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Outlook Categories for Contacts and Eventss

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by TeresaTT, May 30, 2011.

  1. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Hi. I'm a complete newbie to Android as I've been using Windows Mobile for many years now together with Outlook on my desktop. It seems that Windows Mobile is a dead end now and Windows Phone 7 is a huge backward step for me. Therefore I am on the verge of buying an Android mobile (quite probably the HTC Incredible S).

    My Outlook contact and calendar data is very important to me and I need it to sync to my mobile with no loss of any data when it syncs back again. After many hours of frustration I have managed to get a stable synchronisation up and running between Outlook and Google Contacts and Calendar. It is with great reluctance that I have moved into the Cloud but I have the added benefit that my Netbook also synchronises with the cloud so that I have offline access to my data when away from home.

    I use Go Contact Sync Mod for my contacts which preserves the Outlook categories by mapping then to google contact groups. This works very well and even syncs my outlook contact photos.

    I use Google Calendar Sync for my calendar and that seems to preserve all my data including the categories. If I edit an event on Google calendar, when synced back to Google all categories are intact.

    I assume that as my Google Contacts are in groups, these should sync ok with an Android mobile. If I edit a contact on my mobile will it sync back to google and retain it's groups?

    My big worry is what will happen when I sync my Google calendar to my mobile. If I edit events on my mobile, will categories be stripped off when syncing back to Google?

    Are there any other significant fields of data that are lost when syncing back from the mobile to Google.

    I have read many, many threads on the problems of syncing Outlook with Android but I am unclear as to exactly what happens with categories and I would really appreciate some help.



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  2. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I went out and bought my HTC Incredible S anyway hoping that my data would sync ok. Overall the phone is a huge improvement on my HTC Touch HD and I'm really pleased with it.

    My GMail contacts synced fine and they are all grouped on my phone exactly how they are grouped in Outlook. This works very well even in the stock People app. I've kept all my Facebook contacts out so I've got my contact list exactly as I have it in Outlook.

    My events synced fine and if I edit one on the phone the categories are retained. One oddity I found is that if I added a new event using the stock Calendar app, it got synced with Google in the cloud but wouldn't sync with Outlook. If I use a third party app to add an event such as Business Calendar, the event syncs up to Google and back down to Outlook. I'm not sure what is going on there.

    My big problem is that events more than than a month in the past are not synced. I gather that is a limitation of Android. Are there any other solutions that allow syncing of older data?

  3. RazzMaTazz

    RazzMaTazz Android Expert

    I synchronize my Outlook contacts and calendar using this easy, free method which involves no third party software. This method doesn't synchronize categories for contacts or calendar, but it also does not delete them from Outlook when you edit the contact or calendar-event on the phone and resynchronize back to Outlook. (I've specifically tested this.)

    I don't think that there's any way to synchronize "categories" between Outlook and Android's stock apps for contacts and calendar because Android doesn't have a "categories" field in contacts or calendar.

    This method also doesn't synchronize contact photos but it doesn't delete them either. (You can have a contact photo on Outlook. You can have a contact photo on your phone's contact card. But at least for now, they don't sync.)

    Otherwise, this method works really well.
  4. dvhttn

    dvhttn Android Expert

    I use MyPhoneExplorer to sync directly between Outlook on my PC (Outlook 2000 on XP Pro) and my Desire HD and this works fine. I use it to sync ALL my Outlook calendar events, even those from several years ago (just checked - and I can see what I did in June 2009 for example). It's MyPhoneExplorer which allows you to set the date range for synchonisation, I have it set to 'sync all'.

    As RazzMaTazz may well point out, there are limitations in the amount of Outlook contact fields that will sync to Android (a search on this forum will find the list) but there are enough for most peoples needs.

    MPE has a useful forum here ... FJ Software :: Forum anzeigen - English section .... a home page here ... FJ Software Development ... to download the PC software. Get the Android app from the market. All free as well.


  5. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the replies. I initially went down the Windows Live route using Hotmail Connector and had a nightmare of a time getting my contacts into a fit state to synchronise with Windows Live. I eventually got it working on my PC but for some reason my Netbook wouldn't display my synced calendar. I could copy the calendar within Outlook and it would display fine, but the synced calendar wouldn't. I also did not like haveing my data living in the cloud with just a local cache file that cannot be backed up. A .pst file can easily be copied and moved around whereas a .ost will only work where it was created. Also, every time I synchronised I would get random categories added to my calandar events.

    I went the route of using third party applications as I can now sync all my contacts which remain grouped into categories right through to my phone. I don't remember all of my contacts names so it's essential for me to group them.

    My calander syncing seems to be stable but I would like events older than a month on my phone. Therefore I'll have a look at MyPhoneExplorer. However, I think it's more important for me to retain categories for my contacts than have all my calandar events.


  6. RazzMaTazz

    RazzMaTazz Android Expert

    I don't understand.

    You have to use the primary default Hotmail/Live calendar in Outlook. If your Account & sync settings are correct on your Nebook, your calendar should synchronize properly. Mine does.

    You can backup your Hotmail account to a PST file by exporting a copy. The instructions for exporting vary with the version of Outlook, but for Outlook 2010, go into the Hotmail account, then go to File/Open/Import/Export to a file/PST.

    Not sure why. I haven't had that problem.

    MyPhoneExplorer only properly synchronizes 16 of Outlook's contact fields. "Categories" is not one of them.
  7. TeresaTT

    TeresaTT Newbie
    Thread Starter

    My Outlook data was in a bit of a mess as I hadn't realised that when you enter a contact name, Outlook seems to randomly fill in the separate fields for title, first name etc. Contact names displayed ok in Outlook but looked very weird in Windows Live. Also many of my fields were too long and truncated. I also had invalid email addresses because some of them just had a space. Recurring events with exceptions wouldn't sync. At least all my work sorting out my outlook data probably made my move to google much easier.

    I had to sync several times to get all my events onto my Netbook as I have over 4,000. I could view the calendar in the ost file quite happily before all 4,000 were cached. Once all events were in I just got the error - cannot open calendar. All my settings must have been correct as they worked for a smaller amount of data. Also, I always seemed to get errors on some events syncing. I just gave up in the end.

    Exporting from my ost file to a pst file is an extra step to remember in my backup routine. It's just much easier to do a straight backup of all my data folders. Then I always know I've got all my data.

    I've just bought Calengoo to try it out (the 15 minutes Android Market gives isn't long enough to trial a product). This has the option to sync directly with google and select a date range. So far I'm still using the Android calendar data with it and I've successfully added a recurring event on my mobile. Synced it down to outlook. Added categories there. Synced back to the mobile, edited it again and synced back down to Outlook. All my categories are still there. When I'm brave enough I'll try a direct sync between Calengoo and google.

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