Wascally Gwabbit: Outlook Add-On Automates Contact Management

This add-on for Microsoft Office Outlook quickly creates contacts in your address book from contact information in email messages.

OK, here's a product that's just too silly not to write about—at least for someone like me who is drawn to the silly. This add-on for Microsoft Office Outlook automatically pulls signature information from email messages and creates Contacts for you. That's not the silly part: the product is called gwabbit.

If that's not silly enough for you, check out the company's website, particularly the site's Dictionawy page, which features definitions for words such as gwammar. "The study of gwabbit language and vocabuawy." The gwabbit add-on was developed by a company called Technicopia, but apparently they hired Elmer Fudd to write the documentation.

So, back to gwabbit itself. This is actually a pretty slick idea—one of those things it's hard to believe Microsoft hasn't already built in to Outlook, when you think about it. When you open a message or view it in the viewing pane, gwabbit scans it for contact information. When it finds such information, it checks your address book to see if that contact already exists. If it doesn't, or if there are changes from what you have saved, gwabbit pops up a window—featuring the animated gwabbit wabbit—so you can choose to add the contact or not.

Gwabbit installs in seconds. In cases where gwabbit doesn't automatically detect contact or signature information in a message but you do, you can use the gwabbit button on the tool bar, which opens the message in a new window that lets you show gwabbit the information so it can create the contact. In my quick tests, I found that gwabbit's automatic detection didn't work too well if the signature information used any special formatting, but the process for helping gwabbit along was quite simple.

You can download a free trial version of gwabbit if you want to give it a try. I don't personally use Outlook contacts all that much, but I can certainly see this as a useful tool for sales and marketing people and company execs—those who press the flesh for a living. Or have Twitter and LinkedIn and all the other social networking sites superseded the need for maintaining extensive business contacts in Outlook? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

I don't know about you, but I'm pwetty sure I'm going to be talking funny the west of the day.

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