Blog Post

Address Book: Picked Last for Kickball

In today’s world of Google Maps, Skype, and iChat, it seems as though is being used less and less. I suppose it seems silly to keep your friends’ emails written down when all you have to do is shoot them a quick IM or give them a quick call on your cell phone. And don’t get me started on addresses… who keeps track of those antiquated things anyway?

I do.

That’s right. My name is Jason… and I’m an Address Book user. I love the way that Address Book holds all of my precious information in a way that only OS X can. I love how it integrates so well with many of my other favorite applications such as Delicious Library and Quicksilver.

The reason for this post is simple – to convince you to start using Address Book too. My plan for accomplishing this includes highlighting a few plug-in, scripts, and add-ons that I’ve found over the past few months that have made Address Book more than just a place to store email addresses. Instead, Address Book is a powerful addition to my arsenal of productivity tools.

Google Maps Plug-in
For those of you who keep actual addresses inside Address Book you will find this plug-in to be extremely helpful – and may even convince the rest of you to start keeping track of those addresses. Once installed, the plug-in does just as its name implies – it allows you to instantly pull up a Google Map of that location. But even better is the plug-ins ability to instantly pull up directions to that location using the address stored under your own name.

Plaxo provides a free service that securely updates and maintains the information in your address book. Although you can use their website to view your contacts, the beauty of this service is it’s ability to sync with Address Book. Many of my friends and colleagues are also signed up with the service so that every time they update their contact information it is automatically updated in my address book. And since your data is stored online it is available just in case your weekly backup didn’t run.

As I mentioned earlier, with the Quicksilver Address Book plug-in your contacts are only a few keystrokes away. For example, I can type in my dad’s name and be presented with all of his contact information – all without ever opening Address Book. I can then automatically compose an email or just choose one of his phone numbers that then displays across my entire screen for me to see. (Don’t worry, I changed the number)

With a little help from AppleScript and a plug-in found on, you can call your contacts from within your Address Book application. The only trick is that your phone numbers (at least for the US) need to be formatted like this: +1-555-555-5555.

If Quicksilver isn’t for you, then JABMenu might be another worthy option. JABMenu lives in the menu and triggers an action such as displaying the content in large type, copying it to the clipboard, creating a new email, dialing the phone (accomplished by running a customizable AppleScript), or showing an address on a map using an online map service. This one has a 30-minute trial and runs you a cool $10 for the full version.

Well, if these plug-ins and add-ons weren’t enough to convince you of the awesome functionality and integrative power of Address Book then I don’t know what will. This list is not meant to be comprehensive in any way but hopefully it gives you a taste of what’s out there and what has worked for me. And who knows, with your email address and birth date I might even send you an automated birthday message… courtesy of Address Book and Automator.

80 Responses to “Address Book: Picked Last for Kickball”

  1. Wow! Thanks for all the responses! You have mentioned some great Address Book features and add-ons that I’ve never tried and/or heard about. There’s almost enough to write a second post! And I’m going to have a great time trying them all. Long live Address Book!

  2. Jason,

    You are not alone. I find Address Book to be an invaluable tool. I have written some Applescripts that act as Address Book Plug-Ins. If you use Address Book and Google Calendar you need these scripts. They allow you to post a meeting or a call in to your Google Calendar using the information contained in a person record. More details and a link to the download site are in my blog at

  3. Dat's What's Up

    I love address book. It works wonders with my Treo. It will sync with other phones also. For those of you needing a sync app for Motorola/Sony Ericsson phones check out Scott Bender’s Phone Sync.
    Compatible with Address Book, Microsoft Entourage, Eudora, Now Contact and Palm Desktop.
    Recognizes mobile phones connected to your Mac via: serial cable, usb (with the appropriate adapter),infrared and bluetooth.
    Manages Greek, Russian and others non roman character sets.
    Ready for Mac Intel computers. – With this app. a host of phones can use address book.
    Just my 2 cents. (Yep I paid the shareware fee!)

