Outlook Synchronization and working with Tasks and Appointments


For troubleshooting and to prevent duplication of contacts and to-do’s in Dynamics NAV, CSS sometimes request you to clear the contents from the main Calendar, Contacts and main Tasks folders before the next Full Synchronization. As a result of this, the synchronized to-do’s may not show up or may show up as closed entries. For the Contacts folders assigned to the Outlook Synchronization, this is not a problem. After the next Full Synchronization, the contacts show up again. For the to-do’s, this may become an issue.

To prevent this, we now recommend before a Full Synchronization attempt, to switch the Synch. Direction for the APP and TASK entity from Bidirectional to Microsoft Dynamics NAV to Outlook. The Outlook Synch User Setup may look like this.

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If there are many items to synchronize during a Full Synchronization, it is a best practice to limit the data to be synchronized all at once and perform a couple of Full Synchronization attempts instead. A filter or condition for TASK and APP entity could look like this:

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NOTE: this filter ensures that only to-do’s that have a starting date of 01/01/09 till 31/12/09 for the TASK and APP entity are synchronized for the salesperson with code MME. After the Full Synchronization, you could update the filter for TASK and APP entity again to synchronize the other to-dos’:

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After that, you could remove the Starting Date criteria so that to-do’s that have a starting date outside the filter range, will be synchronized as well.

NOTE: of course, you need set the initial Starting Date to match the first created to-do in Dynamics NAV or the first created to-do you actually want to be synchronized to Outlook. After that you need to ensure you precisely define the filter criteria. E.g.: if there are 1000 to-do’s in 2009, then you could split these up so that to-do’s will be synchronized per quarter of the year. This means, you will end up with four times a Full Synchronization in stead of one long running synchronization attempt.

So, what to do if the Calendar and Tasks folders in Outlook already contain calendar items and task items that either should not be synchronized to Dynamics NAV or should be synchronized to Dynamics NAV thus should not be deleted prior to the Full Synchronization attempt. Following up CSS requests to clear the Outlook Synchronization folders would destroy data that is important for the business or for the end users. For this, you could easily use the filter settings in the Outlook Add-In.

The following defined filter criteria could be used as an example:

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This filter will ensure that created calendar items and created tasks items in Outlook will not be synchronized if they match the defined filter criteria. That taken into account, after a Full Synchronization and after switching the Synch Direction to bidirectional, synchronized to-do’s will show up in Outlook, but they won’t be synchronized to Dynamics NAV if they are updated in Outlook because they match the defined filter criteria. If a synchronized to-do is modified in Outlook, the end user will have to assign a category to the calendar or task entry. At that point, the updated calendar entry or task entry will be updated to Dynamics NAV after a normal Synchronization.

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CSS also noticed that after upgrading from Outlook 2007 to Outlook 2010, the defined Outlook Synchronization folders for the contact entities may no longer have the checkbox enabled for Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book. This generates errors when trying to synchronize to-do’s from Dynamics NAV to Outlook when attendees are assigned to the to-do. A created calendar item (Meeting Request) in Outlook could not be populated with a synchronized contact from Dynamics NAV because the Address Book is not shown. To populate this checkbox again, right click on the defined Outlook Synch contacts folders for Company contacts, Person contacts and Salesperson contacts as shown in the example below.

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Last but not least when working with Tasks and Appointment in an Exchange Server environment, CSS required you to initially create the Salespersons in Dynamics NAV without the E-mail address. After the initial Full Synchronization, the synchronized contact in the Outlook Synchronization folder defined for the Salespersons contact, needs to be populated with the E-mail address taken from the Exchange Global Address Book and then synchronized back to Dynamics NAV. It is a good practice to use one user account for this, synchronize all the salespersons all at once, perform a Full Synchronization, update them all at once and then perform  a normal Synchronization to update table 13. In the first screenshot, you can see I am using the Administrator account for that. For all other Outlook Synch Users, this procedure is no longer necessary because the correct information is already in Dynamics NAV.

Regards,

Marco Mels
CSS EMEA

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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