Managing Contacts - Taking MacBook Pro Further - Teach Yourself VISUALLY MacBook Pro, 2nd Edition (2014)

Teach Yourself VISUALLY MacBook Pro, 2nd Edition (2014)

Part IV. Taking MacBook Pro Further

Chapter 15. Managing Contacts

Explore the Contacts Window

The Contacts application is both a powerful and easy to use contact information manager. You can quickly assemble your contact information and then use that information in many ways.

You can open Contacts by clicking its Dock icon, which is a book with the @ symbol on its cover, or by double-clicking its icon in the Applications folder. Before you start using Contacts, check out a few important concepts that will help you navigate and manage your contacts quickly and easily.


A Toolbar

Provides the Add Card button, Edit button, and Share button.

B Groups

Shows the groups in which your contacts are organized.

C List

Shows the contacts in the group you are currently browsing.

D Search Bar

Enables you to search for contacts.

E Selected Group

You can select a group to browse the contacts it contains.

F Selected Card

The highlight shows the card selected on the List.

G Card

Shows the detailed contact information for the card selected on the List.

H Add Card

Use this button to add cards for new contacts.

I Edit

Use this button to change the information on the card being shown.

J Share

Use this button to send the current card to someone via Mail, Messages, or AirDrop.



Each contact is represented by a card. Unlike physical cards, Contacts cards are virtual cards, or vCards, making them flexible because you can store a variety of information on each card. You can also store different pieces of information for your various contacts.

Contact Information


Each card in Contacts can hold many physical addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, URL addresses, and so on. Because vCards are flexible, you do not have to include each category of information; you include only the information appropriate for each contact. Contacts displays only fields that have data in them so that cards are not cluttered with empty fields.



Groups are collections of cards. They are useful because you can do something once with a group and the action affects all the cards in that group. For example, you can create a group containing family members whom you regularly e-mail. Then you can address a message to the one group instead of addressing each person individually.

Smart Groups


Smart Groups are also collections of cards for which you define criteria and cards are added to the group automatically. For example, suppose you want to be able to contact your colleagues in the same state. You can simply create a Smart Group with suitable criteria, and Contacts adds all the matching contacts to the group automatically.

Contacts Actions


In addition to using information stored on cards indirectly — for example, looking at a phone number to dial it — you can use some data to perform an action by clicking the information's label and choosing an action. Some of the most useful actions are sending e-mails, visiting websites, and looking up an address on a map. You can also access extra actions by Control+clicking an item to display its contextual menu.

Add a Contact Manually

Before you can work with contacts, you need to create a card for each contact you want to manage. One way to do this is to create a card manually and add the contact information it needs. You can add new fields to cards as needed, so you can store almost any amount of information on a card. In many cases, you start a new card from another application, such as Mail, and add information to it by editing the card, which works similarly to creating a new card.

Add a Contact Manually


image In the Contacts application, click Add (image).

Note: You can also create a new contact card by pressing image+image.

image Click New Contact.

A new, empty card appears in the Card pane.


image Type the contact's first name in the First field, which is highlighted.

image Press image.

image Type the contact's last name in the Last field.

Note: Press either image or image to move the highlight to the next field. Press image+image to move to the previous field.

image Press image.

image Type the contact's company or organization in the Company field.

image Press image.

image Click the pop-up menu (image) next to the first field. By default, this field is Mobile.

image Click the type of phone number you want to enter. For example, click iPhone.


image Type the phone number in the field.

image Repeat steps 8 to 11 to enter information into each relevant field.

image To remove a field from the card, click Delete (image).

image To add another field of the same type to a card, use the new field that appears when you have filled in all the existing fields of that type.

image To add an image to the card, drag it from the desktop and drop it onto the image well.


image Drag the slider to the left to make the image smaller, or to the right to make it larger.

image Drag the image so that the part you want on the card appears within the box.

image Click Done.

The image is saved, the sheet closes, and you return to the card.

image Click Done.

Contacts saves the card and displays it, showing only the fields that contain information.


What if the information I want to enter is not on a pop-up menu?

Click the menu arrow and select Custom. In the Add Custom Label dialog, type the label for the field you want to add, and then click OK. Enter the information for that field.

How can I configure the default information on new cards?

Open the Contacts menu and choose Preferences. Click Template. Remove fields you do not want to appear by default by clicking Delete (image). Add more fields of an existing type by clicking Add (image) next to that type. Add fields that do not appear at all by clicking Add Field and then choosing the field you want to add to the template. Close the Preferences dialog.

Work with vCards

Many applications, including Contacts, use vCards to store contact information. One of the most common ways to receive vCards is as attachments to e-mail messages. vCard files have .vcf as their filename extension.

You can add contact information to Contacts using vCards other people send to you. You can also create a vCard for yourself to send to others so they can easily add your data to their contact information.

Work with vCards

Add Contacts with vCards


image In the Mail app, Control+click the vCard file attached to a message.

The contextual menu opens.

image Click or highlight Open With.

