In this article, I'll provide you with a few quick tips about using Outlook's Contacts.
Quickly Add a Contact
The easiest way to add a new contact to your list is to right click on their email address within an email. A mini menu will appear showing shortcuts to some of the more frequently needed features. Click Add to Outlook Contacts.
And don't worry if you may already have a listing for this person. If you do, a warning dialog will appear letting you know that this is a duplicate entry. The message will also give you some options regarding how to proceed, such as update this contact or add it as a new entry.
If you don't have a email in which to refer, just move into the Contact list and you can either...click File > New > Contact, or faster either hit Ctrl + N to create a new contact, or just double click in any blank area of your contact list and a new contact page will appear.
Organize Your Contacts
Outlook provides you with one default Contact list. But no one says that you have to smash all your contacts into that same folder. Yes, you can do it that way and that does have advantages by only having one spot in which to find all your contacts. You can then add Category filters to help you find groups such as family, friends, or work.
But maybe you prefer to keep certain groups separate? After all, you don't want to accidentally send some personal email off to a colleague or client. So it can be a bit more secure not to have Greg, your husband right next to Greg your boss and Greg your coworker. It could prove to be embarrassing if you send a personal email meant for your husband to your boss! (Okay, fess up...how many of you have already done this?<g>)
So although it may mean having to click the correct list first, it might be wise to keep certain people in different group lists. You can easily add a new contact list. While you are within the Contact area of Outlook, click File > New. Make sure the Folder contains: drop down says Contact Items. Then give the new folder an appropriate name, such as Personal, Family, Work, etc.
The new folder will now show up within your list of Contact folders. Just click it to view the members of that list.
To move contacts into that group, click them where they now reside and simply drag their contact listing over to the new folder and release the mouse button. The contact will be dropped into your new folder.
You can easily change the way you view your Contact in 2003 by clicking any of the predefined view shortcuts that appear in the Navigation bar along the left. From a quick phone list grid view, to a detailed business card-type view.
However, if the view you want isn't in the Nav bar list, you can create your own. Click View > Arrange By > Current View > Customize Current View. There you will find several items you can customize. Click the Sort button and you can change the sort criteria. Maybe you prefer to list people in order by their first names? Not a problem...just customize that sort.
Now you can see that, although the cards are still listed by Last Name, the group is sorted by first names
If you want to change the way the names are Filed, you can click on the individual card to change that setting, as shown below.
If you want all new contacts to default to first name listings, then you can click Tools > Options > Contact Options and change the File As setting so new items are listed by first name, or company, if you prefer.
If you do have several contact folders, you can set which one is your default by opening your Address Book (the icon on your toolbar). Then click Tools > Options and move your folders in the order you prefer.
Finding Specific Contact Activities
A lot of people are really jazzed about the new feature in Outlook 2003 that allows you to create search folders...listing of specific items you want to easily locate on a regular basis, such as all your unread emails from all your folders, or email from a specific person.
But few people know that there has always been a great feature in Outlook that allows you to search out all or specific activities involving any contact in your lists.
Let's say I needed to find a specific email from Bill Coan. I could search for email from his email address. But it might be faster to just check his activity profile. First I locate Bill's contact card.
Note...to find his card quickly, I can just type Bill into the Look for: input box, as shown below. (Note, when your search is done, click Clear to return to all contacts.)
Once I find his card, I double click to open it. Then I click on the Activities tab.
If I only want to check email, I can click the drop down to filter out just email. But if I'm not sure what I'm looking for...or want to see all activities involving this person, I just let it roll. In a few seconds, I'll be able to see everything I have that involved Bill. A double click on any item will open that item. A great way to quickly find all items for a related contact.