When handwritten letters were the norm, everyone had an address book–or maybe a Rolodex–to keep track of all those names and street numbers. E-mail addresses can be just as hard to remember, so we need a similar solution to keep track of them.
- E-mail programs have an address book feature where you can record the e-mail addresses and other information of people you contact frequently.
- By using the address book, you won't have to retype an e-mail address each time you want to send a message. This saves time and avoids returned mail due to typing mistakes.
- With some programs, you can store multiple e-mail addresses for each person and additional information, such as a company name, telephone number, and street address.
- With most programs, you can create a set of e-mail addresses called a group. When you address a message to a group, the message is automatically addressed to all the people in the group. This is sometimes referred to as a mailing list.
- As your list grows, use the Search or Find function in the address book to locate an e-mail address based on a person's first or last name.
Contact lists are a convenient tool for managing all of your friend, family, and co-worker e-mail addresses. As technology has improved, many e-mail clients have found ways to make their address books even more convenient, such as including predictive typing. As you begin to type a name or address, many programs will suggest names from your contact list. This way, you don’t even have to open your list to use it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my contact list include names I never added?
Some e-mail clients, particularly on mobile devices, may include contacts from other accounts, including Facebook friends or your phone contacts. They may also add individuals you have sent e-mail to in the past. In most cases, you can tell your e-mail client to include or remove these additional contacts.
Do I need to add all the extra information (phone number, job title, etc.) to my contacts?
The only information you absolutely need to add in order to use a contact for e-mailing is the person’s e-mail address. You don’t even have to add their name. But you probably should. Everything else is just additional context you can include for your own sake. If you add a business partner to your contacts, it may be helpful to know his or her title. Adding phone numbers and addresses gives you one location to find any information that may be useful about the contact, whether you need to e-mail, phone, or send them a letter.
I’m using a new e-mail client. How can I add my old contacts?
Most e-mail programs provide some way of exporting and importing contacts. If your e-mail server supports contact syncing, this may happen automatically. If not, search your old e-mail client for an “export” feature. It will usually be under the File menu. You should be given several options for how you want to export the information. CVS is the most commonly used format and recommended if you don’t know what your new client supports. Once you save your old contacts, open your new program and find the “import” option (also usually under the File menu). Follow the instructions for importing your old contacts, and you should have all your old names available in no time.