Creating Address Book categories

Reader James Aldrich is confused about Address Book’s Categories listings. He writes:

I am unable to find how it is that a category is assigned to a contact in Apple’s Address Book. I notice most of my contacts have one or more categories noted in the Notes section, but not all, even though the person is assigned to more then one group. Am I missing a step?

What you’re missing is the knowledge of how these Categories listings came into being. Most likely, those contacts that bear a Categories listing in the Notes field earned it by being exported from Address Book—either from your copy or someone else’s. You can try it yourself.

Create a new group and give it a descriptive name— My Friends , for example. Pack that group with appropriate contacts. Now drag that group to the Desktop. Double-click the vCard file that results from that dragging and Address Book will tell you that it’s going to import and update X number of contacts. Click OK and then select that group.

Coo when you discover that each of those contacts now includes an entry along the lines of CATEGORIES: My Friends . If the contacts within that group are included in other groups as well, those group names will also be listed.

Useful? Sure. You could create a Smart Group that gathers together those contacts that appear in multiple groups. For example, a rule that reads:

  • Note contains My Friends
  • Note contains Business

would list only those contacts who you count among your business buddies.

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