The address book that comes preinstalled with OS X (Mountain Lion), called Contacts, not only allows you to enter typical address book information but it also synchronizes e-mail addresses with iCloud and the Mail application, phone numbers with Skype and address book information with Facebook for example. In other words, it is not just an address book. In this section I will show you how to set up basic Contacts preferences as well as show you how to add, delete, save and edit contact (address book) information.

Begin by opening the application called Contacts - Open FINDER, click on the APPLICATIONS folder and then double click on the CONTACTS application icon. Doing so will open the Contacts application window (Fig 1.11 below) which will probably be blank to start off with unless another application or piece of software has already added your own contact details for whatever reason(s).

Fig 1.0  Open FINDER, click on the APPLICATIONS folder and then double click on the CONTACTS application icon.

Once the Contacts application window has opened, therefore making it the currently active application window, click on its FILE menu and select the PREFERENCES menu-item. Certain preferences (settings) need to be set up at this point before I can show you how to add a contact for example.

Fig 1.1  Click on the FILE menu of the currently active Contacts application and then select the PREFERENCES menu-item

The preferences (settings) associated with the Contacts application are split into four Tabs (mini settings windows) with the first Tab being the GENERAL Tab. The preferences (settings) on that Tab determine how the contacts (address book) information (fields/titles and records/entries) is displayed within the address book itself. First Name first, Last Name second, in the United Kingdom format (UK style of presenting address book information) and whether or not the contacts (records/entries) are saved "In The Cloud" (via iCloud technology) or "On Your Mac Computer". You basically leave these preferences alone unless you do want to change the format to USA for example and/or want to have names sorted by Last Name first and First Name second.

Fig 1.2  The preferences (settings) on the GENERAL Tab can be left alone, as above, unless you have specific requirements for your address book information.

With the ACCOUNTS Tab you need to make sure the ENABLE THIS ACCOUNT preference (setting) is switched on (ticked) for the iCloud Account if you want your address book information (records/entries) to be accessible via "The Cloud" and other, social media and e-mail, applications. Using the ON MY MAC Account allows you to synchronize (get) Google Contacts into the Contacts application.

Fig 1.3  Make sure the ENABLE THIS ACCOUNT preference (setting) is switched on (ticked) if you want to use iCloud Account synchronization

The TEMPLATE Tab is the most important tab of all because it allows you to customize the actual Fields (Titles) and Records (Entries) for the address book. For example. You can add the PREFIX Field (Title) so that you can have Mr, Mrs, Dr and so on available. You can add another type of PHONE Number such as Home, Work or Private. And you can delete a field (title). To add a field click on the ADD FIELD drop-down menu and select (tick) a field menu-item. In this example the PREFIX field (Fig 1.5 below). To remove a field click on the ADD FIELD drop-down menu and then select (untick) a field menu-item.

Fig 1.4  The TEMPLATE Tab has the preferences (settings) on it that allow you to add and delete fields (titles)

Fig 1.5  Click on the ADD FIELD drop-down menu and select a field you would like to add to the address book

As well as adding and deleting fields you can also rename existing fields. If you click on the field called MOBILE for example you can change it to HOME, from the list of alternative fields (menu-items) that appear, so that you then have to enter an HOME Phone Number record (entry) and not a MOBILE Phone Number record (entry) into the address book.

Fig 1.6  Click on a field's name (i.e. MOBILE) to bring up its alternative menu-items (fields) and then select an alternative menu-item (i.e. HOME)

If you want to add an additional/custom field to the address book (i.e. HOME, WORK, PERSONAL, etc) click on the GREEN/WHITE PLUS button next to an existing field (i.e. HOME) and then select (add) a new field from the menu-items that appear. So in the example below I already have WORK for the WORK Email record and now want to add a new, custom, field called PERSONAL so that I then have a PERSONAL Email record. To achieve this I click on the GREEN/WHITE PLUS button to add a new field, which defaults to the next available field (the WORK field in this case), and then I click on the CUSTOM menu-item. This allows me to create a new field name called PERSONAL, which will replace the default HOME field, that will be placed underneath the existing WORK field (WORK Email record).

Note: The ADD FIELD drop-down menu in Fig 1.4 above allows you to add main, unrelated, fields such as PREFIX, MAIDEN NAME and JOB TITLE. So these can be looked upon as main fields whereas the fields just mentioned above, such as HOME and WORK, can be classed as sub-fields if you like because they are related to the same record (entry); such as Phone or Email. So to clarify. HOME and WORK are fields (titles) and PHONE and EMAIL are the names of the records (entries). Hence why you can have HOME Phone, WORK Phone, HOME Email and WORK Email for example. PHONE and EMAIL are the types of record in other words.

Fig 1.7  Click on the GREEN/WHITE PLUS button to add a new, custom, field (sub-field) underneath an existing field

Fig 1.8  Select (add) a default field such as HOME or WORK or create a custom field such as PERSONAL

Fig 1.9  Enter a name for your new, custom, field

Fig 1.10  The new, custom, field called PERSONAL has been created for a new record called PERSONAL Email

To delete a field simply click on the RED/WHITE MINUS button to the left-side of its filed name. With regards to the last Tab, the VCARD Tab, you can ignore it. The preferences on it are standard, default, preferences (settings) that can be and should be left alone. When you have finished with the preferences close down the Preferences window by clicking on its red X (close) button in the top-left corner.


