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Introducing Contacts

Christopher Breen | May 3, 2013
In weeks past we've talked about configuring the Mail and Calendar applications. Without the third leg of this personal information trio--Contacts--using the first two could be a lonely proposition. In this lesson we'll look at the cans and can'ts of Contacts.

You can delete existing entries by clicking the Minus (--) button that appears next to them. When you're finished with your work, click Done. Only those fields that have information in them will appear on the card.

The first card you should create is your own. This is important to do because other applications can access this card and put it to good use. For instance, they can autofill fields with your contact information rather than forcing you to do it manually. And once you've created this card you'll find these helpful commands when you choose Card > Share My Card: Email My Card, Message My Card, and AirDrop My Card. When you've created such a card, click Done to save it, and then choose Card > Make This My Card.

Configuring contact fields

By default, Contacts includes fields you'd typically find in your standard-issue address book. First and last name, company name, phone, email, home page, chat ID, address, and note. If you've configured the Mail, Contacts & Calendars system preference to include Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Flickr accounts, you'll find entries for them as well. But you're not limited to just these entries.

Choose Card > Add Field, and you find more items that you can add to a contact card--phonetic first/last name, prefix, middle name, suffix, nickname, job title, department, maiden name, birthday, date, related name, and profile. For example, if you have a contact for which you pen a yearly holiday card, you might wish to make a note of the person's family members. You do this by adding a related name. A new field appears from which you can choose mother, father, parent, brother, sister, child, friend, spouse, partner, assistant, manager, or other. And, if you like, you can click Custom and add "No idea, but they hang out a lot."

If you use one of these fields more often than not, I suggest you change the contact card's template. To do that, choose Contacts > Preferences, click the Template tab, and then click the Add Field pop-up menu to add the fields you want. In this same window, you can choose which headings appear by default. For instance, Apple has chosen to show Mobile as the default heading for phones. You can select Work instead, and when you create a new card, Work is what will appear as the default phone heading.

Should you employ Contacts for personal use, you should add the Birthday field to the template. When you do this and then go to the trouble to add contacts' birthdays, those important dates will automatically appear in the Calendar application when you enable its Birthday calendar.


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