The OE5 address book has a new expanded Contact Information database. You now have the ability to add all the information you could possibly want about a contact. Anything which doesn't fit into the given fields can be entered into the note box at the bottom.
The nickname is a valuable field to fill because AutoComplete also uses this field to create the list for you to choose from when addressing the message.
In the address, email address and address fields you have the option to make defaults so they will appear in the shortened contact window. In the custom fields only the fields at the top of each column will be seen in this view.
As nice as the Contact Information Database is, it does take some forethought to manipulate.
First, if you have imported an address book with groups, you will find that the groups are alphabetized by the name of the group among all the single entries. They will have two heads in the icon. I have used a tilde (~) to have them appear at the top of the list when the list is sorted by name. Other characters will work also.
With cmd+click on the column headers (or by choosing columns in the view menu) the contextual menu will appear and you can choose which columns you would like to appear in the address book main window. You can sort on any of them except Contact Type Icon. I'm not sure what the phone numbers sort on, but those columns are useless for sorting.
If you have certain groups of people that you mail to one at a time, this is a good way to quickly find an individual. I use this method to find my tech support contacts. Never do I mail them as a group and finding the proper one in the midst of my 300 or so contacts is made much simpler this way. I just put "Tech" in the "Job Title" field and when I need to mail one of them I simply sort on the "Job Title" field and all the techs are grouped together and I can find the one I need with ease.
In order to add names to a group you double click on the Group in the Address Book and the group window appears. You can either drag & drop entries from the Address Book or you can use the Auto Complete feature.
If you would like to not have recipients see the names and addresses of others in the group, make sure you check the box "Don't show addresses when sending to group". This will fill the To: field with the "group name". Or you can drag the group to the Bcc: field and enter your own address in the To: field.
To create a message to send to a group, you choose "New Message To" from the tool bar when the group is highlighted in the main Address Book window.
You can move (click & drag) the entire group to the Carbon Copy or Blind Carbon Copy fields.
Now you have the individuals in the group listed and you can "Remove" those you do not want the message to go to.
If you want to send to just one member of a group you can open the group, double-click on the contact to open the "Contact Edit" window and press "New Message To" and the new message window will open addressed to that contact. Then you will have to close the windows behind you. An easier way is to use one of the little used fields, as I mentioned earlier. Go there.
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