Type-ahead is a poor method to associate a text field with an ID. Reason: If you have more than one person (in this case) with the same name, you'll have two IDs. Which one do you get? (Answer: The oldest in creation order.)
Better method: Create a list view with all contacts and allow the users to select the one they want from the list. Use popovers or tooltips to provide enough information so people with duplicate names can be distinguished from one another. Store the ID in a variable, then insert it into the appropriate field.
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You can define a value list to show an ID as the first, and a name as the second value. Format the foreign personID field in Contacts (I'm assuming that you only assign one (1) person to a contact) with the value list, and type ahead. Selecting the name will actually insert the ID.
This approach has certain issues, as in popup vs. drop-down, actually displaying the name only and not the ID in drop-down, type-ahead of Mac vs. PC etc.; so you need a workaround, or simply use a portal. Find attached a file that shows both approaches.
is there a better way to instantly pull a contact's ID when I've type-ahead identified that contact????
I think one question mark is sufficient to get across the point that you're asking a question …