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Working with Contacts

To see your Gmail contact pages, click the Contacts link at the left in any Gmail page, which opens the Contacts page, as shown in Figure 5.1.

Figure 5.1

Figure 5.1 The My Contacts page.

To start, the Contacts page shows a generic page. When you add your own contacts, they'll appear here, in the My Contacts section.

When you email a person, that person is added by default to the All Contacts section of the Contacts page. You can see the people you've already emailed by clicking the All Contacts link at the left in the Contacts page, as shown in Figure 5.2.

Figure 5.2

Figure 5.2 The All Contacts page.

To view a contact's specific page, click the person's name in the center column, which will display that person's contact page, as shown in Figure 5.3.

Figure 5.3

Figure 5.3 A sample contact's page.

Note that if the person's Google profile includes a photo, that photo will appear automatically in her Contact page. (If her profile doesn't include a photo, you can add one so that it will appear on her Contact page.)

Note that Gmail keeps track not only of All Contacts, but also the Most Contacted contacts—click the Most Contacted link to see who Gmail thinks you mail the most frequently.

As you can see, the Contacts pages are divided up into My Contacts, All Contacts, and Most Contacted. In addition, as shown in Figure 5.2, there are three default groups of contacts: Friends, Family, and Co-workers.

  • My Contacts—These are the contacts you create yourself.
  • Friends—A group of contacts for your friends.
  • Family—A group of contacts for your family.
  • Co-workers—A group of contacts for your co-workers.
  • All Contacts—Everyone you've sent mail to.
  • Most Contacted—The people you contact most often.

Note that Friends, Family, and Co-workers are groups of contacts, and that you can create your own groups, as we'll do in this chapter.

You can also create your own contacts, which will be added to My Contacts. See the next task for the steps.

Creating a Contact

You can create a new contact and add it to My Contacts easily—follow these steps:

  1. From your Gmail Inbox, click the Contacts link. Gmail opens the Contacts page.
  2. Click the My Contacts link. This causes Gmail to add the new contact to My Contacts.
  3. Click the New Contact button. This button shows a generic image of a human figure and a plus (+) sign.

This opens the page you see in Figure 5.4.

Figure 5.4

Figure 5.4 Creating a contact.

  1. Enter the new contact's name, email, and other applicable information as desired.
  2. Click the Save button.

And that adds a new contact to your My Contacts list.

Emailing a Contact from a Contact Page

It's easy to mail a contact—follow these steps:

  1. Click the Contacts link. By default, My Contacts are displayed.
  2. Click the name of the person you want to mail. The person's contact page appears in the right column of the Contacts page.
  3. Click the contact's mail address. Gmail opens the Mail Composer.
  4. Enter the subject of the email in the Subject box.
  5. Enter the text of the email in the large text box.
  6. Click the Send button.

That's all it takes to send mail to a contact.

Emailing a Contact Using Autocomplete

Gmail also makes it easy to email people you've added to My Contacts using autocomplete in the Mail Composer. The Mail Composer will suggest people from your contacts automatically when you fill in the To box. Here's how to get that to work:

  1. Click the Compose Mail link. Gmail opens the Mail Composer.
  2. Start to enter the email address of the person you want to email in the To box. If that person is in your contacts, Gmail suggests the full email address under the To box, as shown in Figure 5.5.
    Figure 5.5

    Figure 5.5 Autocompleting an email.

  3. Click the correct person's email address as suggested by Gmail. Gmail fills in the To box for you.
  4. Enter the subject of the email in the Subject box.
  5. Enter the text of the email in the large text box.
  6. Click the Send button.

Now you've sent mail to a contact the easy way.

Moving Contacts from All Contacts to My Contacts

When you email someone, Gmail adds that person to the All Contacts page, and that gives you perhaps the easiest way of creating a contact—letting Gmail create it for you.

However, the All Contacts page contains everyone you've mailed, so it can be tough finding the person you want. It's easier to move any contacts you want to refer to often to the smaller My Contacts page from the all-encompassing All Contacts page. Here's how to move a contact to My Contacts:

  1. Click the Contacts link. Gmail opens the Contacts page.
  2. Click the All Contacts link. This opens the All Contacts page, as shown in Figure 5.6.
    Figure 5.6

    Figure 5.6 The All Contacts page.

