Help Me Manage My Contacts in Microsoft Office!

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I have been using categories in Microsoft Office (2002 Version) for almost a year now. I have several hundred contacts marked as investors and entrepreneurs. I really need to add all of them to a new “Distribution List” so that I can easily email this list when I need to. (I’ll of course use BCC: so that everyone doesn’t get everyone elses contact info.)

But this is where I stumble. I can use “Advanced Find” to find all the investors and entrepreneurs, but then I don’t know how to add these contacts to a new permanent distribution list all at once.

Is there any way to do this with Office 2002? Do I need to upgrade to the latest version? Or do I need to buy a third party email tool from someone like www.fairlogic.com? (I downloaded a trial version of their software but never activated it.)

I need to hear from my readers–how do you manage all your contacts in lists and easily send emails to large groups? I just don’t want to take hours and hours to add names one at a time to my distribution lists. It’s too painfully slow.

Should I dump Outlook entirely and use a third-party solution for contact management?

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6 Responses

  1. Trent Miskin

    There is a program called Group Mail that can import address books from Outlook and others that sends out seperate emails to each one. There is a Group Mail Free version that is good enough for small to medium size mailing lists which should be adequate for everyone. You can download it from here http://www.infacta.com/download.asp?a=mnu.

  2. There isn’t an easy way to add everyone in a category to a distribution list. However in Outlook you can send an email to everyone in a category.

    1. Select Calendar
    2. Select View / Arrange By / Categories
    3. Select the category you want to email
    4. Select Actions / New Message To Contact

    All the names will appear in the To: field. You can cut and paste into BCC if you prefer.

    Not the most easiest solution but gets the job done! There are a number of third party tools that integrate with Outlook to do the job much better, or just convert over to Act! which can handle many levels of grouping and integrates with Outlook fairly well.


    Jeremy B.
    [email protected]

  3. Josh Gowans

    An easy way to do it is to place of the contact you’d like to email into a separate contact folder (outlook was intended to be organized in folder format anyway) and then, when you have the new distribution list open, simply select all the contacts from that folder. Keep in mind that Outlook only lets you email to 100 people at a time, it’s an anti-spam thing. If you need to email 1000’s of people at a time, migrate to a hosted exchange. It’s the same environment as Outlook (you get a free copy of Outlook 2003 which is very nice) but with a lot of different features. Costs about $7 a month at http://www.1and1.com.

  4. Nathan B

    If you are already thinking of upgrading to Outlook or Office 2003, which I personally found to be a good move, you might want to check out the Business Contact Manager that comes with it. It’s a small CRM solution that works well for a singel user. That might be more complication than you are really looking for, but I hate having to move to and learn a whole new product just for one feature. You might also want to check out salesforce.com – I haven’t used it for a while but I believe that their products can import your outlook files and have some very robust contact management solutions.

  5. Gregg Gerdau

    Using Outlook Categories correctly is the solutionI’ve been using for many years. Follow Jeremy’s advice, but first make new Master Categories for each group you want to create. Keep it simple: VCs, family, etc. Then, view your contacts by category (Jeremy’s example) and edit the category column of each contact with their category or categories. Finally, when you’ve categorized your groups, you can drag the category title to your inbox and VOILA a new mail message is created that includers all the recipients in a category. Just keep the total recipients in a category to 100 and you’re all set.

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