Exchange 2016: Hierarchical Address Books


The hierarchical address book (HAB) permits end users to explore for recipients in their address book following an organizational hierarchy.


  • Generally, users are confined to the default global address list (GAL) and its recipient properties and the structure of the GAL frequently doesn’t reflect the management or seniority relationships of recipients in your company.

  • Being able to tailor or customize an HAB which maps to your enterprise unique business structure offers your users with an efficient strategy for locating internal recipients.


Using hierarchical address books

  • In a Exchange HAB, your root company (for instance, Contoso, Ltd) is placed as the top-level tier.

  • In this top-level tier, you are allowed to add several child tiers to create a customized HAB which is segmented by division, department, or any other enterprise tier you wish to mention.


The following shown figure illustrates an HAB for Contoso, Ltd with the following structure:


  • The top-level tier depicts the root organization Contoso, Ltd.

  • The second-level child tiers depict the business divisions within Contoso, Ltd: Corporate Office, Product Support Organization, and Sales & Marketing Organization.

  • The third-level child tiers depict departments within the Corporate Office division: Human Resources, Accounting Group, and Administration Group.


Example HAB for Contoso, Ltd

HAB for Contoso, Ltd

  • You are allowed to provide an additional level of hierarchical structure via using the SeniorityIndex parameter.

  • When an HAB is created, use the Seniority Index parameter to grade and rank individual recipients or organizational groups via seniority within these organizational tiers.

  • This ranking mentions the order in which the recipients or groups are shown in the HAB.


For instance, in the preceding example, the Seniority Index parameter for the recipients in the Corporate Office division is assigned and set to the following:


  • 100 for David Hamilton

  • 50 for Rajesh M. Patel

  • 25 for Amy Alberts


Please Note:

In case the SeniorityIndex parameter isn’t set or is equivalent of two or more users, the HAB sorting order uses the PhoneticDisplayNameparameter value to list the users in ascending alphabetical order. In case the PhoneticDisplayName parameter value is not set, then HAB sorting order automatic defaults to the DisplayName parameter value and lists the users in ascending alphabetical order.


Setting up and configuring hierarchical address books

The general steps for configuring hierarchical address books are as follows:


  • Create a distribution group which will be used for the root organization (top-level tier). If needed, then you are allowed to use an existing organizational unit in your Exchange forest for the distribution group.

  • Create distribution groups for the child tiers and denoting them as members of the HAB. Modify the SeniorityIndexparameter of these groups such that they’re listed in the proper hierarchical order within the root organization.

  • Append organization members. Edit the SeniorityIndex parameter of the members such that they’re listed in the proper hierarchical order within the child tiers.

  • For the purposes of accessibility you are allowed to use the PhoneticDisplayName parameter that specifies a phonetic pronunciation of theDisplayName parameter.


Kristin is a content strategist at Techarex Networks. Kristin follows the B2B technology space closely and loves to write on the latest changes in technology, futuretech and fixes for day to day how to issues. Besides writing Kristin also loves music, moves and skating.

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