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Pocket Address Book for Mac

Another tiny hack for my hPDA. Like my calendar, I prefer to keep my address book information in an online storage system. It's just easier to enter and manage data. BUT, that also means that I don't have my contact info with me when, for example, I'm at the post office wanting to mail someone a card, but I've left the address at home. So, I wanted to create a tiny portable address book, similar to what I did with my calendar, something I could carry around, but that takes advantage of all the info I've got stored on my computer.

Well, it turns out this was WAY easier than I'd dreamed it would be. I keep all my contact info in the Mac Address Book. It came with my computer, and it's perhaps not the most amazing program in the world, but it's easy to use and keeps track of my contacts. So, I looked around for a way to print out all my contacts so they'd be compact enough to carry with me. Guess what I discovered? There's a print function built in for doing just that. Once I'd selected the contacts I wanted to print, I just hit "Print" and it took me to a screen with options:

Print Options Screen

Here, I could choose the paper size, and choose landscape or portrait (each option turns out slightly different in dimensions). I decided to use the indexed option, which means that each page is slightly wider than the previous one, so I can easily flip through to the letter of the alphabet I want to view. There is also an option for a "compact" address book, where all pages are the same width. This would probably be the best option for someone with a whole lot of contacts - otherwise, the book's final width might be too large to carry in a pocket (since each page is wider than the previous one).

In just a few clicks, my new address book was printing. I printed 78 contacts, and it only required two sheets of paper. The sheets print out with all the contacts there, plus little grid lines indicating where the pages should be cut:

One formatted address book page

(Sorry for the poor quality; webcam photo, which means it's not clear enough to see the cutting marks, but trust me, they're there. The good news is that I didn't have to blur out anyone's personal information :D).

It's a lot easier to cut the pages with some sort of paper cutter. This is the one I'm using right now (cost about $10 at Office Depot; I bought it for doing craft projects, but it worked great for this):

Office Depot paper cutter

Here are half of the pages, cut out and ready to put together into a book:

Pages after being cut out

It was easy work to collate them, then I just added a paper clip (I might staple them at some point, but for now this works fine for my purposes), and voila! Tiny, perfect address book:

Tiny, perfect address book!

Here's a view of one of the inside pages:

Inside page

WHOO HOO! Now, I think I'd like to rig some sort of little plastic protector for it; something I can slip it into so it won't get raggedy from being carried around. I can use the backs of the pages to jot addresses someone might give me on the fly, and when I have enough changes to warrant a new one, I'll just print out a new one. Took less than half an hour to complete, and it's adorable, isn't it? :D

This will only work for Mac users, but if anyone knows of a similar trick for Windows, let me know and I'll update this entry to include it.

ETA: Page protector + duct tape (purple!) + card stock = handy pocket at the back of my hPDA. Yippie! Very easy to make; time will tell how well it holds up to daily use.

Plastic Pocket


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
Cool - I may just do that - I had a little bitty address book that I used to carry about with me but I seem to have lost it. This may be a nice replacement.
Sep. 15th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it saves a lot of time over having to copy all your addresses in to a new book by hand! Plus, it's just cuter. :D
Sep. 16th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Yeah, it is one of the thins I have really appreciated with the Mac (and which has converted me to thinking I will be unlike to ever have a PC as my primary computer again).

With Windows, I don't recall ever thinking "Hmm, I really like to be able to do that", and discovering that they have thought of it/made it easy to do. But it has happened quite a few times with the mac.

And Comic Life is the greatest program ever.
Sep. 16th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC)
What's Comic Life? (I know I could google it, but I thought I'd ask anyway). :D
Sep. 16th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
Comes free with new Macs these days...

It is a program that allows you to...well...make a comic strip. It will let you lay out panels, import photos from iphoto, run effects on photos/images, drop speech bubbles on top of things.

Generally you look at it and go "Hmm, kinda neat", and then you start using it and realise how a) easy to use it is b) how flexible and useful it is c) how well it works.

Then suddenly you find yourself using it for all sorts of things. I think all my party invites and home made cards will probably be created by comic life from now on.
Sep. 16th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
Oh wow. My son would love that. He's all about drawing comics now, and that would make it so easy for him! Plus, I'd like for him to start playing around with doing art on the computer. I'll have to look into it. :)
Sep. 16th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)
This is just too organised for words. That's so cool.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
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