  4. With Address Book 1.0, I enjoyed the autofill when filling in mailing address info. Now with AB 2 that seems to be disabled or at least I haven’t figured out how to get it back again. Anyone know? For terrible typists like myself its great when you don’t have to peck out ‘Wallingford’ or whatever, each time have to enter it.

  5. I don’t use QuickSilver; but I get the same functionality from Address Book with Tynsoe’s Buddy Pop. As someone else mentioned, you forgot printing features. I know a lot of people don’t use them, but I also use the LDAP connectivity, so that I can search Address Books at Universities and Government Institution.

    I also like, that Safari displays anyone who has a web address in it’s Address Book menu. Also, Address Book can be integrated with Eudora (if you don’t want to use, Delicious Library, and other applications. Not to mention a .Mac account and iSync can make sure that you have all the same contacts on all your computers—since my home office has five computers, this is pretty important. Two of the laptops only get used for trips, so its important that the new clients address is just there, without too much thought.

  6. As you can see from the comments here, “Less and Less” is a misnomer. I find AddressBook to be one of the most useful apps on the Mac. I have all my contacts in there, synchronized with the web and other machines and my phone and iPod. I love it, and it works great. The bluetooth integration that allows you to dial your phone or send and receive SMS messages is amazing…
    I love

  7. … and it synchronizes with Exchange Server! My colleagues often rely on my contact list, and being able to work with Exchange Server without help of Entourage (Microsoft Office) is a definite plus.

  8. My methods may be a little long winded, but hey, I LOVE address book with my Bluetooth enabled phone (Sony Ericsson Wi600) It syncs my contacts effortlessly with some extra info to boot.

    On Plaxo, I tried it for a while, but this post has me going to try it a second time. Thanks for the great post!

  9. One of the neatest features with the Address Book is the ability to quickly identify which address groups a contact belongs to: simply highlight the contact and then press the option key and the the various groups it belongs to will be highlighted. This is extremely useful if you need to check quickly whether it belongs to the right group or not, say your mobile phone list. I really really wish iTunes had a similar function where you could check which playlists a song was in. What I also love is you can drop a contact onto a group numerous times but it won’t duplicate the contact in that group, unlike iTunes and playlists.

  10. Hayssam Zakaria

    Yes, I like Address Book, too. It’s integration into the system accessible by any app is great. Try typing a name into voodoopad for example. Some mobile phones even allow dialing and sms sending/ receiving through Address Book. Just not mine, here Apple could really support some more phones. And it seems that Apple is opening the iCal format in 10.5, so I guess we can hope for some niceties there also.

  11. Daniel Wilson

    Include among these an amazing feature in chax (an ichat plugin) that allows you to use “nicknames” in the address book as people’s names in ichat. This makes your buddy list much more logical and visually appealing.

  12. Much love have I for the Address Book app. Clean, simple, fast (not perfect, mind you, but every carpet must have it’s bad stitch…), and with Quicksilver just dead easy to access.

  13. One more thing — Printing! Address Book has surprisingly robust support for printing on envelopes and Avery mailing labels. Remember that when it’s time to send out those Christmas cards!

  14. You don’t have to format all phone numbers in your address book with the ” 1″ to dial with Skype. There is a preference in Skype :”For numbers without country code use:” Just set this to ” 1″.

  15. I too, love Address book. It’s so easy to use. Thanks for the great plug-ins.

    On a similar note, since you brought it up, I’ve used Quicksilver, but not nearly to its full potential. Are there any good guides out there for it?

  16. And don’t forget the fact that you can sync it with every bluetooth enabled device that supports address book functionality. Everytime I change cellphones and phone companies, I never had to re-enter anything. I just sync it with my mac and go. I also have it synced with my ipod for when I need to look up an actual address and am not near a computer. For me that’s reason enough to use it!