Synching Sharepoint & Outlook Contacts - Problem with Categories

Posted on 2010-01-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I have created a Contact list in SharePoint MOS and linked it to Outlook.

This works OK and changes made at either end synch, however I am having problems with Categories.

In Outlook I have created a range of choices in the Categories drop down menu.

Some contacts are allocated to more than one Category.  

I cannot replicate this in SharePoint.

In SharePoint the default setting for Categories is a single line of text and I cannot see how to change this to a drop down menu.

I tried:

'Create a categories column in SharePoint and create it as a choice column with the values you want. This will give you the drop down in SharePoint, then synchronise and I believe it should give you the drop down in outlook as well.'


Creating a new Categories column with a Choice list is fine, but it will not synch with Outlook at all.

The only column that will is the default Contacts column that you add through the Add column from site option. Even if  you change the names round only this one synchs.

I tried to edit the properties for the default Categories column but it was not to possible to change if fromSingle line to Choice.

Any more ideas....?


Question by:Jbiggs
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    outlook will only synch with sharepoint contacts columns that match the outlook OOTB columns so your kind of stuck there.


    Author Comment

    Thanks for that.

    Is there another any other column in sharepoint OOTB that has a customiseable drop down menu that will synch with Outlook that I could use?

    Alternativly, can I add some User Defind fields, evne single line entry, that will sync?

     Thanks again.

    LVL 51

    Expert Comment

    I think before you setup the sync you have to create a custom list in Sharepoint and add a site column to do this.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for that especially the link which clarified a lot of issues.

    I have created a Custom List with and there is no option to connect it to Outlook.

    LVL 51

    Expert Comment

    You have to connect from the Outlook side, NOT the Sharepoint side.

    Author Comment

    Where do I find the option for doing that in Outlook?

    The only Shareing option I can find in Outlook is for Calanders.


    Author Comment

    Can someone help with the issue of creating and mapping fields in Outlook to Sharepoint.

    tedbilly suggested above that I can do this form Outlook but has not responded to my request for details of how to do this.

    LVL 51

    Accepted Solution

    The links I provided give you everything you need.  If you don't understand the information provided I can't make it any clearer.

    Author Closing Comment

    A bit more of an explination would have been helpfull.

    Expert Comment

    I wish Microsoft made this easier too... I don't understand how they can make Access synching so easy, but can't seem to get Outlook items that are connected to SharePoint to do the same.

    Anyhow, I have the exact same need.. I came across this from another post during a google search.

    I tried it out and it works! Not exactly what I wanted... but good enough for now.

    To clarify on the link I included above:

    1. In SP 2010 go to a contact list (in my case I want custom fields in contacts to show in SP and Outlook)
    2. List settings... "Add from existing site columns"
    3. Select "Core contacts and calendar columns"
    4. Scroll down to "User Field 1" etc
    5. Add that field and click ok

    Now in Outlook (2010 or 2007)

    1. Enable the developer ribbon (go to outlook options -->customize ribbon -->check developer box
    2. Open contact form
    3. Find developer ribbon and choose to "design this form" button
    4. Look for the "Field Chooser" button (which is probably already open by default in design mode)
    5. Find "User Field 1" and place it where you need it on your form
    6. You can rename the label to whatever you want
    7. Yes, rename the column in SP as well... don't worry this won't screw up the mapping since when renaming such a core column you are only really renaming the label in SP!

    That's it... yes, I know... it sucks that you can't use lookup columns and fancier type columns from sharepoint... however, this is a compromise. You can implement checkboxes, manual value dropdowns, etc. as well.

    This isn't what I would like but its what I can get! Dam it... Microsoft seems to intentionally place these shortcomings in their software apps just so a side market of custom apps will develop around their products to address these annoyances!


    Marcelo Ramagem

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