Before you criticize me for not just using web based email, I love Outlook for a couple of reasons to include contact management. Verizon is my DSL provider but I have never used the email account that comes with it. I used to use Hotmail until Gmail came around and I became a hard core convert. But, like many people, I have more than 1 email account and not all of them are POP so I can't configure Gmail to consolidate all of them. However, Outlook does that for me very nicely and on my personal laptop that's what I use. I have a variety of accounts that download into it and I have no complaints.
Except that Microsoft didn't build in an Outlook feature to automatically capture contact information provided in signatures and convert it to a contact in the address book.
How silly of you Microsoft.
You have no idea (well, maybe you do), but I have super heavy email traffic and it all comes with a ton of contact info which is very time consuming to cut and paste into a contact card. Often, because I don't have the time or desire, I end up saving email in a folder just to keep the contact info. Then I have to go hunt for it when I need it. I needed help and I was painfully aware of it.
Last weekend I decided to stop procrastinating and find a solution. I did a Google search for Outlook signature to contact converter (or something like that) and came across a few different possible solutions like ContactCopy, Signature 2 Contacts and gwabbit.
gwabbit won rabbit ears down.... here's why...
All 3 products perform the basic function I was looking for, take signature contact information and convert it to a contact in my Outlook address book. So I spent a little time comparing to see which one I should give a try.
- Cost $39.95 / 14 day free evaluation
- Highlight the contact info, click a button on the toolbar it installs and a contact card opens with the fields populated. Save and voil.
- A slightly interesting feature, you can click on an address and it opens a map in your browser. But, it's not interesting enough.
Signature 2 Contacts
- Cost $24.95 / Free trial but I couldn't find where it said how long it is for #FAIL
- Highlight contact information found in open e-mails, preview panes, other Outlook items, websites, or other applications. Copy and click on Signature2Contacts and the contact data is inserted into the Address Book
- Initially I was interested because there is a "Sync2 with Google Gmail Contacts" feature. I had difficult time finding good information about that on the site.
- Sorry, I gave up investigating because the website just wasn't doing it for me. I'm using Firefox and it must be optimized for Internet Explorer. I admit to being too lazy to test my theory.
- Cost $19.95 / Trial version 14 days, save up to 20 contacts
- Automatically scans incoming Outlook emails, finds contacts, and instantly transforms them into contact records within your address book with a mouse click!
- Puts your contact fields away in their proper place in the address book and even checks your address book to see if you've already saved a contact previously before re-prompting you to "gwab" it again.
It seemed to be just the email contact magic I was looking for so, I downloaded the trial version. It went smoothly so I decided to check out their Twitter and Facebook accounts to see what others were saying. This is really another advantage I appreciate as a consumer that the other products do not offer. I saw happy people on the Facebook page and tweets from happy users. I left a Facebook comment about gwabbit being better than sliced bread and sent a tweet of my own to let them and others know how I was liking it. They were very quick to respond with acute friendliness and courtesy asking for feedback on how they could make it even better.
Whoa........ they were speaking my language.
I could go into the parsing technology described on the website but you can go read that if you are really inclined to have to understand it. I am not. I am proud to be awed by the magic of it. When I click on an email and the little gwabbit bunny pops up and asks if I want to save the contact info I just click yes and a contact card appears for me to review and add notes if I care to. I click save and voil... it's actually fun!
There is something else you need to know if you are a BlackBerry user like me. BlackBerry App World carries gwabbit too! No more thumbing addresses and phone numbers - WOOT! They offer a FREE and paid version that do the same function with a little twist on the free one.
Can this get any better?
I wanted to buy the paid version because I was almost out of my 20 trial gwabs. There was just one thing left to know and truthfully regardless of the outcome I was going to buy it anyway. I had a question on using one license on two different machines because I use Outlook at work too on another computer. My email to gwabbit support was promptly answered by Laurie Shaffer, every bit as professional, friendly and efficient as the product, brand and website.
Gwab yourself a copy for your Outlook or BlackBerry and be sure to observe "Talk like a gwabbit day" the fifth Monday of every February.
Note: I was floored when I received the answer to my customer support question along with a complimentary product key, courtesy of Todd Miller for being such a huge fan. Trust me for all the time it saves, gwabbit would have received this product review anyway. The rest of this is CYA because it's always better to be safe than sorry:
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