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Integrating Microsoft Outlook with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

If you have deployed Dynamics CRM or has read literature regarding it, you might have already known that there exists an off-the-shelve connector to connect Outlook client to Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. Once the connector is installed in a client machine, an Outlook user can access Dynamics CRM from the Outlook client itself. In addition, the connector also helps in synchronizing the Dynamics CRM contacts and activities with Outlook contacts and activities respectively.

In my experience I have found that both CRM consultants and customers have many questions about how this whole synchronization thing works and can this be customized? If yes, to what extent.  Now we will discuss the off-the-shelve synchronization capability.

What data is synchronized between Dynamics CRM and Outlook?

We will now discuss we will find the settings that controls what data is synchronized and how often. In this discussion, I am assuming the use of Outlook client 2010 or 2013 and Dynamics CRM 2013 or 2011.

Follow the next steps to find the existing Outlook filters:

  1. Navigate to File | CRM | Options in your outlook client.

2.  In the Set Personal Settings popup, click on Synchronization tab. There are three synchronization options available:

    •  Update Company fields with parent account names: Checking this option will mean that when the Data Synchronization will happen between the Outlook and Dynamics CRM, the Company field will be updated with Parent Account of the contact.


    • Set this computer to be the Synchronizing client: Only one computer per user can run automatic synchronization. Checking this option will make the current computer the automatic synchronizing client for that user.
    • Synchronize the CRM items in my Outlook folders every: Specify the time interval for the automatic synchronization between Dynamics CRM and Outlook client.

Here you would find information stating that “Minimum allowed minutes is: XX minutes”. This means that the CRM administrator has set a minimum limit on the time interval of synchronization. This setting can be controlled from the Server side CRM settings.

    •  Click on the Outlook Filters link. This will bring up the Filter: Outlook dialog. In this dialog there are two tabs namely User Filters and System Filters.

The User Filters are user level filters and can be edited, activated or deactivated by each user. One user’s User Filters can be different from another user. Double click on the User Filter to see the filter definition. By default, the following User Filters exists.

The System Filters are system level filters and applicable to every user.

Both the User and System Level filters together define what data would be synced.

About Dipankar Bhattacharya (59 Articles)
A multi-skilled Dynamics 365 Professional with strong experience in delivering IT projects especially across multiple industries. A Microsoft technology evangelist, a regular speaker at tech events, blogger and avid reader. Certified IT Architect and well versed in Solution Architecture of Business Applications using Microsoft platforms like Dynamics 365, Azure and Office 365.

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