Contact Database

I can't recommend getting your contacts into a database strongly enough. A database will ensure that you do not lose contacts from time to time as we all have. Instead, your contats grow in number. Contact databases include many features that make it easier for you to excel.

I use Microsoft Outlook for my contact database. There are other contact software programs that work similarly.

I create Outlook Contact file (v-card) for each new contact. If I am in my office, I enter the information directly into the computer as I receive it. I make sure to include website info and e-mail addresses. I create my own categories in the Master Category list of Outlook, and every v-card has at least one category selected, so that I can pull up a list of all contacts in any particular category, such as design clients, retail customers, wholesale customers, personal, etc. 

If I am out of the office, I preferably have the client e-mail the information to me, and process it upon my return, or I enter the information into my Cingular 8125 smart phone (PDA) and the information will automatically be entered into my Outlook Contacts the next time I synchronize. 

Synchronizing my contacts with my phone or phones enables me to always have the most up to date information with me, and should my phone be lost or broken, I have not lost any contacts and do not have to re-enter them into my new smart phone - I can just synchronize to download all the information.

I use Advanced Find to select one of the categories I created and then customize the current view to show my preferred fields of information. Then I save the search in the corresponding file folder in My Documents. I can print out the list to have on hand for myself or a colleague. Every time I go to print a list, I make sure to save the search again so the most recently updated materical will show up in the list.

To send mail, I open the appropriate v-card and select "Send Mail". This enters the correct address in a Word document, where it is available also for the envelope.

Outlook makes it easy to create and e-mail distribution lists for your group e-mails. And it is a breeze to export a group of contacts into a file for mass mailings and Mail Merge.

These are only a portion of the benefits of using a contact database.

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Theresa Romero
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StarOffice Organization Specialist
Consulting and Hourly Services
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