The Contacts plugin provides access to contacts in the Apple’s Contacts. The plugin adds three actions, a catalog source under modules called Contacts and has no configuration options. Normally all contacts are included in the catalog, if there is a group named “Quicksilver” then only its contents will be included in the catalog.

With the Contacts catalog source enabled, a contact can be brought up in the first pane by typing the contact’s name. Quicksilver will match against the first name, last name, initials, or nickname; but not the company name, e-mail address, maiden name or other fields. If the contact has a picture in Contacts it will appear in the pane. I find the pictures help me to differentiate people with similar names (like various Johns) ensuring I choose the one I want. The ability to select on nicknames also helps particularly since before 10.5 didn’t recognize nicknames in header fields.

To see a results list of just contacts, bring up the Contacts application in the first pane and type . If the contacts’ order seems arbitrary, use the results list gear menu to change the sorting preferences. I usually just access contacts from the global catalog, but a trigger of Contacts (Show Contents) can be useful to search just contacts.

The contact specific actions are Show Contact, Edit Contact, and Add Note... The first two open the contact’s entry in Contacts in view and edit mode respectively. The Add Note... action takes a text argument in the third pane which is appended to the note of the contact.

With a contact in the first pane, typing will show a results list with fields of the contact including phone numbers, e-mail addresses, IM accounts, URLs, addresses, and the note. Both labels and values are shown providing quick access to this info. Typing will match just the label.

Text actions work with all of these items. Using a phone number as an example: Large Type shows the number in a giant font, easy to see to dial; Paste will insert it in an IM or e-mail message; and Spotlight in Window (from the Spotlight Module plugin) will find all documents containing the number. The same works for e-mail addresses and other items. By treating these fields as text, Quicksilver can integrate contacts with many other programs.

Here’s an example of the power of letting all the text actions work on these fields. First I have a custom web search configured for Google Maps with an abbreviation called “map”. See Web Searches for how to configure this. Select a contact in the object pane, to their contact info, select a postal address. tab to the action field and choose Find With... (usually fw works). tab to the third field and select map and type . The browser appears showing a Google Map of the address. The reverse works too. Select the map search in the object pane, choose the Search For… action and in the third pane select the contact and then type to select the postal address.

In some cases it’s useful to edit the text before doing the search. E.g., edit the address down to just a zip code and then do a weather search. In some cases newlines have to be removed from an address to be used in a web search. Enter text mode by typing . and then delete the newlines (macOS’s emacs keybindings makes this easy: E goes to the end of the line, D deletes the next character, insert a space and repeat for each line).

The Note value also acts as text. The Append to... and Prepend to... actions both open a third pane to enter text to add. The Add Note… action on a contact is probably easier to use than Append to… as it avoids the and selection of the note field. The Change to... action is available for text lines and not plain text, so it’s not available for a note value.

URL values work as text, but the default action is (usefully) Open URL. While it’s useful to treat the fields as text, Quicksilver is more powerful knowing the types of these fields and having specific actions for them. The Phone Actions plugin adds a Dial With... action to phone numbers (and contacts with phone numbers). It opens a third pane with two choices: Modem and Speaker. The first has the computer’s modem dial the number, the second has the computer’s speaker play the touch tones of the phone number which might be enough to dial a phone held up to the speaker. Unfortunately there’s a bug in B51 so it will only dial by speaker once, to dial another number restart Quicksilver. With the Bluetooth Module Plugin the Dial With... action has a third choice, Bluetooth. This should allow a bluetooth connected phone to be dialed from Quicksilver. There’s a Phone Preferences pane with options for dialing area codes prefixes, etc. As of B51 it doesn’t seem to do much (like strip the local area from the number to be dialed).

E-mail addresses in contacts work not only as text but also as the type E-mail Address (as seen in the Action Preferences), so the e-mail actions work on them. This includes the Compose E-mail action which will open a new message in the default e-mail program addressed to the contact and the 3 different E-mail Item… actions (Compose, Send and Send Directly). With a contact in the first pane these actions will use the default e-mail address. To send to another e-mail address, type to go into the contact and select the address (home, work, etc.) to use. Consider a trigger for commonly used e-mail addresses with Compose E-mail action.

