How to manage Windows 10's People app

Windows 10 comes with a contacts app, but it's not entirely clear what you can do with it.

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Bob Bishop asked me about Windows 10’s People app. “When I click on it, all I get is a partial list of my contacts, but no way of actually sending or receiving messages. So what is it for?”

People (the app) is one of three built-in Windows 10 tools intended to help us organize our lives. The other two are Mail and Calendar. They work both together and apart from each other.

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The first time you open People, you may get an odd subsection of your actual contacts. When I tried it, I got only the people and companies in my very limited Skype contacts. The really funny thing is that I don’t even have Skype on that particular computer.

Depending on where else you store your contacts in the cloud, you may be able to move them to People with very little work. (If you store them locally, you’ll have to move them to a cloud service first.) To add your contacts:

  1. Click the three-dot icon across from the word “Contacts.”
  2. Select Settings.
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  3. Click Add an account, and make a choice in the resulting Choose an account dialog box.
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If your service isn’t available, click Advanced setup to enter more detailed information. You may have to contact your mail provider to get all of the needed information.

People and Mail use the same database. If you have me in People, you’ll be able to bring me up in Mail, as well.

Getting back to Bob’s original question, you use People to get a phone number, enter a new contact, or update someone’s information. You use Mail to read, write, and send email. And the two work together.

And yes, it would have been less confusing if Microsoft had put them into one app.

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