Manage Contacts with Your MacBook

By Mark L. Chambers

The arrival of iCloud certainly makes it easier to share contacts you’ve already entered into your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad using the Contacts application on your MacBook (which is conveniently available on the Dock). But most folks don’t add the entire contents of their paper address book into their iOS devices.

Therefore, make no mistake: Adding a lifetime’s worth of paper-based contact information into your Contacts application can mean several hours of monotonous and mind-bendingly boring work. This is another reason why many computer owners still depend on paper to store all those addresses. But your effort is worth it. The next time you sit down to prepare a batch of Christmas cards, or you have to find Uncle Milton’s telephone number in a hurry, you will appreciate the effort you made to enter contact information into the Contacts application. Just make sure that you back up your hard drive. In fact, back up using both Time Machine and iCloud, just for good measure.

“But, what if I’ve already entered that information in another device (or another application, like Microsoft Outlook)?” Never fear, good reader. You can usually reuse that data without retyping everything — as long as your old device or program can export contacts in vCard format. After you export the records from their old location, just drag the vCards into the Contacts application window to add them, or import them by pressing Command+O within Contacts. If your old device or program can’t export in vCard format, try exporting information in tab-delimited format instead, and import the file using the Contacts application by choosing File→Import. The Contacts application can import tab-delimited text files as well (another popular old-school method of transferring data).