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Plaxo Setup Guide

Plaxo Setup Guide

Here is a simple guide (with hints and tips) to setting up a new account on Plaxo.

First, a little background... I've been using Plaxo since October 2003. I've found it increasingly useful - so much so that now I'm evangelising it to my work colleagues, friends and even family. I use Plaxo as a unified address book. When other Plaxo users, that are in my own address book, update their contact details I get their new details in my address book automatically. So, it's a great labour saving device. That's why I'm so keen to get all my contacts using it - so I never have to type out a new or updated email address, phone number, postal address, etc, etc. It's what technology should be used for.

Plaxo syncing works on multiple platforms. I run Mac and Windows environments. When I update or add a contact either on my Mac, Windows box or the Plaxo website the information gets mirrored in all environments - nice. It also syncs calendars but I haven't played with those yet. The beauty of Plaxo is how it integrates seamlessly with the environments I work on.

Plaxo recently added Pulse to their service. This enables you to track what all your contacts are doing. It's kind of social networking sort of. I don't use it much. I just hope that Plaxo continue to expand the number of platforms and applications that'll work live with Plaxo address book syncing - such as mobile phones and UNIX OSes and apps. While I'm hoping for things I also hope that CardDAV is developed and takes off so that we can do this kind of syncing without the need for an intermediary - but in the meantime Plaxo is the best I've found...

  • First make sure you've looked around http://www.plaxo.com and seen what it's all about.

  • When you're happy sign up at http://www.plaxo.com/signup

  • Enter the email address that you want to be associated with this account - you can change this address at any time after you've signed up. After you've signed up to can opt to sign in with your AIM, OpenID or Yahoo IDs if you prefer too.

  • The next page asks you for more details. Please enter your name with the first letter being a Capital and the following lowercase - yes, I know that's normal but some people don't. Enter a birth date that makes you older than 13 - of course it's up to you if you provide the correct details or not.

  • Choose "Plaxo Basic" as that will be fine for your initial use. You can turn your account into "Plaxo Premium" anytime you wish if you need the extra features. You'll then get a verification email and be sent to the signing in page.

  • Once you've signed in you'll be told to "Find the people you know on Plaxo" so you can import contacts. I'd avoid this at this stage until you've got the hang of the system. You can always add these "sync points" later on.

  • Go straight to editing your profile: http://pulse.plaxo.com/pulse/manageProfile

  • Please note phone number formatting: For conventions sake please write your phone numbers as a full international number like "+447814728381" or "+46 8 544 777 71" or "+1 831 2380902". Looking around the web for best practices it seems that the use of brackets - like "(0)" - and dashes is discouraged. Spaces seem fine. That way we can get our systems to work better - using standards.

  • Please add a photo - it really helps to remember who you are - I'm terrible with names.

  • A note on how your contact information gets seen. At the bottom of the professional (work) and personal (home) profile tabs you'll see "Who do you want to see your information?" If you choose "All Plaxo Members" then everybody that has your email address(es) in their address book will instantly see your contact details come up in their address book - this may or may not be desirable. To have a bit more control you can select Business, Friends or Family categories or any combination thereof. Later on you'll see that you can invite people as Business, Friends or Family contacts and so the information they see depends on how you permission your work and home contact details. Get it?

  • Now you have many choices. But the main one is how to connect to other people. You can send out individual invites or you can upload part or all of your address book or you can go the whole hog and download the Plaxo plugins for local address book. The real power and usefulness of Plaxo comes when contact details automatically sync. But be warned: BACKUP YOUR LOCAL ADDRESS BOOK EVERY DAY. That's _EVERY DAY_. Or whenever you make changes. Accidents do happen (I know) and it pays to be prudent if not a little over paranoid.

  • I strongly suggest you disable the "Automatically accept updated information in my address book" checkbox in Plaxo's Address Book settings as you may loose information by letting the owner of the card overwrite it: "If you automatically accept updated information, your contacts' updated information will be inserted into your address book and you will be notified by a Plaxo Alert. If you disable this preference, a Plaxo Alert will ask you to confirm the new information from your contact before updating your address book, allowing you to approve and preview changes before they are made."

  • I'm happy to help if you get stuck. Just Skype me. My Skype details are in my Plaxo card!