Panther’s Address Book: Still not user-friendly enough

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
December 10th, 2003 • 11:42 pm

I’ve already commented on some of the improvements made to the Address Book application in Panther. But some things become clearer through daily use after a while.

Back then, I noted that, when you click on the contextual menu next to an email address in Mail and choose “Add Sender to Address Book”, Mail doesn’t automatically switch to the corresponding new entry in Address Book for further editing.

In fact, I’ve since found that it sometimes does switch to Address Book — but I have no idea exactly when or why. What’s for sure is that, when the Address Book application is not open, it doesn’t launch, so you have to launch it manually and then search for the entry you’ve just added.

I think the best solution here would be to have another command called “Add Sender to Address Book and Edit Record”.

I also find that it’s not very intuitive to have a contextual menu next to email addresses in Mail that doesn’t contain a “Copy” command. If you want to copy an email address, you need to double-click on the address (not on the triangle that causes the contextual menu to appear) and then use cmd-C or “Copy” in the Edit menu. I would expect to find a “Copy” command in the contextual menu itself as well. But even then, what you get is a copy of the entire “From” header contents, which usually includes not only the email address itself, but also some kind of name and occasionally punctuation marks such as the opening and closing <…>. Yet sometimes all you want to do is select the email address itself. This can be a serious challenge in Panther’s Mail.

Why would I want to select the email address only? The reason is simple: I often receive emails from online stores such as and For some reasons, these stores use a wide variety of email addresses to send their messages from. So I want to add all these possible addresses as alternate email addresses to an existing Address Book entry for the store.

There is no easy way to do this at present. The “Add Sender to Address Book” adds a new entry, so that’s no good. Copying the sender’s address using the method above copies not only the email address, but also the text around it — so when you get to the existing AB record and want to add a new email address, if you do “Paste” you end up with something like “ ” in your email address field, which obviously needs to be cleaned up manually so that only “” remains.

There really should be a way to make this whole process more convenient. In this day and age, with the amount of spam that we receive, it’s pretty much a requirement to add and edit Address Book records on a daily basis. (If you want to make sure that Mail’s junk mail filters don’t flag a legitimate message as junk improperly, one of the best ways is to add the email address of the sender to your address book.)

There ought to be a more convenient way to do this type of thing, so as to encourage more users to keep their address book entries up-to-date.

3 Responses to “Panther’s Address Book: Still not user-friendly enough”

  1. Will says:

    I recommend…

    Merge Cards CMD+SHIFT+

    Works like a charm!


  2. Pierre Igot says:

    I am aware of the ability to merge cards in AB, but that’s not the solution to my problem. My problem is that I have a very repetitive task (adding new records to my AB database or adding information to existing records) and Mac OS X requires too many steps to complete such a task.

  3. Will says:

    Oh, my mistake, sorry!

    From some of your comments it sounded like you didn’t use it. Oops.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.