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Looking for a no-frills contacts manager

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  • Looking for a no-frills contacts manager

    I was a long time PDA user in the pre-smart phone days. Because of I have no need for a smart phone and am really turned off by being so connected, I went back to a paper system when my PDA died.

    Of course there are pros and cons of going paper vs. going electronic as you all know.

    However, since going to a paper system, I have yet to put a contacts/phone number/address system in place. I don't want to use an old fashion address book, nor do I want to add every phone number I will rarely use in my simple cell phone - for instance I don't want to put my dentist's number in my cell phone because I rarely use it more than twice per year.

    I am not opposed to keeping my contacts in an electronic format, but it has to be as simple as possible. I started to set up a contact list in Access and it was a pain in the rear - way more than I will ever need. Just wasn't worth the effort.

    Any no-frills, low-brow, simple suggestions out there?


  • #2

    Do you just need it to store names and basic contact info? Or do mailings, labels and such?

    If just storing basic contact info, I use Yahoo for my personal address book. It works really well and is pretty no frills. Lots of the free email clients have a contact manager built-in. Gmail would be another. And I'm sure the list goes on.

    Hope that helps.


    • #3
      On the mac the built in address book is plenty for me. And I can choose to put it on most any smart phone if I choose to.


      • #4
        My solution is idiotically simple, at least for me. I am also paper-based, and work out of a personal size Filofax.
        I have always been frustrated with using any kind of electronic contact manager, because the fields never match how I want my info to display. And handwriting/re-writing is way too much overhead.

        After a lot of tinkering, I had an aha! moment. I just create a Word document with my contacts, and list them exactly as I want to reference them (which usually doesn't follow standard off-the-shelf formatting conventions or consistencies.) For example:

        ADAMS, JOHN
        Address 1
        Address 2
        Home Tel:

        Account number

        I print out a simple list to keep in my desk drawer, and also format the list to print to custom sized paper and print it out to fit my Filofax, which is always with me. Obviously over time, the pages gets marked up with handwritten additions/corrections. I can transfer those corrections/notes to my electronic document whenever it feels too messy or outdated, and print out a fresh copy (for me, that's only about once a year). Since for this purpose I am not concerned with making a file that can print labels, send me electronic reminders or do anything else fancy at all, this works for me.


        • #5
          Some ideas

          No frills? TextEdit or WordPad (depending on OS).

          Personally, I use Google Contacts synced with AddressBook. Gmail keeps track of many things automatically (I assume Yahoo and MSN do similar things) and the rest is a simple matter of updating properly. AddressBook is easy as pie.


          • #6
            Don't use fields...

            I keep my contacts in Outlook right now, but I have a suggestion, no matter which product/solution you use... don't use all the fields.

            I find that I fill in the lastname/firstname and then put EVERYTHING else in the Notes field. This lets me easily move things between solutions. As soon as I start using fields (address, phone, etc.) then if I want to transfer it, it gets to be difficult. Moving just a notes field around between tools has proven very easy so far for me.



            • #7
              what a brilliant idea! Simple, functional, elegant!