How to Sync Windows Phone 7 with Outlook


A number of years ago, Windows Mobile 6.5 was released to the public. Though it had its quirks, the Windows Mobile platform gathered a small but loyal following of business professionals and productivity enthusiasts. Perhaps the biggest reason for this following was just how easy the platform made it to sync with Microsoft Outlook.

When Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 last year, they completely revamped the interface to make it much easier to interact with. Some would even say they’ve made it pretty. At this time, many existing Windows Mobile owners assumed that Outlook sync would work the same way it had before. It didn’t. Disappointed, confused, and upset are only a few of the words that would describe the general reaction to the situation. Amazingly, Microsoft offers no method to sync Windows Phone 7 to Outlook directly via USB.

What are Windows Phone 7 owners supposed to do? Microsoft offers two official solutions: Sync via a hosted Exchange server or use the Outlook Hotmail Connector. Exchange setup is fairly straightforward – if you have an Exchange server, that is. For those who don’t, the Outlook Hotmail Connecter is the only other option from Microsoft. This option requires you to sync your Outlook data to Windows Live/Hotmail, which then wirelessly syncs to your phone. Both options limit you to syncing contacts and calendars only.

While current Windows Phone 7 API’s prevent CompanionLink from providing a direct sync option, we can sync Outlook to Windows Phone 7 devices via Google. This option offers advanced wireless sync of contacts and calendars, as well as tasks and categories. We sync your Outlook tasks to the calendar as untimed entries, and we sync Outlook contact categories as Google Groups. Once CompanionLink syncs your data to your Google account, it is automatically synced to your phone, courtesy of Google. This happens through your phone’s wireless data connection. Two-way sync is fully supported too, so you can make changes from anywhere.

To get started, simply download CompanionLink for Outlook and configure it with your Google username and password. Detailed setup instructions can be found on our support page. Next, set up your Windows Phone 7 device to sync with your Google account and you’ll be done. It’s that simple!

We’ll be keeping an eye on the Windows Phone platform. With any luck, perhaps a future update will allow developers such as ourselves to implement a more robust sync solution.

If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments.

Tech Tip: Use CompanionLink with Google’s New “2-Step Verification” Feature

Google recently rolled out a new security feature called “2-step verification.” As Google puts it, this is designed to add an extra layer of security to your account by “requiring you to have access to your phone – as well as your username and password – when you sign in. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential hijacker still can’t sign in to your account because they don’t have your phone.”

While this feature certainly makes your Google Account more secure, it can cause applications that need access to your account, such as CompanionLink, to stop working with your usual Google/Gmail password. Google planned for this, however, and built in a solution. You simply need to set up an “application-specific password.” This is a special password that only works with the specified application. If  you have taken advantage of Google’s more secure login system (or if you want to), you’ll need to be sure to create an application-specific password for CompanionLink to ensure uninterrupted syncing.

Google has posted a guide with instructions on how to create an application-specific password.

New Online Knowledge Base Makes Using CompanionLink Easier Than Ever

CompanionLink is pleased to announce the launch of our new support knowledge base (KB). Our goal to make public the sync and configuration expertise that we have in-house. We’ll be sharing setup guides, tips & tricks, productivity tweaks, and more. Over time, the KB will grow, adding additional setup guides for existing devices, as well as guides for new devices as they are released.

Currently, the KB features easy-to-use setup guides for Apple and Android devices. Learn how to sync your new Nexus S to Outlook. Or, learn how to sync ACT! data to the Verizon iPhone. Whatever your setup is, we’ll show you how to get everything up and running. Just visit www.companionlink.com/support/kb. Then, simply choose your device and sync method and you’ll be directed through detailed steps, photos, and videos showing you exactly how to configure CompanionLink and DejaOffice.

We will be expanding the KB in the future in an effort to better serve CompanionLink and DejaOffice users!

Get Microsoft Outlook Categories On Your iOS & Android Device

As many Outlook users will tell you, categories play an important role in keeping everything organized. Categorizing your contacts, calendars, notes, & tasks helps you to break them down into manageable groups of information. Color-coding this information further helps by giving you the ability to interpret data at a glance. For example, I use yellow to signify a business call.  I use red to denote a mission critical appointment.  I use blue for business meetings, and green for personal meetings. Just by glancing at the color of an appointment, I know what it’s for.

Business people rely on similar systems every day to be productive. However, another thing many Outlook users will tell you is that they have not found a great way to sync categories to the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, & Android devices.

This is a major concern for many people. The ability to categorize data efficiently becomes severely limited when it is only accessible at the computer. We are a mobile society, and we need our information available at a glance if we are to stay productive on the go. Therefore, the ability to sync Outlook categories is not just convenient for most users, it’s quite important!

That’s where DejaOffice enters the picture. DejaOffice is a free iOS and Android app that we built in response to the need for a great way to sync data from Outlook, as well as a variety of other popular Personal Information Manager programs. Using DejaOffice in conjunction with CompanionLink for Outlook allows you to sync your existing category data from Outlook to your Apple or Android device over Wi-Fi or via CompanionLink Secure Hosted Wireless. With DejaOffice and CompanionLink, you are able to take your categories with you! For more information on how to set up and sync Outlook categories, visit our support page.

Switching from BlackBerry to Android

Thinking about making the switch?  You’re not alone.

There are at least 300,000 new Android activations every day!  The Nielson Company has some lovely graphs that show Android dwarfing both iPhone and RIM (BlackBerry) in terms of growth in the past 6 months.

But many BlackBerry owners are worried to make the switch.

  • Will I get secure email?
  • Will I get the same level of productivity that my BlackBerry gives me?
  • What happens to my beloved keyboard?
  • Is Android really ready for my business data?

