El Capitan Contacts: How to Copy and Paste Addresses in a Single Step

| TMO Quick Tip

I noticed a subtle, but significant improvement in El Capitan's Contacts app this holiday-week Monday: if you have a full address copied, you can now paste it in one step.

It didn't use to work that way. In earlier versions of OS X, pasting anything into an address field in Contacts or Address Book put the copied content in whatever field you were in. That led to this work flow for me:

Copy the address (necessary for apps that without calls to Apple's data detectors in OS X), go to Contacts, insert the cursor into the street address field, and paste, as shown in the screenshot below.

Address paste the old way

Address paste the old way

Then, you highlight and cut everything but the street address (extra space included), and tab to the City field, and paste again, as shown below.

Step two, more cut and pasting

Step two

Personally, I'd then double click the zip code, cut, delete the bonus spaces and state, tab to the state field, fill that in by hand, tab to the zip field, paste, and boom! Address added in an absurd number of steps.

As noted above, when Apple added data detectors in Mail—and to a much lesser extent Safari—I didn't have to do the copy/paste dance as often, but every once in a while, you'd still get an address you needed to add to Contacts by copy/paste.

Which is what happened to me today. Only when I went to Contacts, inserted the cursor on the Street Address field and pasted, a magical thing happened: everything went where it should go in one fell swoop.

Address pasting like it should be

Address pasting like it should be

I'm fairly sure this is new for El Capitan, but I'm just pleased as punch to see it.

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Thanks for the tip. Always felt there was a way to accomplish this “in one fell swoop”, or should have been, since you can import a name & address from an email from that person. Does this method add the name also?

Bryan Chaffin

Great question…didn’t try.

Doing so now. Hold on.



No. I tried pasting into the name field with a name and address copy pasted, and tried to paste in the address field. In the first case, only the name field was filled out (with a first and last name in the same field :( ). In the latter case, the address was proper but the name was simply gone.


This functionality has been available since Yosemite. That doesn’t make it any less awesome (I use it all the time) but it’s not new with L Cap.

And no, in my experience this process does not add the contact’s name, it only parses the address.

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