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In the main addressbook I see contacts with email addresses. However below the main addressbook I see 3 other books: a 'Personal addressbook', Contacts, 'Collected addresses'. Within Contacts I have a list of distribution lists. Some lists contain addresses from more than one addressbook file. Can I move all contacts into one addressbook e.g. Contacts?
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Think of your address book like a telephone book. Normally, phone listings are grouped logically, by town or district area. How much more difficult it would be if the entire state/province was combined into only one big list.
You can move contacts from one list to another, if you wish. Left-click and drag a contact to the Directory Pane and drop the contact onto a different book. You can even 'select all' drag and drop.
Thunderbird has a default 'All Address Books' which is a virtual book that contains all contacts from every book. Isn't this what you wanted to do.
You can add a column to the contact list pane to show the 'Address Book' that contains the contact's entry.