begins caching information locally on their computers. More information about staging a Cached Exchange Mode deployment is included in Plan a Cached Exchange Mode deployment in Outlook 2007.

Detailed information about deploying and managing the OAB with Microsoft Exchange 2003 is included in the Offline Address Book Best Practices Guide on TechNet's Exchange TechCenter. The guide focuses on Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. Much of the information is also helpful for understanding and working with the OAB when you deploy Microsoft Office Outlook 2007.

The following chapters are particularly important for understanding how Outlook and Exchange versions and service packs work together to provide the best experience with the OAB, and for following best practices when you deploy the OAB. There is also a resources section with links to helpful additional information.

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