SharePoint Contact Lists play nicely with Outlook

May 14, 2008 at 12:41 pm 2 comments

Contact Control

I was designing an application in SharePoint and I wanted to create a custom list for storing company contacts – one for internal contacts and one for customers. I wanted to have full control over the contact list and set out creating all of the fields from scratch in a custom list. After about a week of using the new list, a user asked me if they could link the list to Outlook to have the address books automatically synchronized…

That’s when I realised what I had done wrong.

We Digress…

We don’t use MS Exchange in our office. We use a third pary mail system. Needless to say, we sacrifice a lot of built in functionality that we would otherwise be able to leverage. Is Bob available for a meeting next Tuesday? If his calendar availability was published in Exchange then I could check it… But, that’s a rant for another day.

Outlook Functionality for Free

If you create a contact list in SharePoint using the default Contacts list template, you get built in functionality with SharePoint-services compatible contact programs. And which program is number one on that list? MS Outlook.

I created a test contacts database using the default contacts template. When you open the list, there is a Connect to Outlook option in the Actions menu. If you click it, Outlook pops-up (it was already running), and asks me if I want to connect the specified SharePoint Contact list to Outlook.

Needless to say, I was quite happy with this instant functionality. No code, no programming, nothing from me – and ‘poof’ everyone in the office is running around syncing contacts and calling me and SharePoint the best things since USB Humping Dogs!!

I guess the point of this topic is to save some other poor SharePoint Designer from being destroyed by their own ego. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Just hop on and enjoy the ride!

Thanks for Reading



Entry filed under: SharePoint Designer. Tags: , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bill Clark  |  January 24, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Nice article..

    We have our email hosted by our ISP. No exchange server here.

    Question: how hard is it to configure sharepoint to receive email at an internal subdomain. ?

    Internet mail (ISP) ….

    Internal mail (local)

    The second wld be for the sharepoint server …

    I think I wld need to add a MX record on our domain controller.


  • 2. Julia  |  January 8, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! You’ve saved us tons of time by describing this solution. Permissions can be set on the Contact List to Read All, but Edit by Item and then users can update their own information and print-out/save/export whole directory. Nice!


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