You know a lot of people. What can you say? You’re well loved and important. That means you are also supposed to know a lot of phone numbers, email addresses, Blackberry PINs, mailing addresses, job titles, birthdays, and many other bits of information. It can be understandably difficult to remember all of this, which is why most of us don’t. Fortunately, this is one area in which computers and smart phones really make our lives easier. This article will explore some ways you can maximize Outlook and your Blackberry to keep track of all that information about all those people. We will look at what kinds of information you can store in your Contacts and the fastest, most efficient ways to get that information there.
If you want to put all that information together in one place, Outlook Contacts is ready to help. Outlook provides places for over 80 different pieces of contact information, and allows you to define your own categories of information to organize as well. The main Outlook Contact screen may look familiar, but take notice of your ability to use the drop-down menu near many of the categories to store multiple pieces of contact information in a single category. Additional email addresses and home and business addresses, for example. When entering a new Contact, always try to include a last name or a company name. Contacts with only a first name will sometimes have problems syncing properly with your Blackberry.
Outlook also gives you a place to keep many less standard pieces of contact information. The Details tab gives you access to places for potentially useful information such as nicknames, birthday, and assistant’s name. Take a look at the information Outlook is able to help you organize and decide what will be useful to you. Outlook even lets you attach a picture to each of your Contacts to help you remember who is who!
Now, you can sit down and fill out a Contact for everyone you know, but you are a busy person and you don’t have time for all that typing, right? Though manually entering all the information you want to organize is the most comprehensive way to put it all together, there are many fast and convenient shortcuts to save the info you need while on the fly.
Let’s start with what NOT to do. You may have noticed that, after you have emailed someone a few times, their email address will start to automatically pop up every time you start to type their name. What was Mr. Smith’s email address? You start to type Smith, and it pops up. It’s like magic!
Outlook’s auto-fill feature is very useful and convenient, but it is not a good way to store information. Email addresses that are only in the auto-fill will not be available on your Blackberry, or from any other computer. Also, if you have problems with your computer or get a new one, this information can be very easily lost. If you never save the email address anywhere else, what will you do when you need to email Mr. Smith from your new computer? It is for this reason that you should add every person or email address that you need to keep track of to your Outlook Contacts. Luckily, there are several very quick and easy ways to do this.
When you are addressing an e-mail, any time after Outlook has recognized it as an email address and it shows up with an underline, you can simply right-click on the address and choose Add to Outlook Contacts. It will automatically pull up a new Contact card. Enter as much or as little additional information as you want (Even a Contact with only an email address is better than not having any information saved at all.) and hit the Save and Close button. It’s that easy!
You can also do the same thing by right-clicking on the name of the sender on any email sent to you.
You can also click on an email that has been sent to you and drag it to the Contacts button on the left side of the Outlook window to create a new Contact.
If you aren’t at your desk, you also have several options on your Blackberry for accomplishing the same task. If you work for a large organization with Blackberry Enterprise Servers, you may notice that, when you compose a new email, as you start to type a name or an email address, the second line that pops up below what you are typing says “Lookup:”. If you type the name of someone in your organization and choose this Lookup option, it will find the addresses of any person in your organization with that name and let you choose the one you want. This is great for those times when you haven’t already added people to your contacts, but need to find them while on the run. It is less usefull when you are looking for someone with a fairly common name. Using Lookup for Smith or Kim tends to come back with too many results to be useful. It can also be a little slow to wait for the Blackberry to search the whole email system.
So that you don’t have to wait on the Lookup feature and then search through the list of options for people you email often, it is faster in the long run to add these people to your Contacts. The Blackberry makes this easy. Simply select the name of anyone that has sent you an email or the name of a person you have found using the Lookup feature, click the menu button, and there will be an option to Add to Contacts. This will add the person to your Blackberry Contacts. The next time you sync your Blackberry with Outlook it will be added to your Outlook Contacts as well. (NOTE: Ask your Systems Administrator about instant wireless syncing if you don’t have it enabled).
Now that you know several new ways to save all that valuable contact information, you can worry a little less and have more information available when you need it. Happy contacting!