Show ungrouped Address Book contacts

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If you use groups in Address Book, you know that you can sort your contacts any way you want. To create a group, select File -> New Group. Groups are like iTunes’ playlists; just select a bunch of contacts, then drag them on the group’s name to add them.

But you may want to find contacts that are not in a specific group, say to create a group to sync to your cellphone, or to find contacts that have or don’t have certain types of information.

Let’s use an example of one group called Phone, with the contacts that you sync to your cellphone. Say you want to find all the contacts who are not in that group, and put them in a group called Not Phone. This involves a little trick when you select items in Address Book. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create an empty group named Not Phone.
  2. Select all of your contacts and add them to this group.
  3. Click on the Phone group and select all of its contacts. (They may already be selected).
  4. Click on the Not Phone group. You should notice that only the members of the Phone group are selected!
  5. Press Tab once to switch focus to the Name column.
  6. Hit Delete, then click the Remove from Group button in order to remove them from the group.

At this point, you have a group called Not Phone which includes only the contacts who are not in the Phone group. It should be relatively easy to extend this to other combinations. For instance, to create a group of Miscellaneous contacts, create a new group, then remove anyone from the Friends, Family, and Work groups. Or, to make a list of your work friends, make a group called not Work and subtract them from the Friends group.

You can also use smart groups, then find contacts that are not in these groups. For example, to find all your contacts that don’t have phone numbers, create a smart group where Phone Is Set. This criteria simply means that the phone number field is not empty. Then create a regular group and call it, say, No Phone Number. Perform the above steps, adding all your contacts to the No Phone Number group, selecting all those in the Phone Is Set group, then switching and deleting those who have phone numbers.

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