Google Apps Sync (see video below) for Outlook is a Godsend!
Until recently I was using:
- iMap to sync email between Outlook, Google Apps Gmail and my iPhone/iPad;
- Google Calendar Sync to sync my calendar between Outlook and Gmail; and
- iTunes to sync contacts and calendar with my iPhone/iPad.
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.
When adding contacts into each of the iPhone and Outlook 2007, there are built-in, distinct ‘home’, ‘work’/’business’ and ‘mobile’ telephone number fields. Yet, surprisingly, Outlook 2007 does not provide built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’ email address fields. Yet, the iPhone does!
As a result of this disparity, you can get very odd results when synchronizing your iPhone and Outlook 2007 contacts. Unless you are aware of, and properly handling, how the syncing works, it will seem as if the iPhone randomly categorizes email addresses originating from Outlook 2007 as either ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’.
Happily, as described below, the Outlook and iPhone email fields do sync in a predictable way. With little effort, you can make sure that ‘home’, ‘work’ and ‘other’ email address fields are properly synched between Outlook 2007 and your iPhone.
As you can see from the picture below (after the break), when adding new contacts in Outlook 2007, there are no built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’, ‘business’ or ‘other’ email address fields. The only choice you have is the default non-numbered ‘E-mail…’ field, and the ‘E-mail 2’, and ‘E-mail 3’ fields (available from the pull-down menu).
For years now I have used Second Copy to both: (i) automatically backup my critical files to external storage devices (currently to a Drobo); and (ii) to synchronize key files between my computers across my network and laptops.
By and large it has worked well (perhaps some of its foibles will be the subject of a future post). But one thing it cannot do, and no other software that I’m aware of can, is backup Outlook’s PST files while Outlook is running. PST files are the files where Outlook stores emails, calendar data, contact info etc.
In my world, my PC is usually running 24/7 and so is Outlook.
For years I have searched, on and off and without success for software that can backup PST files while Outlook is running. Recently I came across Microsoft’s Outlook 2007/2003/2002 Add-in: Personal Folders Backup ("PFB")utility (download here).
While it cannot backup Outlook files while Outlook is running, it does the next best thing – it backs them up automatically when you exit Outlook. Since I exit Outlook at least a few times a week, my PST files are now backed up that often.