Best Outlook Tip Ever

For the past year I’ve been beating my head against the lack of a feature in Microsoft Outlook. For the past eight years, I’ve been bashing my head against the problem of keeping track of my contacts.
A few months ago I signed on for a Microsoft Exchange Server account with Mail2Web, and that has greatly simplified my life. Now no matter what piece of my tech I am on – XP PC, Vista PC, XP laptop, cell phone – I can get at all my email, and the emails and contacts are synchronized. Hallelujah!
Unfortunately I kept finding myself arbitrarily adding people into my Contacts database. When I was using Mozilla Thunderbird for email, I used “auto-add” to add the contact information for every email I received. The result was a huge mess of email addresses, with some useful information but a lot of duplication. It required frequent pruning, and it wasn’t synchronized across my PCs, so if I accessed my work email on my home PC, it would add the new contacts only in that location. ARGH!
But recently I found, via the friendly folks at the Lifehacker blog, the answer to my problems. Using the instructions from this page, I set up a rule in Outlook that categorizes incoming email into a green “Known Contacts” category if the email address matches an address in my Contacts database. This shows up as a little green square next to the incoming email.
No more accidentally adding people multiple times! No more multiple contacts databases! No more duplicate addresses! Woohoo!! Between using the Exchange Server and using this categorization rule, my contact database nightmares have ended. Hallelujah!