Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

By and large, there really isn't a strong and specific recommendation that I have for everybody. Google and desktop email clients both have good contact management systems.

What program do you recommend for storing the many addresses we all have?

In this excerpt from Answercast #58, I look at several solutions for managing contacts on your computer.

Storing contacts

It depends. Gosh, it depends on how you use your computer, what kind of addresses you're talking about, what kinds of things you want to be able to do with storing all this information. There's just no answer. I don't have a specific recommendation.

I can tell you what I do, which is probably the closest I could come to it.

Google contacts

In general, I use Google contacts. I use Gmail and the Google contacts page to maintain my contacts and my information about my contacts.

Why? Well, in my case, it's because:

  1. I want to be able to access it from any computer that I'm on and;

  2. I want to be able to access it from my mobile devices - and since I use Android phones, the Android operating system (which is a Google product) automatically synchronizes the contact list on my phone with what I have stored in my Google contacts in Gmail.

So, those are the kinds of things to look at.

Email clients

There are wonderful stand-alone programs for contact management. Most email programs, the ones that you would have installed on your desktop like Thunderbird or Windows Live Mail or any of the others, have good contact management tools built in.

Windows itself has a contact management tool built in (or maybe it's now part of Windows Live, I'm not sure). But that too is another viable solution to this particular problem. In all cases, they all allow you to import and export information to and from other contact management tools.

I will warn you that contact import and export is one of the weaknesses across the board. It can be difficult. It can lose a little bit of the information that is not strictly contact related, if you have comments or random things that you've created for contacts.

Not all contact management solutions will actually import everything because they don't support those kinds of fields.

But by and large, there really isn't a strong and specific recommendation that I have for everybody. All I can say is that Google contacts and Gmail have done very well for me.

Article C5883 - October 3, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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