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Even if you have a tried-and-true system for collecting contacts, problems can arise when people try to get around it. Someone includes their new phone number in an email or IM, or you’re handed a new spreadsheet of new clients, and all of a sudden you find yourself cutting and pasting like it’s arts-and-crafts time in kindergarten.
WhoPaste did a pretty good job with the utterly fake data in this email.
WhoPaste lives in your menu bar, and can assist you with adding new contacts to Address Book, Entourage, Daylite, Google Contacts, or any combination of those. It can also add new tasks to Daylite, Entourage, and iCal. You can invoke WhoPaste with a keyboard shortcut, menu bar icon, or from the Services menu in Snow Leopard.
Once you feed WhoPaste the new data, it does a fairly decent job of parsing the contact’s name, phone number, and other details, presenting you with a pop-up window where you can make corrections before clicking Save. It doesn’t work perfectly--when we tried it on email signatures, WhoPaste had trouble identifying data that wasn’t clearly labeled or had more than one item on each line. But when it works, it works well, even correctly grabbing and sorting web addresses and social networking profiles.
Preferences let you tweak its behavior, adding new triggers that will help WhoPaste recognize additional data types like street addresses or job titles. The options are extensive, but we wish they were easier to understand. The in-preference FAQ is empty in version 4.6.3, but you can find an FAQ plus examples at whopaste.com.
Scraping names and addresses from a spreadsheet is dead-simple; WhoPaste splits each row into a separate entry, and the pop-up Edit window lists each contact you’re adding in a drawer, so you can correct and save each contact individually but still quickly. It checks for duplicates before adding a new contact, and if it finds one, it launches that contact in Edit mode in Address Book so you can edit by hand as needed.
Even with its flaws, WhoPaste is flexible, easy to use, and a great time-saver. Power users will love its Automator and AppleScript support, keyboard shortcuts, and impressive tweakability.
PRICE: $19.95 for one user on one Mac. Additional users and Macs extra.
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.5 or later
Easy to use via the menu bar, Services menu, or keyboard shortcuts. Works with Address Book, Daylite, Google Contacts, and Entourage. Adds tasks to Entourage, Daylite, and iCal. Supports AppleScript and Automator.
Some preferences could use more documentation to understand. Doesn’t always assign data to the correct fields.