The Open With submenu appears.

image Click Contacts.

Note: If Contacts is the default application for vCard files on your MacBook Pro, you can also double-click a vCard file to open it in Contacts.

The Contacts app becomes active.

A sheet appears, confirming that you want to add the card to your contacts.


image Click Add.


A Contacts adds the vCard. You can work with it just like cards you create within Contacts.

Share a vCard File Containing a Contact Record


image Click the card you want to share.

Note: To quickly find your card, open the Card menu and choose Go to My Card. Your card, which is marked with a silhouette icon, appears in the Card pane.

image Click Share (image).

The Share pop-up menu opens.

image Click the means of sharing you want to use. For example, click Email Card to send the card via your default e-mail application, such as Mail.

Note: To share several contact cards in a single vCard file, select the cards, and then drag them out of the Contacts window onto the desktop or into a Finder window. Finder creates a vCard file containing all the contacts.


How can I add contact information to Contacts from e-mail when a vCard is not attached?

When you receive an e-mail in Mail, you can add the sender's name and e-mail address to Contacts. Position the pointer over an address and when the address becomes highlighted, click it to open the action menu. Choose Add to Contacts. A new card is created with as much information as Contacts can extract, usually the first and last name along with an e-mail address. Using Contacts, you can add other information to the card as needed.

Find Contact Information

Contacts makes it simple to quickly find information either by browsing your contacts or by searching. Browsing is most useful when you do not have many contacts or if you have them organized into groups containing a relatively small number of contacts that you can easily browse. Searching is usually the fastest way to find a contact among many contacts.

Find Contact Information

Browse for a Contact

image If the Groups pane is not displayed on the left side of the Contacts window, press image+image or click View and Groups to display the Groups pane.


image Select the group that you want to browse.

A To browse all your contacts, click All Contacts.

B The cards in the selected group appear on the List.

image Scroll up and down to browse the list of names.

image Click the card containing the contact information you want to view or to use.

image To focus on this card, double-click it.


C The card opens in a separate window.

image When you finish using the card, click Close (image).

The card window closes.

Note: Opening cards in a separate window enables you to compare the contents of two or more contact records easily.

Search for a Contact


image Select the group that you want to search.

Note: You can search with the Groups list displayed or with it hidden. When the Groups list is displayed, you search the selected group. When the Groups list is hidden, you search the All Contacts group.

All the cards in the selected group appear in the Name pane.

image Type search text in the Search bar.

Note: Contacts searches all the fields at the same time, so you do not need to define what you are searching for, such as a name instead of an address.

D As you type, Contacts reduces the cards shown to only those that match your search.


image Continue typing in the Search bar until the card you want appears in the Name pane.

image Click the card to view its information.

E The part of the card that matches your search is highlighted in gray.

image Clear the Search bar by clicking Clear (image).

All the cards in the selected group appear again.


Can I search for contact information by phone number or e-mail address?

When you perform a search, Contacts searches all the fields on all cards simultaneously. If it finds a match in any of these fields, a card is included in the search results shown in the Name pane. For example, if you enter text, it looks for matches in any fields that include text. Likewise, if you type numbers, Contacts searches any fields containing numbers.

Create a Group of Contacts

A contact group is useful because it enables you to store many cards within it. Then you can take an action on the group to affect all the cards included in the group. Groups make working with multiple cards at the same time easier and faster.

For example, when you want to send an e-mail to everyone in a group, you can do so by sending one message to the group rather than adding each person's e-mail address individually. You can also create a group for contacts that you use frequently to make finding contacts by browsing faster.

Create a Group of Contacts


image In the Groups list, point to the account in which you want to store the new group. For example, to create the group in iCloud, move the mouse pointer (image) over the iCloud group.

The Add button (image) appears.

image Click Add (image).

A new group appears in the Group pane with its name ready to be edited.


image Type a name for the group.

image Press image.

The group is created and is ready for you to add cards to it.

image Click All Contacts.


All the cards in Contacts appear in the Name pane.

image Select one or more cards you want to add to the group.

Note: To select multiple cards, click the first card, and then hold down image while you click additional cards.

image Drag the card or cards onto the group. Drop the card or cards when the group is highlighted.


image Select the group to which you added cards.

A The cards included in the group appear.


How do I create a Smart Group?

image Click File.

image Click New Smart Group.


image Type the name for the Smart Group.

image Use the pop-up menus and other controls to specify the first criterion.

image Click Add (image) to add another criterion.

image Click image and then click all or any, as needed.

image When you finish adding criteria, click OK.

Using Contact Cards and Groups

After you have added all your contact information, Contacts helps you use your contacts in many ways. For example, you can quickly create and address a new e-mail message using a contact's card. Or you can see a physical address on a map and visit a website with just a couple of clicks on a contact's card. Unlike with physical contact information, such as Rolodex cards, you can use contacts in the Contacts application directly to perform tasks.

Check out the following tricks you can perform with Contacts. While these are not all you can do with contacts, they will get you started.

