Apple Mac Basics: Address Book

On your Mac Address Book has a few fancy tricks up its sleeve. For example, you can wirelessly move names and numbers back and forth from a Bluetooth.

Address Book on Mac

The Basics

To add a contact to your Address Book, press the “+” button below the Names panel. Now you can edit the details as you like, clicking the icons and the green and red circles to add and remove data fields. To add a little picture, double-click the small frame to the left of the contact’s name and click the Choose… button. Alternatively, you can drag an image directly into the square from Finder, iPhone or even a Webpage.

Group and Smart Groups

Your contacts can be organized into groups in the left-hand pane. Your Address Book becomes easier to browse and allows you to quickly send emails to a selection of people. You will be able to export multiple contacts as a single vCard.

Press the “+” button to create a new group, and then drag contacts onto its icon. Note that you can add each contact to more than one group. Once the group is populated, right-click it to either email everyone it contains, or export a group vCard.

As to Smart Groups, they populate themselves automatically according to conditions that the user defines. Users may create one group based on a dialing code to assemble everyone they know in a certain district, or one based on email addresses to group together people from a certain company. Select File – New Smart Group… to give it a go, or hold down the Option key. Click the cog button at the bottom-left of the window.


Apple Mac Address Book: Create New Group
Apple Mac Address Book: Create New Group.

Import and Export

Address Book uses the common vCard format, as each contact in Address Book is stored as a vCard, a virtual business card that contains names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, etc. Address Book can also import various other formats, so even if your friends are using a different address-book application it is highly likely that they will be able to export contact cards in a form that you can import.

To import contacts that you have been sent, double-click them or look under File – Import. Likewise, to get a contact out, choose File – Export or drag it straight onto the desktop or into a folder. You can drag a contact directly onto your email program’s Dock icon to quickly forward it to a person you are writing to.

Tips about Address Book

  • You can edit the default card set-up settings in the Template pane of Address Book Preferences by clicking the Command key + .
  • You can click a phone number’s label and choose Large font from the pop-up menu, this will stop you misskeying phone numbers.
  • You can single-click a contact to view it in the main panel. Double-click to view it in a new floating window.
    Most labels in Contacts reveal relevant options when clicked, this option acts as an online map for an address.

How to Sync Address Book

Our lives tend to get more complicated as we accrue extra gadgets. If you bump into an old acquaintance, and he or she gives you a new number: you add it to your mobile phone, your computers and tablets, to your iPod and who knows what else. We add contacts, bookmarks, passwords, files, calendars and more. The ideal solution is to sync everything wirelessly via a USB cable.

You can sync the app and share your Address Book with other users. In Address Book open Preferences, tick the box under the Share tab and add contacts.

Address Book’s print options are good. Just select a contact, group or All. Choose File – Print and output labels, envelopes, or even a pocket Address Book.

Mac Address Book: keep your contacts up to date on all devices
Mac Address Book: keep your contacts up to date on all devices.

Essential Shortcuts for Address Shortcuts

  • New card – Command key + N
  • Edit card – Command key + L
  • New group – Command key + Shift + N
  • New Smart Group – Command key + Option + N
  • View card only – Command key + 1
  • View card and columns – Command key + 2
  • View directories – Command key + 3
  • View next card – Command key + ]
  • View previous card – Command key + [


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  • Want an alternative informative article about Address Book? Plenty of resources online, such as this one:

Creating Contact Groups on Your Mac [Video]

Video uploaded by David A. Cox on November 8, 2015


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