Taking notes on your Mac and iPhone: Address Book

Its time for another blog series. This time we’ll take a look at making notes on you computer

Are you a note taker? I am. Sometimes I wish there was just one place and one way to make notes, but realistically, it would not work well. In fact, I need different ways of taking notes--and they need to be stored in different places or I would never be able to make sense out of them.

Let’s start by looking at making notes in the Address Book. Do you remember the old days when we used paper address books to keep track of people’s addresses. I would use the same book for several years, until it got so messy and “scratched out” that I simply had to begin again.

The worst part of transferring to a new address book was the loss of bits of knowledge that somehow did not make it into the new book. Add to that the time that it took to hand write all the addresses and the possibility of introducing errors in copying the information. That was a task that begged for computerization!

There are extra fields that can be added to the Address Book template to make it easier to organize information. To make changes to the template, first choose Address Book > Preferences from the menu bar:

In the Preferences window, click the Template button and then click the Add Field button.

I have added just about every field to my template. However, notice that I have left Phonetic First/Last Name unchecked. If I need those fields, I can add them while I am in the Edit mode of Address Book. To add a field, use the menu item Card > Add Field.

It is also possible to add multiple items in many of the fields. For example, it is possible to add many different kinds of telephone numbers:

At the bottom of the pop-up are two choices, other and Custom… If you choose “other”, a new item labeled Other is added. If you choose Custom, you will see this window where you can add a new, specific kind of telephone number.

Add a custom field and the label will show the new field:

However, the Custom field is not available in the fields in other address cards. That is a suggestion that I will have to send to Apple!

At the bottom of each address card, there is a Notes field. I add all sorts of information to this area. It could be anything from an old address to notes about what I served the last time I invited the person for dinner. I also add ideas for future gifts and reminders about gifts I have sent in the past. If it is an entry for a business, I add employee names, notes about things I have purchased there, directions to their store etc.

Searching is one of the best features of Address Book. Not only can the name and address fields be searched, but the results will include any information that is stored in any other field, including the Notes area.

When you enter text into the Search area of the Address Book, it will look for that text throughout the Address book. It will include all fields and the Notes area.

If you use MobileMe to sync information from the Address Book to your iPhone or iPod Touch, the information is available in the Notes section of each card. However, at this time, it will not come up in the search results. For example, If you have entries for restaurants and you have added the cuisine that they serve in the Notes area, you would not be able to search the Contacts on your iPhone for Mexican food restaurants. I hope Apple will add these capabilities in new versions of the iPhone software.

If you need help in organizing your address book or you need to move addresses from another application into Address Book, consider booking a help session with me at Doctor Mac Consulting. I can show you how to move your addresses out of just about any program and into Apple’s Address Book. The cost is $60.00 per hour and I can use our special software to “see” your computer. Send a note to urgentrequest@boblevitus.com or call us at (408) 627-7577 for further information.


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