Special Tips For Address Book & Keychain

When I talk to beginners who have been using their Mac for about a year I find a trend that distresses me.  New users often learn to do a few things that are important to them, but then they stop and don’t experiment because — altogether now — we don’t know what we don’t know.

It’s one of the reasons I enjoy teaching beginner classes. I love it when someone says “I didn’t know I could do that!”  So today’s column has some of those “I didn’t know I could do that” tips that have come up in recent classes.  Maybe there is one that you didn’t know either and you will be inspired to experiment more.

And I’ll start with one that I didn’t know until someone else showed it to me.

Sending Censored vCards

This has to do with sending information from your Address Book to another person. First some background for those who may never have done this at all. Address Book will allow you to turn any entry into a vCard that allows you to send the information contained therein to another person.

To do that you click on the name in the Name column and drag it to your desktop.

Select name from name column and drag to desktop

The vCard would look like this on your desktop.

A sample vCard

Then you just drag that icon into the body of an email and send it to someone and trash the copy on your desktop.

But here is the deal. That vCard might have something on it that you don’t want to share.  Perhaps your note that says “She never gets anywhere on time.” You can create a duplicate card and send that. What a waste of time. You can delete some entries, send the card, and then put them back.  Equal waste. Or you can try this cool trick.

Say I want to send the vCard for the following contact to someone, but I only want to send some of the information. 

Address Book entry with top icon emphasized

Highlight the name, click on the small vCard icon at the top of the Address Book window and use that icon to drag the card to your desktop.

Close Address Book.

Click once on the vCard on your desktop so it is highlighted. Then hit the space bar. This will give you a preview image of what is on the vCard that you will be sending to someone.  

In this example, your notes, the assistant’s name, and his homepage have been deleted from the copy that you are forwarding to another person. Now you may be more comfortable sending to a third party.

Modified vCard

Controlling Addresses For Postal Mailings

In certain situations this trick can save busy people a lot of time. It applies if you have a Group Folder in Address Book. It doesn’t work for Smart Folders.  

As an example you may have a large number of people listed in a Group Folder and with those listings you have home and work addresses for all or some of the entries. There are times when you need to do a postal mailing that should only go to one set of addresses or the other.

Before you start the print process designate which set of addresses you want to use

  • Choose Edit -> Edit Distribution List.
  • Select the Group Folder whose addresses you want to manage.
  • Click the last column header on the right to display a pop-up menu for choosing the type of information you want to manage: phone number, email address, or street address. (red arrow)
  • Select the address or phone number you want to use for each member who has more than one email or street address, or phone number by clicking on your choice. (green arrows)

Sample distribution list

In this example my friend TS has a work address and a home address listed. The Address Book has automatically chosen the work address because it was listed first. To switch it, I just click on the home address and it becomes the primary address for this mailing.

Now you can instruct your printer to print all of your envelopes at the same time

Assume you want to print envelopes for 35 people.  

  • Load your envelopes in your printer. 
  • Open your Group Folder and choose “Select all” to highlight all the names
  • Choose Print from the File Menu 
  • Click the up/down box on the print screen that is located next to the Printer Choice Menu.  You will see this window.

Print style options window

  • From the Style menu choose Envelopes. The image in the left half of the window will appear, showing you how the finished product will look and it will automatically enter your address as it is listed on your personal vCard. Note you can choose to leave it off, or change it to another address if you have more than one listed on your card.
  • Layout allows you to make minute adjustments and Orientation allows you to adjust for the length of your envelope.
  • You can change the ink color and the font, and you can also add an image next to your return address as I have done using drag and drop from my desktop. You don’t have to adjust the image size. It is done for you.

As you might surmise, you use this same basic format to produce mailing labels as well.

Move All Your Keychain Information To A Second Computer

This tip is for users who are already familiar with Keychain.  If you are not, you might want to check out this article I posted recently to get an overview of what it is and how it works.

You can access your keychain on another computer.

Copy your keychain folder to a thumb drive. Select Home Folder -> Library Folder -> Keychains Folder.

Drag the Keychains Folder to your thumb drive. It will be a copy. Your original remains on your computer.  

While still on the thumb drive, modify the name of your individual Keychain(s) so there won’t be any confusion with the Keychains already on the second computer.  For example I have a main login Keychain that every computer has and I have added a credit card/bank Keychain that holds all those passwords so I currently have two Keychains.  I just slipped Nancy in front of each Keychain to designate them as mine.

On the second computer open Keychain. Select Add Keychain from the File Menu. Click on your thumb drive icon and open the Keychain folder you saved. Click on the first Keychain in the folder and then on the Add button. It will appear in the list of Keychains.  Repeat as necessary.

Keychain files from thumb drive being added to second computer Keychain files

Keychain files in place on second computer and ready to access

All of the Keychain passwords in place on your first computer will be in place on the second.

I hope you have discovered something to challenge your imagination.  Remember that you can always rely on the Help Menu if you get stuck.