Here’s a free reference guide that answers these and other questions.  It does three things:

  1. Walk you through the pitfalls of migrating from BlackBerry to Android
  2. Educate you about what busiuness capablities Android devices do and don’t do well
  3. Advise which third-party apps to download to achieve the most business productivity

Tech Tip: How to sync multiple Outlook folders with your phone or Google account

Many users often call us asking how they can sync if they have data in more than one Outlook folder. Using the Category Manager feature in CompanionLink Professional, this can easily be accomplished. The reason we have to use the Category Manager is because most phones do not include support for multiple contact folders, and so instead we tag all the contacts from each folder with a different category. On most phones you can filter your contact list by category for easy separation (or at least view the category so you know what type of contact it is).

For example, say I have two folders in Outlook – Friends and Enemies – that I want to sync with a Google account (or a phone, the procedure is the same). Configure CompanionLink normally with your Google account settings. In the Outlook configuration settings, just choose one of the two folders we’ll be syncing with. When you’ve gone through the initial Outlook setup, hit the Category Manager button.

First, select the conduit you wish to modify (contacts, calendar, etc.), then select the Create New Category button. Name this category however you wish it to appear on the phone/Google account (I’m starting with “Friends”). Be careful when creating a category that you do not give it same name as an existing Outlook category, as this will cause trouble down the road. You will see your custom category listed under the conduit you’ve selected.

Now we have to point this category to the matching Outlook folder. Select your newly created category and tap Application Settings, then click Yes. In the popup window, select Outlook once more, and then you will be given a choice of Outlook folders to sync with. Select the Outlook folder that matches the category you’ve just created (Friends), then hit OK.

You should now be back at the Category Manager window. Tap Create New Category to create your second category (Enemies), then follow the above steps for each additional Outlook folder you wish to sync with. Once you’ve set up two or more categories, it should look something like this:

Hit OK, and you’re ready to sync! Go ahead and tap the Synchronize button to begin syncing with your phone/Google account. If you want to create a new contact from your phone or Google account, just make sure to apply the category that matches the Outlook folder you want them to appear in, and they will happily sync back to Outlook in the correct folder.

To sync with multiple Outlook folders, make sure you are using CompanionLink Professional (download a free trial). The category manager can be a bit tricky, especially if you are dealing with large amounts of data. If you need any help getting things set up, please contact our tech support team and we will be happy to assist.

How to separate business and personal data on your phone

The easiest way to do this is to use Categories to manage your contacts. You can set up Business and Personal categories, then file your contacts in those. When you add a business contact on your phone, simply tag it to the Business category.

Not all phones have Category functionality in their built-in address book app. DejaOffice (an app for Android and Apple devices) solves that.  You can create your own categories, assign colors to them, and tag contacts to them.  With the optional CompanionLink PC sync software, you can then sync those categories back to Microsoft Outlook or other supported PC software. If you choose, you can also toggle a switch to NOT sync your Personal contacts to your PC.  This keeps your personal data off your PC, if you work on an office-administered desktop or laptop.

Many people who carry 2 devices (business and personal) are now looking to consolidate into one device capable of cleverly divorcing their business and personal data.

Joe the Plumber (with a tablet)

The business case for tablets

In a PCWorld article, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, insists that tablets like the iPad lower the cost of entry for computing.  This means people can save money by investing in tablets over traditional desktops and laptops.  The same holds true for businesses.  The benefits are numerouscheaper devices, cheaper software (apps), lower IT maintenance costs due to lack of viruses for tablets and other user-inflicted harm.

Imagine a plumber (named Joe) showing up to fix a leak under your kitchen sink.  Joe uses his tablet to take a picture of the broken part in question.  The picture is automatically sent to his company’s database.  The database sends back a schematic drawing of the part.  Joe shows you the drawing, rotates it, and zooms into exactly the area of the part that is broken.  Joe taps on the area and gets a list of options to fix.  A button to Replace the part is also there.  Tapping that button, Joe shows you a 10-second animation of how the part will be replaced.  Tapping another button, Joe shows you a list of local stores that carry that part and their prices.  He also tells you how much you can save if Joe goes through his supplier of choice.

I’d hire Joe.  Not only did he fix the problem, but he gave me options and educated me about the process.  This was done using the latest technology, which tells me Joe is a person who is current with trends and how to take advantage of them. Chances are that if he’s current with technology trends, he’s also current with the latest advances in plumbing.  As a person looking to fix a plumbing problem, I’m hiring a smart plumber.

So, how can a tablet help your business?  Send us your thoughts.

Syncing data from different Outlook folders and sub-folders

CompanionLink will sync data from Outlook folder.  The software will list the available folders (even Public Folders if you’re using Exchange), and let you choose which on to sync data from.  CompanionLink will synchronize data in that folder and any sub-folders under it.

To synchronize data from multiple different Outlook folders, you need CompanionLink Professional.  This version has as a feature called Category Manager that allows you to assign synchronization of different folders to a Category on the phone.  When you add a new Contact to the right Category on the phone, it automatically goes to the right folder in Outlook.

Category Manager also works great with the DejaOffice app for Android, iPad and iPhone.

Video – How to Sync Android with Outlook via USB using CompanionLink 4.0

Earlier this week we posted a new video showing you how to sync Outlook with Android via Google. Today we have another new video, this time showing you how to sync Outlook with Android direct over secure USB using the new CompanionLink 4.0. CompanionLink’s USB sync with Android works in tandem with DejaOffice, a suite of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes apps for Android-powered devices.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl7HkRSQbgg]

If you need additional help using DejaOffice, visit the Classroom at www.dejaoffice.com/classroom