Utilizing “Follow” to synchronize Microsoft Dynamics CRM contacts to Microsoft Outlook

Published April 18 2013 by Gus Gonzalez
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One of the things that comes up often is the need to take a contact from Microsoft Dynamics CRM (owned by a different user) and synchronize it to Microsoft Outlook. By default, Microsoft Dynamics CRM contacts are only synchronized to the owner's Outlook.

Here is another way to utilize out of the box features included with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to solve a problem the feature was not originally intended to resolve. In this case, we will be taking advantage of one of the Social capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, the ability to "Follow" contacts.

The idea behind this process is to allow multiple users to synchronize the same contact to their Outlook instead of having multiple versions of the same contact in CRM.

First, you need to edit the default Outlook synchronization filter from this:

Outlook synchronization filter

To this:

Sync "follows" to outlook

This change will enable Outlook to synchronize contacts you are following instead of contacts you own!

All you need to do is go to Microsoft Dynamics CRM (via the Outlook client or the web client) and follow contacts:

Select contacts to follow

The contacts will show up within Outlook after the next synchronization process:

contacts now appear in Outlook

Ownership of the contacts will not be affected.

Here is a short video I recorded explaining the process and demonstrating the solution:


Previously, I wrote about configuring Microsoft Dynamics CRM to automatically follow certain records. You can take the process described on that post and combine it with this solution to enable automatic synchronization of contacts to Outlook based on a set criteria. For example, "If a contact is owned by *this user*, make the user's manager follow the contact" triggering the contact to synchronize to the manager's Outlook.

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