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You might be surprised by the amount of things you can do with SharePoint and Outlook. The best way to understand them is to think about where there's duplication between SharePoint and Outlook. By that I mean what does SharePoint have that Outlook also has? Well, first off we think of Outlook as an email program, and SharePoint isn't. So, there's no duplication there. But Outlook is also a calendar application and SharePoint has calendars. Outlook is also a tasks application and SharePoint has task lists.
Outlook has contacts and so do SharePoint. But the great thing is you don't have to give up either of these. You can have both, because they both perform very useful things for us. I'll show you what I mean. Just take a look at the calendar in SharePoint. This is a team calendar on a team site, so it's shared by multiple people. What I am going to do here is go to the Calendar section of my Ribbon. Come over to this Connect & Export section and click Connect to Outlook. Now, they give me a message typically saying are you sure, you want to do this? Yes, I'm sure.
It has now within Outlook added a new calendar there. It's kept my old one. That's the way you'd actually want it. You don't want your team calendar to certainly be interposed with your own personal calendar and your personal events like visiting the doctor and giving the shots to the dog. If you notice over here on the left- hand side it really shows you that you've got your own personal calendar, which is checked and showing up in blue. I can even uncheck that for a look at the green one or the flip side of that. You can actually subscribe multiple calendars in SharePoint and get them all working in Outlook.
Now, if they are viewed beside each other they look pretty messy. So, luckily one of the things you can do is you can right-click the calendar and say I want to view these in Overlay mode. What that does now is switch between your blue personal one and your green SharePoint one. Let's say for example, we knew that on the SharePoint calendar there's another interview scheduled at 10. I am going to click that. It's in the past, so it's overdue already. But by making that change in Outlook, I am going to go back over into SharePoint, refresh this page, and you'll see that the interview that I just added is now showing up in SharePoint.
So, it's completely round-trip. Any change I make in SharePoint will show up in the Outlook calendar. Any change I can make in the Outlook calendar will show up in SharePoint. I just want to be careful which of my two Outlook calendars here I'm adding it to and which one has the focus. Now, in Outlook right now I have a personal task list with a few personal things on. But back in SharePoint I also have a task list shared with the team. But this would be useful, if I like to think of Outlook is the place that I look at my tasks, this would be useful to have here. I am going to go to the List section of this list and say Connect to Outlook.
Once again it says, Are you sure? Yes, I'm sure. It retrieves all those tasks and their status from SharePoint and actually adds it in here. Again, like having two calendars I still have two task lists. So, I've got my own personal task list, I have the team site task list. It is also round-trip. Any changes that I make here will push to SharePoint. Any changes I make to SharePoint will push to my task list in Outlook. Finally, also on this site what I'd had actually done is in my All Site Content I'd actually created another list called Vendors.
It's just a simple contacts list with three people and three telephone numbers in here. But of course as you know, these could be useful, but when you're writing emails or making phone calls, most people live in Outlook. That's where they draw their emails from. So, I am going to synchronize this contacts list with Outlook. Again, going to the List option and finding that Connect to Outlook option. Again, allowing it to happen, and finding that information being brought back into Outlook. Again, this is fully editable. We double-click one of these to edit them, change the Full Name to perhaps Jim Martin, likes to be preferred as Jim rather than James, Save & Close.
Feels like Outlook, but if we go back over into SharePoint and refresh this page, we'll see the changes that we made there being propagated right back into SharePoint. Again, in Outlook it is a difference between a contacts list on a SharePoint site and my own personal contacts list which right now is empty. But allows us to have that very useful connectivity, so I can live in Outlook if I want to live in Outlook. I can live in SharePoint if I want to live in SharePoint. So that's the calendar, the contacts list and the task lists.
All have significant synchronization between Outlook and SharePoint sites, even multiple SharePoint sites. Going back to one more thing in this team site, one last piece. You can also go into a document library and connect a document library to Outlook, and this might seem a little strange. We've got a document library full of Word documents and spreadsheets, things that you normally wouldn't associate with Outlook. What I am going to do is go to my Library section of the Ribbon and again, Connect to Outlook.
It's going to ask if I am sure. Yes, I am sure. The question is well, what's it doing here? What you're doing here is you're actually piggybacking on Outlook's ability to work off-line. Let's think about it this way. If you have a laptop with Outlook, you're probably familiar with the fact that you can connect to your mail server, download your emails and then disconnect. You can get on to a plane with a cached copy of all your emails and even read through your emails and answer them. Once, you reconnect to the network, you can send all the emails you wrote on the plane.
Now, what we are really doing is we are kind of using that ability to take a library, and say to Outlook, "okay, take all these documents, download all these little different documents, and spreadsheets and PowerPoint files, and give me a version of them stored within Outlook itself." What I actually could do right now is disconnect this machine from the network, and go on to log cabin, get onto an airplane, and I would actually have copies of all these documents downloaded and stored as a cached copy in Outlook.
I could make a change to one of them. Then when I reconnect it to the network, press Send & Receive in Outlook. It would try and push back my changes to the SharePoint site. Well, this is only really useful if you are disconnecting from your network on a regular basis. If you're just working with a regular desktop machine, you don't need to do this. But it's nice to know that it exists. If you don't need it anymore you can actually right-click the folder and just delete the Folder. This does not delete the actual documents. It will kind of tell you here, are you sure you want to delete this? It removes the list from all computers that you use.
Yes, I am going to do that. If you're intending to spend a lot of time disconnected from your network, if you're a bit of a road warrior, you have to take your laptop around and connect and disconnect all the time, you want to look at SharePoint Workspace as well. Because that's got very significant off-line capability that's really what it's all about. I'd certainly suggest you look at that if you spend a lot of time disconnected from SharePoint. Though unfortunately SharePoint Workspace is not in every addition of Office. So, if you don't have it, you might still be aware of this feature in Outlook.
But connecting calendars, contacts, task lists and document libraries, so you have round-trip editing, and can view all your stuff in Outlook. Sure, most of these individual pieces aren't totally groundbreaking, but there are a lot of little things that just make it easier to make SharePoint part of your everyday operation.
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