How to Sync only Selected Outlook 2010 Contacts with Google Apps Sync

Google Apps Sync (see video below) for Outlook is a Godsend!


Until recently I was using:

Until Google Apps Sync I had no way of syncing contacts between Outlook and Gmail. When iTunes version 9.1 crapped out and stopped syncing contacts and calendar with my iPhone (this was fixed in iTunes 9.2 by the way) I made the decision to pony up the $50 a year for Google Apps Premier which includes Google Apps Sync.

It was worth every penny. I am rid the sync hodge-podge described above. I now have an end-to end, email, calendar, contact sync solution across my PCs, Google Apps Gmail, my iPhone and my iPad.

The Problem – How to Sync Only Selected Contacts

I only want a relatively few current contacts synced from Outlook to Gmail, my iPhone and iPad – about 250 or so contacts. But, I have accumulated some 800 contacts including historic clients and colleagues from prior law firms, restaurants from when I lived in different cities, old friends I no longer keep in touch with and so on. I don’t want to lose these contacts but I also don’t want them cluttering up my Google Apps Gmail, iPhone or iPad contact lists.

While you can segregate contacts within different contact folders inside the Google Apps Sync account in Outlook, all contacts such segregated contacts continue to sync into the unified Gmail, iPhone and iPad contact lists – regardless of the contact folder structure you set up inside of Outlook.

The Answer – Move Older Contacts into a Segregated .PST File

This solution is essentially the same as the solution I used only to sync certain emails when I was using iMap (for example I don’t want archived emails synced to the server). However, in Outlook 2010, after Google Apps Sync is installed, it wasn’t particularly easy to figure out how to do this. Below is a step-by-step guide to setting up a separate PST file and how to create non-syncing contact folders within that file.

Create the New .PST File

In the Email view in Outlook 2010:

  • Click the ‘Home’ tab
  • Click the down arrow on the bottom right of the New Items icon
  • Select “More Items”
  • Select “Outlook Data File…”

outlook data file option 

  • Select ‘Outlook data file (.pst)’
  • Click OK

new outlook data file dialogue box

  • new 'old contacts' account created in outlook navigation panel A ‘Create or Open Outlook Data File” dialogue box will open (not shown)
  • Navigate your PC’s C:\ drive (network drives work too) to where you want the PST file to reside.

Note: You can save the file anywhere on your system. I keep it within the hierarchy of directories that are backed-up each night.

  • Give the PST file a name. I chose ‘Old Contacts”
  • Click ‘OK’.

An empty new account item will appear on the left side of Outlook’s Navigation Panel with the name you gave it (see image on the right).

Note: You will not directly access your contacts from here.  Unfortunately, you can’t see this account as a separate account in the Contacts view panel (in the next image). But you can still use it as I describe below.

Create Non-Syncing Folders in the New PST File

create a new non-syncing contact folderHere’s the less-than-straight-forward part that took me awhile to figure out.

  • Click on ‘Contacts’ view on the bottom left of Outlook’s Navigation Panel to bring up your contacts view (pictured to the right)
  • Select the ‘Home’ tab
  • Right click on any existing ‘Contacts’ group (as pictured) to bring up the required pull-down menu.
  • Select the ‘New Folder…’ option

Note 1: Unlike what you see in the picture, you will likely only have one contact group called “Contacts’ under ‘My Contacts’ on the left.

Note 2: Do not right click on the ‘My Contacts’ heading. You’d think that that would be the logical place to right click to create a new contact group, but it isn’t.

In the resulting ‘Create New Folder’ dialogue:

  • create new folder dialogue in outlook 2010 In the ‘Name:’ section, type the name of the new non-syncing contact folder you wish
  • In the ‘Folder Contains’ section, select ‘Contact Items’
  • In the ‘Select where to place the folder:’ section, scroll down to the new PST account you created (in my example Old Contacts’) and select it.  Note: This is THE critical step. By putting the new contact group in this segregated PST file, it’s contents will not be synced to Gmail, your iPhone/iPad etc.
  • Click OK

That’s it!

newly created non-syncing folder in outlook 2010 - ie doesn't sync with google app sync You will now have a new contact folder (pictured in the image to the right), that is outside of the Google App Sync account folder structure.

Drag and drop all the contacts from your Contacts list that you do not want synced to Gmail, your iPhone/iPad to that new contact group. They will remain on your PC in Outlook but will no longer synced.



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