Contacts in Sierra 10.12.5 can unexpectedly quit

Apple – through its subsidiary FileMaker – used to have the best address book going, in Bento. When it was killed off nearly four years ago, I had to migrate our Christmas mailing list to FileMaker Pro, which seemed so unnecessary (much as I love FileMaker as a database).

Since then, many Mac users have struggled getting Contacts to do the things that were so easy with Bento. Like printing in the format that they want. Yesterday, I had a MacFormat reader’s question arrive, asking about printing from Contacts. Before I recommended that they use a third-party address book which actually works properly, I thought I’d like to explore potential solutions using Contacts in Sierra 10.12.5. I was shocked when I hit a whole series of unexpected quits: yes, printing in Contacts is so badly broken that some actions can reproducibly cause the app to unexpectedly quit.

The most consistent route to crashing here is to open the Print dialog in Contacts, and set it to Show Details. When you do that, the dialog should offer you the Contacts app-specific options, starting with a popup menu for Style.

contactsprint

Change that popup menu to read Pocket Address Book, and the bomb is primed and ready to explode. Change some of the Attributes, or the Flip Style, for example, and my copy of Contacts is simply blown away.

This may not be entirely Contacts’ fault: at the left of the dialog is the print preview, which I suspect relies on PDFKit, which has been notoriously bug-ridden since it was rewritten for Sierra. Perhaps it is my printer driver, although that is standard Apple-supplied with Sierra (and I suspect not even engaged at this stage of events).

So I will be recommending that this reader tries using a more stable and fuller-featured product. One developed by a third-party, not Apple. It’s sad when you can’t even get a basic address book to work properly.