The contact list in Office Communicator (OC) 2007 has a very similar look and feel to lists in other instant messaging clients.  However there are some fundamental contact list differences between Office Communicator and other IM clients. I would like take this chance to talk about the structure of the OC contact list and provide some tips for organizing it.

If you’re an OC user, you may have already noticed there are two groups you can’t delete from the contact list:  “recent contacts” and “other contacts”.  Recent contacts is a dynamic group that keeps track of the last 10 people you’ve conversed with via IM or phone.  This group is similar to the cell phone feature of maintaining a list of all incoming, outgoing and missed calls.  After a clean install of OC, you’ll see an empty recent contacts group; as you start sending/receiving IM messages or making/receiving phone calls, the recent contacts group will get populated.  The recent contacts group is always at the top of your contact list, because we believe this group consists of the contacts you will most likely initiate a conversation with.

 

Although the group can’t be deleted, recent contacts can be turned off by un-checking the “show recent contacts” option in the view contacts menu located next to the search box.

The second group that cannot be removed from your contact list is other contacts.  If you never create personal groups in OC to organize your contacts, the other contacts group is the default group and will consist of all the people you’ve ever added to your contact list.

Now, let’s shift gears and talk about how you can organize your contact list.  You can do so by creating personal groups.  To create a new group, simply right click on an existing group name (such as recent contacts or other contacts) and select “create new group” option.

An empty group will be created, and there are a couple ways to add people to the group:

  1. Drag and drop the person into a group.  You can find the person you want to add using the search box located above the contact list. The search functionality searches across the company’s Global Address List (GAL) and your Outlook personal contacts.  I’m not going to go into details on search, but you can enter the name or email address of the person you’re looking for in the search box.  Search results will appear below the search box.  Then you can drag any contact from the search results to a group.  You’ll see the no drop target icon if you try to drag a contact to a group that the contact is already a member of, or to the recent contacts group (because it’s a dynamic group like I mentioned above).
  2. Right click on any contact and select the “add to contact list” option.  This will bring up another menu that lists all the groups you can add the contact to.  Just select a group and the contact will be added.


Since Office Communicator is an enterprise communication client, it supports adding distribution groups to your contact list.  This is an extremely useful feature for users who want to organize their contact list but don’t want to spend the time to search and add contacts. The contact list differentiates between user created groups and distribution groups by a group icon.  In the picture below, the “OCCC FTE PM Team” is a distribution group and has a group icon next to its name.

Lastly, I want to address a frequently asked question about why some contacts unexpectedly appear in the other contacts group.  Whenever someone adds you to his/her contact list, you will receive a notification.  The notification dialog asks whether you want to add this person to your contact list and the default group is other contacts.  Most people don’t read these wordy notification dialogs and will click “OK” to close it.  By clicking “OK”, you are adding that person to your other contacts group J

I hope you find these tips on managing your contact list useful, and I look forward to hearing any feedback/comments on your contact management experience!

Cindy Kwan
Program Manager

Published Thursday, March 13, 2008 1:13 PM by octeam
Filed Under: Setup & Administration