Now that you know how to add/create new fields, delete fields and so on the next step is to add an actual record (entry) to the address book. In the example below I have since added/modified certain fields, but the actual method of adding a record (entry) remains the same regardless of this. So to add a record you begin by clicking on the PLUS button of the Contacts (address book) application. It's located towards the bottom of the left page.

Fig 1.11  The Contacts (Address Book) application window with no address book entries inside it yet

After clicking on the PLUS (Add) button look at the page on the right-side of the address book and you should notice a flashing cursor inside the first edit box of the record (address book entry) you are currently adding information to. In this case the PREFIX edit box, which is expecting me to type MR or MRS into it.

You do not have to type information into every edit box, but for those edit boxes that you do want to fill in with information you should use the TAB (Tabulate) keyboard key to move from one edit box to another. So fill in an edit box and then press the TAB keyboard key to get inside the next edit box. If you do not want to fill that next edit box with information simply press the TAB keyboard key again. When you have fill the necessary/wanted edit boxes with information click on the DONE button to save that particular record.

Fig 1.12  Click inside, or TABulate through, each edit you want to fill with information.

Fig 1.13  When you have filled an edit box (i.e. Mobile Phone) with information press the TAB keyboard key to move into the next edit box (i.e. Email Address)

Fig 1.14  When you finished entering contact information into this record click on the DONE button to save it

When you enter information into an edit box a MINUS (Delete) button appears on the left-side of that edit box's field name. This means you can delete that field (i.e. MOBILE) and any information inside its edit box (i.e. the MOBILE Phone number). This only affects that particular record though. You will NOT be deleting all the MOBILE fields, for example, for every record. So clicking on the MINUS button to the left of the PHONE edit box (to the left of the MOBILE field), either when you are filling that edit box with information or afterwards will delete that mobile phone number along with its MOBILE field.

You don't, technically, have to click on the DONE button to save a record as clicking on the red X (close) button of the Contacts application window will do the same job. As will quitting the Contacts application. However, to keep in good habit it is best to click on the DONE button.

To edit an existing record simply click on the EDIT button. The information for the first field (i.e. PREFIX) will then be ready for editing - The flashing cursor will be inside its edit box, waiting for you to rename/edit the information.


A part from adding contacts (records) to the address book you can also split contacts (records) into groups; such as Business, Friends and Useful. In this next example I have already created more contacts, changed certain fields to represent a standard address book and added some groups - I have named the groups after colours simply because I wanted to colour code my contacts. Hence why I have Brown, Green, Purple and Red.

To create a group click on the FILE menu and select NEW GROUP. A new group called untitled group will be created, which you should rename, whereby contacts can then be dragged into that group. In the example below I am dragging the contact (record) called John Cairns into the group called Green. That contact (record) will remain in the default group called All Contacts and will only be photocopied into the Green group. Meaning, John Cairns can then be viewed from the All Contacts group (by clicking on ALL CONTACTS and then John Cairns) and also from the Green group (by clicking on GREEN and then John Cairns).

Fig 1.15  To create a new group - Click on the FILE menu of the Contacts application and then select the NEW GROUP menu-item

Fig 1.16  To split contacts into groups - Drag (move) a contact (record) from the ALL CONTACTS group into a newly created group

If you delete a contact (record) from a group (by pressing the CMD and BACKSPACE keyboard keys down) that contact is only removed from the group. It will still be visible from the ALL CONTACTS group. However, if you delete it from the ALL CONTACTS group it will also be removed (deleted) from any other groups. Furthermore, deleting a contact from the ALL CONTACTS group will permanently delete it - You will need to recreate that contact (type its information in again); so be careful when deleting contacts. Saying this; you always have the CMD and Z (Undo last action) option of course.

If you are not interested in creating/using groups, and need some extra window space, you can adjust the view of the address book window so that the side panel (groups sidebar) does not appear. Either use the VIEW menu and select the LIST AND CARD menu-item or click on the middle square button at the bottom of the contacts (address book) application window.

Fig 1.17  Click on the middle square button at the bottom of the contacts (address book) application window to remove the groups sidebar

You can also import contacts if you wish, by clicking on the FILE menu and selecting the IMPORT menu-item, as well as export contacts; but that is for you to investigate! Unfortunately I cannot cover everything aspect of the Contacts application here, but hopefully the above information has shown you that you can have a digital (paperless) address book whose contacts can be emailed and shared amongst other applications such as Skype.

With regards to importing and exporting contacts (records) - You will be pleased to know that the Contacts (address book) application uses the international vCard (.vcf) file format, hence the word CARD in some of the menu-items. This means you could import your exported vCard contacts (Contacts.vcf file) into GMail or Mozilla Thunderbird for example.