How do I... Sync SharePoint lists with Outlook 2007?

One of the benefits of deploying Office 2007 in addition to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) is the ability to sync SharePoint lists, like tasks and events, with Outlook. This is a great way for mobile users to take these items offline and can eliminate some of the e-mail alerts we became so reliant on in Office 2003.

While syncing SharePoint list items to view in Outlook is not an improvement on previous functionality, the fact that you can now add or edit a task from within Outlook is noteworthy. In Office 2003, you can only read SharePoint lists, so finally being able to edit a SharePoint list from within Outlook 2007 is definitely worth taking a look at.

Here's how to do it.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

Start in your SharePoint 2007 list and click Actions | Connect To Outlook (Figure A). Click Yes to the message confirming that you want to add this list to your Outlook 2007 views (Figure B). Keep in mind that every time you open Outlook and are connected to the Internet, you will be prompted to log in to your SharePoint list if your sites aren't configured to log in using your network password. Figure A

Figure B

Notice that not only did the SharePoint list come over, but it marked the items complete and overdue just as it would with an Outlook task list (Figure C). By viewing the SharePoint task list in Office 2007, it instantly becomes more relevant. Figure C

To update the SharePoint task list from within Outlook 2007, click New in the upper-left corner of the SharePoint list to add a new task (Figure D). Click Save & Close. Figure D

Return to your SharePoint list and refresh the screen to see that the task was added (Figure E). Figure E

Now open the task in SharePoint to edit it (Figure F). When you finish, click OK . Figure F

Finally, return to your Outlook list and hit the F9 key to refresh the Tasks folder to see that the changes are synced (Figure G). Figure G

Go to the Day view of your Outlook 2007 Calendar and consider all the SharePoint sites you participate in. By syncing all the meeting workspaces you keep up with on a weekly basis, you can see all of your active tasks on all of your SharePoint sites in one place -- the To-Do Bar. Notice the task list at the bottom of your screen (Figure H). If you can't see it, simply mouse over the bottom of the screen and drag the double-headed arrow up. Figure H

By syncing your SharePoint task lists with Outlook 2007, you can translate tasks into time on your Calendar by simply dragging the task up from the To-Do Bar onto a free time slot on your Calendar (Figure I). Figure I

Remain in control of your day and always aware of all your commitments. Outlook 2007 and MOSS -- definitely better together.

Tiffany Songvilay is a Microsoft Office Specialist and co-author of So That's How! 2007 Microsoft Office System: Timesavers, Breakthroughs, & Everyday Genius. She has presented productivity scenarios at Microsoft's Convergence, ITEC Conference and Exhibition, and for IAAP. Currently engaged as a business analyst for Microsoft Enterprise customers, she designs and implements training plans that help companies transition their workforce smoothly into new technology. Her Office Over Easy blog covers a variety of IT and end users issues.