Outlook Contacts: More Than Meets the Eye
If you've used Outlook for personal or work purposes, there's a chance that you haven't used it to it's full potential. Many people are used to filling in what they see on screen and never diving in to find other features. Let's explore.
I like to look at the Business Card view when I am in Outlook and I'm a visual person, so I like to see more than just text on a card. Start a new contact card and you'll see Full Name... You can enter anything you want, including certifications, initials, nicknames, etc. The ... tells you that there are more options to come. Click it and you'll see separate blanks for Title, First, Middle, Last and Suffix. The first and last options have specific drop downs for consistency. Add the Company and Job Title name if needed. The File As... area is how you want to see the card listed in the Contact section. There are several options, such as First Name Last Name, Last Name, First Name, Company Name (Contact Name), etc. Or you can complete ignore the suggestions and type whatever you like. If you're making a shared contact list and are adding reps from various companies, you might want to file it by the Company name and then also show the rep's name because someone looking for "that Dell rep" doesn't want to scroll and search around through individual's names.
There are 3 Email blanks all in the same location. Type in the first one, and use the drop-down to get to Email 2 and 3. The Display As will change as you use each one.
Tip: It's better to use a name and type for the Display As instead of just the email. IE...Denise Vajdak (Work) and Aunt Denise (Home) instead of email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. If you type an email and you send it multiple people and those people then forward it to others, It would be safer for everyone if you just see their names and not their actual emails. It's one way to cut down on spam. Adding the () with a description also helps be sure which address you are choosing when you see the Auto-fill options.
Add Web Page Address and IM Address if you like. There is just one blank for each.
Phone Numbers... have 4 options showing, but there are 19 selections that you can use for each of the 4 spots. Use the ones that are necessary, even if you have to use the drop-down on one of them and enter multiple number types. Click the ... button and you'll see the place to add the Country Code, Area Code, Local Number and Extension.
There are 3 choices for Addresses. Business will be the first option you see, but use the drop-down to get to Home and Other. On any of the choices, click the ... button and you will get individual blanks for the Street Address, City, State, Zip and Country.
As, I said, I'm a visual person, so I usually like to add a picture or a company logo. Double-click the grey profile picture button and navigate to an image saved on your computer.
Add Notes as needed. Emergency Contact info, account numbers or login info, customer numbers, etc.
All done? Nope!
In the Show section of the Contact ribbon, click Details. This will bring up another screen of options such as Department, Nickname, Manager's Name, Assistant's Name, Spouse, Birthday and Anniversary. Add dates here and when you Save & Close the contact, you will be asked if you want to add them to your calendar. Click on General in the Show section to get back to the main contact screen.
Adding Categories to your contacts makes it easier to filter your Contact list. "Family", "Co-Worker", "Supplier", "Customer" etc. Add new Categories and pick a color for each. Yes, you can have more than one Category per Contact. Again...there's that visual thing.
All done? Nope!
Double-click the image of the contact card at the top of the General screen. You can now format the card to look how you want and show only the info you want. Move the picture to the right, add a Background color, remove your Home phone and address, add the Assistant's name, click a field and change fonts, move fields up or down on the card, etc.
Now that you have all this info on the card, what if you want to send your info to a colleague or vendor? Do you need to make a separate card with less info to keep your personal info out of the limelight? Nope!
When you Forward a contact, you have 3 options. As a Business Card, In Internet Format (vcard) and As an Outlook Contact. Either of the options will start a new email message.
As a Business Card will send the image of the card that you created and it will send an Outlook contact card in .vcf format, which can easily be utilized by someone who might be using another client besides Outlook, but it will NOT show your Home phone, Home address, Notes, or info from the Details section. Use this option to send to your business contacts. Don't want to include the image? Just delete it from the email. It won't delete the attached contact card.
In Internet Format will send just the Outlook contact info in .vcf format. It does not include the image in your email. But it will include Home phone and address info and Notes, so this option might be better for coworkers or family who might need your Notes. It will not include info from the Details section.
As An Outlook Contact is very much like the Internet format, but it sends it as an Outlook item, so use it when you know someone is an Outlook user.
So, as you can see, there's more to Outlook Contact cards than meets the eye...but not if you know where to look. ;)
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