Basics | Plugins | Howtos | Applications

The contacts plugin

The contacts plugin adds functionality for managing your contacts. It defines concepts like business partner, person organization and contact person.

Business partners

business partner

A legal or natural person for which you want to keep contact data like postal address, phone number, etc.

A business partner can act as the recipient of a sales invoice, as the sender of a purchase invoice, … A partner has at least a name and usually also an address.

Stored using the Partner database model. You can see the partners in your database via Explorer ‣ Contacts ‣ Partners.


Short for business partner.

A business partner is always either a (natural) person or an organization.


A natural human person with a gender, first and last name.

Stored using the Person database model. You can see the persons in your database via Contacts ‣ Persons.


A corporation, company, organization, family or any other potential business partner that is not a person.

Stored using the Company database model. You can see the organizations in your database via Contacts ‣ Organizations.

Note how persons and organizations have similarities and differences. For example they all have an address and a phone number field. But persons have a e.g. Last name, First name and Sex fields while organizations have an Organization type field. See also The Human mixin.

The Partners table is what persons and organizations have in common. As you can see, this table contains both your persons and your organizations together in a same list. It is the union of both tables.

Why do we need such a union table of business partners? For example an invoice (one of the important documents used in accounting) must have a recipient, and that recipient can be a private person for some invoices and an organization for some other invoices. And (last but not least) in many accounting situations you are not interested whether it’s a person or an organizations, it is just some business partner who owes you money.

Lino applications can add additional types of business partners: households, employees, patients, beneficiaries, teachers, shareholders, …

Linking persons and organizations

A person can have a given role in a given organization and thus becomes a contact person.

A contact person is when a given person exercises a given function in a given organization. A contact function is what a given person can exercise in a given organization.

contact person

The fact that a given person exercises a given function within a given organization.

The Contact persons panel of an organization’s detail window shows the contact persons of this organization. The Is contact for panel of a person’s detail window shows the organizations where this person exercises a function.

Contact person entries are stored using the Role database model.

contact function

A function that a person can exercise in an organization. Represented by RoleType.

signer function

A contact function that has can_sign set to True.

A contact person exercising a signer function is allowed to sign business documents. See Partner.get_signers().

Quickly finding a partner

In a partners table you can quick-search for the primary phone number.

A special type of quick search is when the search string starts with “#”. In that case you get the partner with that primary key.

This behaviour is the same for all subclasses of Partner, e.g. for persons and for organizations.

Setting the site operator

Check whether you want Lino to know who is the site operator. For example when you issue a sales invoice, Lino will use this to print your address and contact data on the invoice. See How to specify the site operator.