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Duplicated, deleted, or modified records in Outlook - Contacts, Events, Tasks, records, etc?

Knowledge Article Number 000003158

Very often customers notice having duplicated data in their Microsoft Outlook or Salesforce, or even notice records being deleted and/or modified.

This is usually related to having more than one application synchronizing data between Outlook and Salesforce. Salesforce offers a few different applications to allow users to synchronize their contacts, events, and tasks with their Outlook or mobile device and since Outlook usually is linked and syncs up with the mobile device, it could cause duplication, deletion or unwanted updates.

This article will explain a few possible scenarios that could cause your Outlook data to be duplicated or deleted as well as how to identify the root cause and prevent any future duplication or deletion

Also keep in mind that

1- Deletion of duplicated records in Outlook is a manual process unless you have a 3rd party application that performs that task for you.
2- Deleted records in Outlook will go to the Deleted items folder that you can easily recover
3- Deleted items in Salesforce will end up in the user's Recycle Bin that also can be restored within 15 days
(The Recycle Bin link in the sidebar lets you view and restore recently deleted records for 15 days before they are permanently deleted. Your Recycle Bin record limit is 25 times the Megabytes (MBs) in your storage. For example, if your organization has 1 GB of storage then your limit is 25 times 1000 MB or 25,000 records. If your organization reaches its Recycle Bin limit, Salesforce automatically removes the oldest records if they have been in the Recycle Bin for at least two hours)


Before you begin, it would be best if you have a better understanding of the sync process for your Outlook data.

Assuming you have a corporate email with a mail server such as Microsoft Exchange that hosts your mailbox and allows you to send and receive email. When you enter data in your Outlook, you Outlook syncs up with your mail server and copies the data into the mail server. Now if you have a mobile device with the same email address configured then most probably its configured to sync up with your mail server as well. This means anything new record created on your mobile device will show up in your Outlook
Same process is valid if you more than one computer with the same email account and Outlook. If you open your Outlook on computer number 2 and add a new contact, that contact will end up on the mail server and then will sync down to computer number 1 as well as your mobile.

The same rule can also apply for deletion.

There is no easy solution for these type of problems but the following will provide you enough information to identify and troubleshoot the root cause and a few alternatives to correct the issue.

1- What applications user use to sync between Outlook and SF
2- Where is the source of data entry
3- Sync direction
4- Record sharing
5- Sync limitation - Max number of allowed contacts to sync


Step 1 - What applications do you use to sync between Outlook and SF?

There are a few Salesforce applications that would allow you to synchronize data between your Microsoft Outlook and Salesforce
- Salesforce for Outlook
- Exchange Sync ( will sync with your mail server and then Outlook will sync up with the mail server)
Also find out if you have any non-Salesforce applications that synchronizes your Outlook data with a different database such as Google Apps, Microsoft CRM, your mobile apps, and etc

- First check all your applications that synchronize or modify/update your Microsoft Outlook data such as Contacts, Events and Tasks
You can refer to your Internal Help Desk (IT team) for assistance. They can check the list of installed applications on your computer for this

- Next find out what applications synchronize data between  your Outlook and Salesforce
Again, your Internal Help Desk (IT team) would be able to assist you with this task.

Step 2 - Where is the source of data entry

Where do you create your events or contacts, in Outlook or Salesforce? The sync direction and the source of the data entry must be considered. 

Step 3- Any changes to the sync direction

You can sync bidirectionally between Outlook and Salesforce or choose to sync one way either from Outlook to Salesforce or Salesforce to Outlook.
Each works find based on how you manage your data and it should not cause any duplicates or delete any data from either side

But any changes to your sync direction must be done carefully

** sync never completes without an error and users modifies the same record in both end, or changes sync direction up on conflict


Step 4- Record Sharing

If you sync your team’s records and they include different information for some of the same contacts you own, Salesforce for Outlook may create duplicate contacts in both Salesforce and Outlook.

For example, you and a team member both have a contact for Christina Wills. But the two contacts list different companies for her. Salesforce for Outlook syncs the contacts for you and your team members, resulting in duplicates in Salesforce and Outlook.

To avoid this, coordinate with your team members so you share the same contact information. You’ll need to remove the contacts containing the outdated information.

Step 5- Sync limitation - Max number of allowed contacts to sync

Refer to the Knowledge Article Number 00000426





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