Synchronizing contacts with Outlook

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If your firm is licensed for the Client Management add-on module and uses Microsoft Outlook as its email client, you can synchronize contacts in Practice CS with those in a selected Outlook contacts folder. We recommend that you choose a folder that contains only contacts that you want in both Practice CS and Outlook. All contacts in the specified folder will be added to your firm’s contact list in Practice CS.

Note: The term "contact" is customizable in Practice CS. Your firm may use a different term. To see the Practice CS default terms for all customizable terminology, choose Help > Enable Default Terminology.


Setup

Before you can sync contacts between Practice CS and Outlook, you must first set up Practice CS for synchronization.

Setting up synchronization

Use the Contact Synchronization Setup dialog to choose an Outlook contacts folder with which to sync, choose the contacts you want to sync with Outlook, and choose whether to enable automatic synchronization, which triggers synchronization any time a change is made to contact information in fields that are synchronized between the two applications. You can also choose whether you want to see a confirmation dialog before changes occur.

Note: All of the settings on the Contact Synchronization Setup dialog are user specific. As a result, each staff member can select different settings for contact synchronization, including different Outlook folders and filters.

  1. Choose Setup > System Configuration > Outlook > Contact Synchronization. The Contact Synchronization Setup dialog opens.
  2. Mark the Synchronize with Outlook folder checkbox.
  3. Click the More More button button next to the Synchronize with Outlook folder field and navigate to the Outlook folder with which you want to synchronize contacts in Practice CS.

    Note: You can synchronize with a personal Outlook contacts folder on your computer, or with a firm-wide public contacts folder on your firm’s network.

  4. In the Select Folder dialog, select the appropriate Outlook folder and click OK.
  5. In the Practice CS Contacts to synchronize field, you can choose a filter for the contacts that you want to synchronize. If you do not already have such a filter available, you can click the More More button button and create a new one.

    Note: Filtering is optional. If you choose to use a filter for contact synchronization, all contacts that do not meet the criteria of the filter will be removed from the Outlook contact folder you have specified.

  6. In the Import contacts from Outlook as field, choose whether you want to import contacts from Outlook as Clients or Standalone contacts. Client contacts are companies, individuals, or other entities who are clients of your firm. Standalone contacts can be attorneys, bankers, or other miscellaneous contacts who are not necessarily associated with your firm’s clients.
  7. The Display confirmation dialog prior to committing changes checkbox is marked by default. If you do not wish to see this dialog, clear the checkbox.
  8. If you want to enable automatic synchronization, mark the Enable automatic Contact Synchronization with Microsoft Outlook checkbox. If you leave this checkbox unmarked, synchronization will occur only when you perform it manually using the Sync button on the toolbar.
  9. Click OK to close the Contact Synchronization Setup dialog, which will also synchronize contacts with the selected Outlook folder.
  10. Unless you chose not to display it, the Pending Outlook Synchronization Changes dialog appears and lists the changes that will be made to the selected Outlook contacts folder.

Note: Following an import, you may need to add additional information to contacts so that all Practice CS relevant fields are completed. You can do this from the Manage Clients screen (Actions > Manage Clients).

Any subsequent changes you make to contacts that are synchronized between Practice CS and Outlook will be passed between the two applications at the next synchronization. The record that was last changed will take precedence over the older record. We recommend that you make such changes in Practice CS.

Choosing which contacts to synchronize

If you do not want to synchronize all of your Practice CS contacts, you can create filters to choose only certain contacts for synchronization. To create and select a new filter for your contacts, follow these steps.

  1. If it is not already open, choose Setup > System Configuration > Outlook > Contact Synchronization to open the Contact Synchronization Setup dialog.
  2. Click the More More button button next to the Practice CS Contacts to synchronize field.
  3. In the Contact Filters dialog, click the Add button.
  4. In the Filter Name field, enter a name for your filter. Keep in mind that your filter will be added to a firm-wide list of contact filters, so you may want to include your name or initials in the filter name.
  5. In the first Filter by field, choose a criterion by which to filter. For example, if each contact you want to sync with Outlook has your name in the Associate field (Clients setup screen, Main tab), you could filter by Client Associate, using "Single" as the Method and your name.
  6. When you have finished building the filter, select either the Must match all criteria option or the Must match one or more criteria option, as appropriate.
  7. Click Enter to save your changes.
  8. Click Done to close the Contact Filters dialog, then choose the filter you created in the Practice CS Contacts to synchronize field of the Contact Synchronization Setup dialog.
  9. Click OK to close the Contact Synchronization Setup dialog, which will also synchronize your filtered contacts with the selected Outlook contacts folder.

Note: Your choice of a contact filter for determining which contacts should sync with Outlook is unique to your user profile. As a result, each staff member can use a different contact filter for synchronization purposes. For example, you may want to create a filter that will synchronize only the contacts that you work with directly.

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How synchronization works

The fields on the Contact Info tab of the Clients setup screen were designed to closely mirror the information in a Microsoft Outlook contact record. Consequently, Practice CS can easily pass contact information back and forth between itself and Outlook.

The synchronization of contacts between Practice CS and Outlook follows some basic guidelines:

The synchronization process creates a one-to-one correspondence between the related records in Practice CS and Outlook. If duplicate records are later added to either application, they will not be recognized as duplicates for purposes of synchronization; rather, they will be treated as new records, and added via synchronization to the other application.

Note: Blank spaces at the end of fields in contact records can be seen by Practice CS as differences between records in Outlook and Practice CS. Though these differences may not be visible to you, the blank spaces will be removed during the synchronization process. Accepting such changes will synchronize the differences the first time, and those differences will not reappear during subsequent synchronizations.

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How to sync your contacts

There are two basic methods for contact synchronization: automatic and manual. With automatic synchronization, any time a change is made to contact information in either Practice CS or Outlook, the change will be transmitted automatically to the other application upon completion. With manual synchronization, such changes can accumulate and are transmitted only when the process is triggered manually.

Both methods assume that you have set up contact synchronization according to the steps outlined earlier in this topic.

Choosing a synchronization method

You can switch between automatic and manual synchronization at any time. To choose your favored method of synchronization, follow these steps.

  1. Choose Setup > System Configuration > Outlook > Contact Synchronization. The Contact Synchronization Setup dialog opens.
  2. To enable automatic synchronization, mark the Enable automatic Contact Synchronization with Microsoft Outlook checkbox. To disable automatic synchronization, clear this checkbox.
  3. Click OK to save your change.

Contacts are synchronized each time you click OK in the Contact Synchronization Setup dialog. With automatic synchronization enabled, contacts will be synchronized each time a change is made to the information for a contact selected by the filter you chose for contact synchronization (if any).

Synchronizing contacts manually

To perform manual synchronization of contacts, click the arrow to the right of the Sync button in the Practice CS toolbar and choose Sync Outlook Contacts from the menu.

Sync Outlook Contacts menu command

If you have set up data sharing in Practice CS but do not also wish to synchronize that information, do not click the Sync button itself. Clicking the button will perform synchronization of both data sharing information and contacts.

Data sharing synchronization can be time-consuming. If you do not need to sync that information, be sure to click only the arrow and choose the desired menu command.

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