I know several people named Michael. For to match their e-mail address with an Contacts contact, their e-mail address as well as their first and last name must match exactly with what they put in the From header when they send e-mail. If they use use Michael, I have to have that in Contacts too (this has been relaxed a little in 10.5). So I have to type a lot to match the Michael I want. I have similar problems with several Davids and Johns. Contacts has a nickname field and I use that, but before 10,5 had an annoying deficiency, the To: field didn’t recognize Contacts nicknames. Quicksilver solved the problem since it indexes nicknames; just activate Quicksilver and start typing a nickname until the contact object appears and use the Compose E-mail action.

Unfortunately, Quicksilver doesn’t index groups in Contacts, so they can’t be used with the e-mail actions. However, to send a message to several people, use the comma trick. Select the first person in the object pane, type , (comma) then type to select the second person. Repeat for each addressee. A small icon appears below the object pane for each of the previous addresses. Choose the Compose E-mail action (or one of the other e-mail actions) and a message opens addressed to all the listed people. A trigger can be saved with several addresses and an e-mail action, though it would duplicate the membership of an Contacts group and have to be maintained separately.

In addition to the Compose E-mail action, Quicksilver has E-mail Item… actions to send a text message or a file to the contact in the first pane. It’s the reverse of the E-mail To… actions described in the Files and Folders section above, it takes a contact or e-mail address in the first pane and text or a file in the third. It also comes in three variants: Compose, Send and Send Directly described in the Mail section below.

A text argument in the third pane will be sent as both the subject and body of the message. If the text includes >> then the subject will be what’s before the >> and the body will be what’s after the >>. Specify a file in the third pane to send it to the contact as an attachment with a short preamble specified in the E-mail Options preferences. See the Mail section for details. Use the comma trick to send more than one file.

Instant Message addresses function like e-mail addresses. All the text actions work but there are also two IM Account actions. IM opens an IM chat window in the IM program. IM Item... takes text or a file in the third pane to be sent via the IM program. The IM program to use is specified in the Handlers Preference pane based on plugins installed. Currently there are plugins for iChat, and Adium.

Quicksilver chooses default actions based on the type of object in the first pane. Described above is how useful this is for contact fields to be treated as text so those actions are available. Quicksilver also treats contacts as other field types (E-mail Addresses, IM Accounts, but not URLs) if and only if they are set in the Contacts. So if a contact has an e-mail address sent, Compose E-mail might be the default action if it’s ranked higher than Show Contact in the Actions Preferences. But if the contact selected in the first pane doesn’t have an e-mail address set the action might be Show Contact (assuming it’s the default).


The Entourage 2004 Module Plugin provides support for contacts and e-mail actions. The contact support is more limited than the Apple Contacts plugin provides. See the e-mail section for details about sending e-mail from Quicksilver using Entourage. See below for using Entourage 2008 with Quicksilver.

Install the Entourage 2004 Module plugin, start Entourage and bring up the preferences. Under General Preferences, Security make sure “Warn before allowing an external application to access the address book” is unchecked. Open the Quicksilver Catalog and under Modules make sure Entourage Contacts is checked and selected and click the (Rescan Source) button at the bottom. The Entourage contacts should now be in the catalog, though in B51 it does seem to be a bit buggy. If the contacts don’t appear, rescan the catalog.

Activate Quicksilver and start typing the name of a contact to bring it up in the first pane. There is a Show Contact action that will bring it up in Entourage. At least in B51 typing will not show the details of the contact. There is no Edit Contact action for Entourage. Other actions that do E-mail and IM should work for contacts as well. See the e-mail section for details about sending e-mail from Quicksilver using Entourage.

Entourage 2008 changed some things and Quicksilver is no longer able to catalog contacts stored in it. However, Entourage 2008 now has the ability to sync with the Address Book and Quicksilver’s Apple Address Book Module can be used to find contacts in it. In Entourage 2008 Preferences under General Preferences in Sync Services, check the option to “Synchronize contacts with Address Book and .Mac” and select Address Book (On My Computer) from the drop down.

Now Contact

The Now Contact Module plugin allows Quicksilver to scan for contacts from the Now Contact address book. Contacts found can be used as described above, in fact the Now Contact Module adds no actions of its own. Now Contact must be running for Quicksilver to index it. As of B51 there have been reports that this plugin doesn’t work very well or forgets about contacts it has scanned. Check the Quicksilver forums for help with any problems.


The BuddyPop Module plugin to add the Show in BuddyPop action for contacts. This action will bring up the contact in BuddyPop 2.0 or greater.