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Outlook: Formatting Contacts List – Help Needed

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Question: My boss is the head of my company and a genius-engineer type. He must have his contacts in a book rather than an electronic format. Currently, I use Outlook 2003 and have created a contact binder with tabs for Home, Personal, Medical, Business, etc.

My boss wants several contacts from the same company to be seen under one company view (one contact name under the other with phone numbers under the master company header), instead of several separate views. He also would like to see the database sorted in different ways, but he wants more configurable views rather than the several choices of view from Outlook.

In relation to this, I have several questions to other admins.

  1. Would a skilled Outlook user be able to change the contact format and contact views into a more easily read format? If so, where could I get the training/knowledge (i.e., training CDs, courseware or live training) to do this?
  2. Does anyone know of any other database program out there for personal contacts that is very detailed, flexible and configurable? (We've already scrapped Access.)

Thanks for any help.

-- Karen Kosmoski


We use an information database called Sales Logix. You can have a customer with 3 locations and each location can have its on record. Everytime you contact the customer, you can put a note in the system to keep you and your fellow employees updated on everything you need to know about a customer. You can also set up activities with alarms on them so they pop up on your screen reminding you to make a phone call.

I would just use Excel for a short term fix unless you want to try the Sales Logix program suggested above.

The print formats in Outlok are pretty limited, but one thing you can do is export the Contacts data into other formats. I would recommend exporting to Excel since it's fairly easy to use. (While in the Contacts folder, choose Import and Export from the File menu. Follow the prompts - it should be pretty self-explanatory.) From there, it's a matter of having skills in Excel to format how you would like. Good luck! --P.

In Outlook, each view is only customizable by which fields (and in what order) are displayed, however you CAN sort and view your list by company. You can also view by categories (which you would invent to suit your needs). Whenever I don't have enough flexibility for report design, I always export to Excel like Phoebe said. You say you "scrapped" Access but if you have paid for MS Office or Suite, you might consider trying it again. It is very good for what you are describing and you can take a class in using it.

I use a software program called Filemaker. It has many uses sounds from your request something that may assist you. It can be set up to use in many different areas and it can also help. it it doesn't Excel would be a good temporary fix for you.

I highly recommend Filemaker. Go to www.Filemakertrial.com to download a free 30-day trial version to see if you like it. I have used it for 20 years. You can import and export data from and to Excel and then back to Outlook so you do not have to rekey everything. It is MUCH MUCH easier to use than MS ACCESS!!! You can change it on the fly and create as many different views as you can imagine. You can use it for the simplest of address files to the most complicated related databases. I used to use it to validate employee billing info from payroll to cross reference an American Express Travel coding and authorization database. You can password protect certain areas, fields, forms if you choose. I haven’t upgraded in a long time but it is my number one database choice. It automatically saves your data as you go and has its own recovery function. I have never lost any data. Excel calls itself a database but not it the truest sense of the word.

Try Filemaker, I think you will like it. It comes with many templates that may be close to what you need then you can modify them. I strongly recommend that you go through their tutorial. That is about the only piece of software I've done "properly" and I have actually taught classes to other departments.

Access is the worst way to get anything done! I suggest Filemaker as well!

We used the "smaller" version of saleslogic called Act!. I work for the same type of person. I was able to customize to our business. It has worked well.

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