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SharePoint 2010 - Synchronizing SharePoint Content with Outlook 2010
This article explains how to synchronize SharePoint content with Outlook and how to work with that content in Outlook.
You can synchronize a SharePoint library, contact list, task list and calendar with Microsoft Outlook 2010. Because many SharePoint users also use Outlook 2010 to collaborate and coordinate activities and projects, the ability to synchronize these libraries and lists can help you become more efficient, especially if you work offline.
To synchronize these libraries and lists, you must have Outlook 2010 installed on your client computer and you must have Collaborate permission to the library or list.
Synchronize a SharePoint list or library with Outlook 2010
- Navigate to the SharePoint site containing the list or library that you want to synchronize.
- Click the name of the list or library on the Quick Launch, or click Site Actions and then click View All Site Content
- On the All Site Content page, click the name of the list or library.
- In the ribbon, on the list or library tab, in the Connect & Export group, click Connect to Outlook.
- When prompted to open a program on your computer, click Allow.
- If you are prompted to confirm the operation, click Yes.
Working with a synchronized document library
Once you synchronize a library, the library appears as a folder in the Outlook Navigation Pane under SharePoint Lists.
When you use Instant Search, Outlook searches all the synchronized SharePoint documents. Document previews in the Outlook Reading Pane enable you to easily browse through search results. You may find opening and saving changes to SharePoint documents from Outlook faster and more convenient. You can then preview, edit, and manage documents in the SharePoint library from within Outlook. You can also take the libraries offline, work with the Office files in the library, bring them back online, and then synchronize the changes.
This synchronization is one-way or unidirectional for Office files. Changes made to files in the SharePoint library can be downloaded to Outlook, but you cannot make changes to non-Office files in Outlook and upload them back to the SharePoint library. If you work with Outlook offline, you can edit Office files, such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. When you come back online, you can upload your changes to the SharePoint library. However, Outlook does not track changes made to these Office files made in the SharePoint library. For best results, check out these files first, if you intend to make offline changes to them in Outlook.
If the library has sub-folders and you want to have access to all of the files in Outlook, view the library at its top level and then connect it to Outlook. By default, if you are in a sub-folder of a library, and then connect the library to Outlook, only the contents of that folder are connected. To access only the contents of a single folder in Outlook, there are two options. If the folder that contains files that you want to access in Outlook is not open, point to the folder, click the Open Menu arrow that appears, and then click Connect to Outlook. If the folder that you want to connect is already open, follow the steps to connect a library.
After you connect a library to Outlook, you can invite other team members to connect to the library. Right-click the library name in Outlook, and then click Share This Folder.
Working with a synchronized contact list
You can synchronize a SharePoint contact list between Outlook 2010 and SharePoint 2010. This enables you to store, share, and manage SharePoint contacts more efficiently in Outlook. You can also take the contact list offline, work with the contacts, bring them back online, and then synchronize them either from Outlook 2010 or SharePoint 2010.
From Outlook 2010, the synchronized SharePoint contact list works just like other Outlook contact folders. You can view, edit, print the contacts. You can send them email messages and meeting requests, use color categories, store multiple phone numbers and email addresses, and include contact photos, Electronic Business Cards, as well as birthday and anniversary information.
This contact list synchronization is two-way or bi-directional. Changes made in Outlook to these contacts are automatically synchronized with the SharePoint Contact list. Changes made to the SharePoint Contact list are automatically synchronized with the contacts in Outlook.
When you open a SharePoint contact in Outlook or open the Contact list in SharePoint 2010, you see the latest changes. If changes are made to the contact in Outlook while the SharePoint Contact list is opened, you must refresh the browser to see the latest changes in the SharePoint list. If changes are made to the SharePoint Contact list while the contact is opened in Outlook, you must use the Send/Receive command to see the latest changes in the Outlook contact.
Working with a synchronized task list
You can synchronize a SharePoint task list between Outlook 2010 and SharePoint 2010. You can work with both a standard task list and project task list, which is similar to a standard tasks list, except that a project tasks list provides a graphical display of the task items, called a Gantt view. You can also take a task list offline, work with the tasks in the list, bring them back online, and then synchronize them from Outlook.
The contents of the synchronized task list appear under Other Tasks in the Navigation Pane and are consolidated in the To-Do Bar. To track the status, progress, and history of your projects, you and team members can create, assign, update, respond to, and delete tasks when working in your respective Outlook folders.
You can also apply flags and categories to your synchronized tasks as you do with your Outlook tasks. The flags and categories do not appear on the SharePoint site, but the flags and categories are available when you work with your synchronized tasks in Outlook. SharePoint task notifications are also fully integrated with tasks and calendars, and you can choose settings to automatically generate notification email messages and reminders.
This task list synchronization is two-way or bi-directional. Changes made in Outlook to these tasks are automatically synchronized with the SharePoint Task list or Project Task list. Changes made to the SharePoint Task list or Project Task list are automatically synchronized with the tasks in Outlook. When you open the task in Outlook, or open the SharePoint Task list or Project Task list in SharePoint 2010, you see the latest changes.
If changes are made to the task in Outlook while the SharePoint Task list is opened, you must refresh the browser to see the latest changes in the list. If changes are made to the SharePoint Task list while the task is opened in Outlook, you must use the Send/Receive command to see the latest changes in the Outlook task.
Working with a synchronized external list
If your site administrator has created an external list you may be able to synchronize this SharePoint external list between Outlook 2010 and SharePoint 2010. A SharePoint external list is created by using Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in SharePoint Designer 2010, and can contain read/write access to Line-of-Business data from data sources, such as SQL Server or SAP.
When you create an external content type in SharePoint Designer 2010, you can map it to a native Office item type such as a contact or task so that the external data looks and behaves just like a contact or task item in Outlook. For example, suppose that your external data is a list of customers and you want to display that external data in Outlook. Because the data for customers closely resembles contacts in Outlook, you can map that external content type to the contact item in Outlook. After you connect the external list to Outlook by using the Connect to Outlook command, you can create, update, and delete the external data directly from Outlook just as you would create and update your Outlook contacts and tasks.