Microsoft Outlook (every version) has just three address fields. Some users need more fields:
Email addresses are used for more than sending emails. They are also used by the social connector to bring together all information about a contact. Why are contact’s limited to 3 addresses? There should be room for an unlimited number of email addresses per contact. Until this is rectified by Microsoft, how can I work around the problem?
Many of the users who want more address fields are really looking for a place to save all of their own addresses, not because they want to save more addresses associated with their friends. With an e-reader, a cell phone, and other devices, many users have a lot of addresses, many of which are rarely used (and easily forgotten.)
Addresses that are used frequently should have their own contact with a unique name, such as “My Kindle”. Outlook won’t try to merge the new contact with your existing contact and makes the contact easier to find. You also won’t risk including the address if you send someone your vcard.
If you don’t use an address but need it for reference, use notes, either in the Contact’s note field or an Outlook Note (aka “sticky note”). The addresses won’t display in the address book (and on smartphones) but are easy to find. The addresses are hyperlinked, so if you need to send a message to the address, you can click on it. You’ll also be able to add server names, passwords, and other notes with the address.
Another reason people want more email address fields is because they want to save the addresses for parents and their kids together on one contact. I prefer using the notes field for these addresses so I don’t accidentally choose the wrong address from my address book, or separate contact forms if I will send email to the spouse or kids, but many users want to avoid using separate contact forms for family members. There is no good solution for “family contacts”. We recommend creating separate contacts for each family member and linking them to the parents using Contact linking.
The social connector doesn’t use contacts to pull social networking data so you don’t need to have all of your friends and colleagues email addresses in Outlook. It uses your social network account, your friends list, and the privacy settings on your friends account in deciding what gets displayed in Outlook. For example, if your coworker wants you to see his Facebook feed, he needs to add his business addresses to his Facebook profile and then friend you or reduce his privacy settings. Adding more addresses to his contact won’t change what he allows you to see, it only adds more addresses to the Address book list.
Solution: Custom template
Rather than waiting for Microsoft to create a new Contact form with more than 3 address fields, customize the form yourself. This won’t work for addresses you want displayed in the address book as Outlook doesn’t have an email address control (you’ll use textboxes for address fields), but it’s great for storing addresses you need for reference purposes.
Creating a customized form is easy, or we have a customized “Owners Contact” available for download here. This form adds a new page to a contact form called Additional Addresses and has space for 10 addresses and notes for each address. I tested it in Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 but it should work in all versions.
Save the template to the Template folder then open it using the Open form dialog in Outlook. To use the custom form, go to Outlook 2010′s Home tab, click New Items, click More Items or older version’s Tools, Forms menu, and then click Choose Form. In the Look In list, click User Templates in the File System, and then select and open the template. If you publish the form in Outlook, the form will be listed on the New items, Custom forms menu when viewing the Contact folders (or Actions menu in older versions).
In Windows 7 and Vista, the template folder is at %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates
In Windows XP, templates are at %USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
You can type or paste the path in the Save as dialog (and press Enter) to save the template to the templates folder.
What do you think? Should there be more email address fields on contacts? We created a poll to find out what the user community thinks. Share your thoughts.
As always, this “highly unscientific” poll does not require registration to vote. You will need to register if you want to add comments.