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Group Address Book entries without using Groups Apps
I want to quick-sort and find certain Address Book entries, but I don't want to have each and every one of these sorts maintained as a separate Group. Here's my workaround, and it seems to do just fine.

Create a new Address Book entry with the name fields blank, and a company name of ' CATEGORIES.' Be sure to press the Space Bar once before typing CATEGORIES in the Company field -- that way, this entry will always be at the top of your list in the Name column (when in All Contacts view).

Now create a few abbreviations in the Note portion of the CATEGORIES entry. In my scheme, I use the prefix cat (for "category"). A shout-out to TextExpander for improving my memorable abbreviation skills!

Some examples:
  • catchurch = church members
  • catmag = all magazine subscriptions
  • catNC = a group of friends in North Carolina
  • catMac = all Mac or computer-related businesses
  • catrestaurant = all restaurants
  • cathotel = all hotels
I then copy and paste the abbreviation correctly into the Note field of each chosen member of the 'group.' This way, they're all tied together any time I type that abbreviation in the search field. If I need to remind myself of the categories I've created, they're always at the top of the Name column, and in any sort view I invoke while in All Contacts. As long as my desired cat... search term remains in the Search window, my 'hidden group' remains in view.

This lets me use Address Book effectively without creating a ton of Groups -- and a cleaner Groups list works better for me on my Mac, and definitely better with my Address Book fully synched to my iPhone.
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Group Address Book entries without using Groups | 9 comments | Create New Account
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Group Address Book entries without using Groups
Authored by: geoffliang on Jan 12, '10 07:58:17AM

great hint, to use tags in address book.

pasting under Notes won't work on the iPhone though. I can't remember if it can't search or it doesn't even sync at all. I paste it under nickname instead.



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Group Address Book entries without using Groups
Authored by: MJCube on Jan 12, '10 09:35:26AM

Why not just sync only selected groups with your iPhone? If you want to be sure to include all contacts, it would be much easier to just have an “everyone” group. I currently have 9 groups and find that’s not too many to sync with my phone. To me this hint seems like a messy alternative for something that’s built in.



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Group Address Book entries without using Groups
Authored by: stephenr on Jan 12, '10 10:55:21AM

Exactly. So many of the hints here are people reinventing the wheel for no good reason.



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One good reason - backup!
Authored by: Krioni on Jan 17, '10 11:06:32PM

It is possible for the Address Book data files to become corrupt. Apple's instructions for recovering can cause you to have to recreate each Group from scratch. If someone used BOTH tags in the Notes field AND Groups, it would be possible to recreate those Groups easily without missing someone. In fact, I wrote an AppleScript that looks for tags in the Notes field and creates/updates Groups dynamically. You could also use Smart Groups, but my script knows to CREATE groups from the tags it finds.

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http://www.danshockley.com



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Group Address Book entries without using Groups
Authored by: rgray on Jan 12, '10 01:07:30PM

Seems to me it is less effort just to use Groups. Meh!



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Group Address Book entries without using Groups
Authored by: davidduff on Jan 12, '10 01:12:05PM

manual copy/paste of a string into a notes field is fine if it solves the particular issue you're trying to solve, however you may want to be aware of some other more comprehensive and more elegant solutions.

for example, there exists an open-source metadata standard called openmeta, and there are numerous utilities that use it, including "tags" by gravity, among numerous others. using openmeta, you can share the same database of tags across multiple apps.



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Group Address Book entries without using Groups
Authored by: brightav on Jan 12, '10 02:57:12PM

Points well taken. The critiques help me get better at all this. Thanks so much for responding.



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Group Address Book entries without using Groups
Authored by: msilver on Jan 13, '10 10:14:18AM

While I haven't played with it more, I don't see the point of having the "Categories" address book entry. Otherwise, this hint is very useful.

I sync my Address Book with an account in Zimbra Collaboration Suite, and Zimbra doesn't work well with the "Groups" function in Address Book. This allows me to search by groups more easily in Zimbra.



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Group Address Book entries without using Groups
Authored by: jsamlarose on Feb 03, '10 10:48:50AM

Bearing in mind that this tip was intended to help avoid having a large number of groups clogging your Address Book display, I find it useful. Thanks.



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