Do you have a 'virtual' Rolodex'?

Many of us have way too many of other people’s business cards, perhaps with illegible scrawl on the back, reminders of conversations, interests or people they know. Perhaps you’re organized enough to have a real, paper Rolodex. Well, I want a software solution, something to hold professional and personal contacts in a convenient format conducive to actually being used.

Features I want:

  1. Easy to access. If I have to load up a piece of software at home, or a website if I’m elsewhere, type in a password, navigate through menus… I’ll be too lazy to use it.

  2. Tags. Similar to or Gmail ‘labels’, so when I want to see everyone I know who I’ve tagged with, say, theatre, the names will pop up.

  3. Portable, either with web access or on a USB key, so I can keep it with me.

That’s the least of it. What do you use to organize your personal contacts?

Microsoft Outlook contacts. I never keep business cards any more. Usually in a business meeting I’ll put the details straight into my Windows Mobile Phone/PDA and return the card right then. So everything is in my phone or laptop, and it’s automatically synched with the server. Always have my phone with me, and therefore don’t need any extra device. Can also use bluetooth or infared to synch up with other people or pc’s.

Also you can put in tags, key words, photo’s, etc to make things easy to find. You can even add photo’s to go with the entries if you want.

If you already use Outlook, I’d definately recommend learning how to use the contacts function instead of going for another piece of software and/or hardware,

I use the Palm Desktop software, downloadable for free from It is designed to sync your Palm OS device to your desktop, and I used it for that for a long time. But now that I am no longer using my Palm device, I still use the desktop software.

It provides a calendar of scheduled appointments, and an address list of contacts. (Plus other stuff I don’t use: to-do lists, memos, notes, expenses, etc.) Contacts can be put into one of 14 or so categories that you create. And you can ask to see only those contacts you have put in a specific category.

I don’t know how portable it would be, other than if you had a portable Palm device or a Windows one. You might be able to put it on a USB flash drive to move it to any computer you are at; I’ve never tried that.

I would avoid Microsoft Outlook no matter what – it’s inherent un-security has made it the prime target for generations of viruses.

Highrise. Has everything you’ve listed, plus a nice to-do list with a slick “mail-in” feature. I use it constantly. The only contact I have in my Outlook account is my Highrise dropbox.