  3. Select the contacts you want to move.

That moves the contact to your My Contacts page, but note that if Gmail created the contact for you automatically, there's no real information about the contact in the page yet. To add that information, see the next task.

Editing a Contact

You can edit a contact's information easily—follow these steps:

  1. Click the Contacts link. Gmail opens the Contacts page.
  2. In the center of the Contacts page, click the contact whose information you want to edit. This opens the contact's page.
  3. Click the Edit button directly above the contact's page. This opens the contact's page for editing, as you see in Figure 5.7.
    Figure 5.7

    Figure 5.7 Editing a contact.

  4. Edit the contact's information, such as name, email, and phone as necessary.
  5. Click the Save button.

Use these steps to make changes to a contact's information at any time.

Deleting a Contact

You can delete contacts without any problem—follow these steps:

  1. Click the Contacts link. Gmail opens the Contacts page.
  2. Find the contact you want to delete and select it. Gmail opens the contact's page.
  3. Click the Delete Contact button. This button appears above the contact's page.
  4. Click the OK button in the dialog box that opens. Gmail deletes the contact.

That's all it takes is to delete a contact.

Setting a Contact's Photo

When you create a contact, Gmail tries to find a Google profile page for the person to take a photo from that page and put it into the person's contact page. If that person doesn't have a Google profile with a photo, you're left without a photo in the person's contact page, as you can see in Figure 5.8.

Figure 5.8

Figure 5.8 A contact page without a photo.

You can upload your own photo for the contact (which can lead to some pretty funny contact pages, depending on which photo you use). Follow these steps:

  1. Find the contact whose photo you want to upload, and select that photo. Gmail opens that person's contact page.
  2. Click the generic photo box (a Change Picture link appears). Gmail opens the photo uploader page you see in Figure 5.9.
    Figure 5.9

    Figure 5.9 The photo uploader page.

  3. Click the Browse button. Gmail opens a dialog box named Upload.
  4. Browse to the photo you want to upload, and select it.
  5. Click the Open button. Gmail opens the photo in a cropping dialog box, as shown in Figure 5.10.
    Figure 5.10

    Figure 5.10 Cropping a photo.

  6. Use the sizing box inside the image to crop the photo.
  7. Click the Apply Changes button. Gmail may open a dialog box asking if it should share the photo with the person you're creating a contact page for.
  8. If you want to share the photo with the person you're creating a contact page for, click the Yes, Suggest This Picture button. If not, click the No, Keep This Picture to Myself button. The person's photo now appears in the contact page, as shown in Figure 5.11.
    Figure 5.11

    Figure 5.11 A new photo in a contact page.

Now you can set a contact's photo anytime you like.

Deleting Duplicate Contacts

On occasion, duplicate contacts might end up in your Contacts list. You might forget that you already have someone in your list, for example, and add him again. Using Gmail, you can delete duplicate contacts with the click of a button. Gmail will search for your duplicate contacts, display them, and offer to merge records if appropriate.

What does it take to be considered a duplicate contact? Experience shows that even if two contacts have the same email addresses, that's not enough—they must also have, at a minimum, the same exact name.

Want to search for duplicate contacts and merge them? Here's what you do

  1. From the Contacts page with My Contacts selected, click the None link at the top of the center column. This deselects any selected contacts, showing you the original generic contacts page you see in Figure 5.12. (If any contact is selected, you'll see that contact's page, which does not display the Find Duplicates button we're about to use.)
    Figure 5.12

    Figure 5.12 The generic Contacts page.

  2. Click the Find Duplicates button. Gmail searches for duplicates and displays any that are found, as shown in Figure 5.13.
    Figure 5.13

    Figure 5.13 Duplicate contacts.

  3. Click the Merge button to merge duplicate contacts. Gmail merges the contacts and returns you to the generic Contacts page you saw in Figure 5.12.

Getting rid of duplicates can be useful as your Contacts list grows.

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