Using Contact Cards and Groups

Address E-Mail


image Click the card for the person you want to e-mail.

image Click the label for the e-mail address. For example, click home to send an e-mail message to the home e-mail address.

The pop-up menu appears.

image Click Send Email.

Your default e-mail application opens and creates a new message to the address you selected in step 2.

Visit a Website


image Click a card that contains the URL for the web page.

image Click the label next to the URL you want to visit.

The pop-up menu opens.

Note: If the URL is in blue, you can click it to go to the website.

image Click Open URL.

Your default web application opens the URL you clicked.

View the Map for a Physical Address


image Click the card that contains the address you want to map.

image Click the label of the address you want to see.

image Click Open in Maps.

The Maps application opens and displays the map for the address.

Print an Envelope or Mailing Label in Another Application


image Click the card containing the address.

image Click the label of the address you want to place on an envelope or label.

image Choose Copy Address.

image Open or switch to the application you use to print envelopes or labels.

image In the application, create an envelope.

image Click Edit.

image Click Paste.

image Use the application's printing feature to print the envelope or label.


What other actions can I take with contacts using the pop-up menus?

You can take various actions from the pop-up menus, including the following:

Phone number. Send a message or start a FaceTime call.

E-mail address. Start a FaceTime call, send a message, send your contact card, or search using Spotlight.

Address. Copy the map URL so you can look up the address in a mapping application such as Google Maps.

Change or Delete Contact Cards or Groups

Over time, you will need to update your contacts by adding new information, changing existing information, or removing information you no longer need. The Contacts application makes all these tasks easy.

You can change information for existing cards or groups. You can add new information to a card using the same techniques you use to create a new card manually. You can also remove information for a card or change existing information. You can delete a card or group you no longer need. When you delete a group, the cards it contained remain in the Contacts application.

Change or Delete Contact Cards or Groups

Change Address Cards


image Click the card you want to change.

image Click Edit.

Existing fields become editable and Delete buttons (image) appear.


image Click the information you want to change.

image Make changes to that information.

Note: You move between fields on a card by pressing image or image.

image Choose a label for a field from the pop-up menu.

image To delete information from the card, click image.

The field clears; after you exit Edit mode, that field no longer appears on the card.

image To add information to the card, enter it in an existing field, or if all the current fields are full, enter it in the add new field section for the type of information you want to add.


image Type information into the field.

image After you have made all the changes to the card, click Done.

The Contacts application saves the changes you made to the card.

Delete Cards from Contact Groups


image Click the group that contains the card you want to delete.

image Click the card you want to remove from the group.

image Press image.

A warning dialog appears.

image Click Remove from Group.

The Contacts application removes the card from the group but leaves it in your contacts.


How do I delete a card I do not need anymore?

Select the card you want to remove and press image. Click Delete in the confirmation dialog. The card is removed from Contacts.

How do I delete a group I do not need?

Select the group you want to delete and press image. Click Delete in the confirmation dialog. The group is removed from Contacts, but the cards that were in that group remain in Contacts.

Print Envelopes and Contact Lists

Contacts enables you to print your contact information a number of ways, including mailing labels, envelopes, contact lists, and a pocket address book. Printing envelopes takes the tedium out of addressing envelopes and makes envelopes look better. Contact lists are a good way to carry contact information with you when you do not have your MacBook Pro handy.

Print Envelopes and Contact Lists

Print Envelopes


image Select the cards for which you want to print envelopes.

image Click File.

image Click Print.

Note: Click the Show Details button if it appears.


image Click the Style pop-up menu (image) and select Envelopes.

image Click the Label tab.

image Select the Print my address check box (image changes to image).

image Click the Print my address pop-up menu (image), and then click the return address.

image Click the Addresses pop-up menu (image), and then click the address to use — for example, work.

image Click the Print in pop-up menu (image), and select the print order.

image Select the check boxes (image changes to image) to include additional information on the envelope.

image Click Color and select the text color.

image Click Print.

Print Contact Lists


image Select the cards you want to include on the list. To include everyone in a group, click the group.

image Click File.

The File menu opens.

image Click Print.

The Print dialog opens.


image Click the Style pop-up menu (image) and select Lists.

image Click the Orientation buttons to set the orientation of the list to portrait or landscape.

image Select the Attributes check boxes (image changes to image) to choose which information to include.

image Click the Font Size pop-up menu (image), and select the font size to use for the list.

image Click Print.


What is a pocket address book?

A pocket address book is a smaller version of a contact list designed to be carried more easily than a list. You can print a pocket address book in a couple of formats, including Index, which shows contacts in alphabetical order, or Compact, which uses a compressed format.

How can I print addresses on standard mailing labels, such as those produced by Avery?

On the Style pop-up menu, select Mailing Labels. Click the Layout tab. On the Page pop-up menu, select the brand of labels you use, and then select the specific type on the related pop-up menu. This creates a format for the addresses that will fit onto the selected label when you print.