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Salesforce for Outlook sync method - Manual vs Automatic

Knowledge Article Number 000187292
Salesforce For Outlook (SFO) Sync Method

Salesforce for Outlook (SFO) versions 2.2.1 and up will now allow Users to choose between Automatic and Manual synchronization of your Outlook records. This selection has been added to the SFO Settings wizard that Users go through when first installing or logging in to the SFO plug-in. When going through the normal Salesforce for Outlook settings (See screen shots below - The SFO wizard should pop up automatically if you are installing SFO for the first time if not, you can right click on the SFO icon in the System tray (Gray icon means SFO is not connected to Outlook either Outlook and Red icon  means SFO is connected to Outlook and running) - then click on Settings and the second screen after you login will display the sync option and an additional "Choose Sync Method" step will appear as shown below )
Sync Method Labels
SFO v2.2.x thru 2.7.x SFO v2.8.x and later
Manual Sync Only the Outlook items I Select
AutomaticSync All Outlook items

SFO Version 2.2.x thru 2.7.x
User-added image

SFO Version 2.8 and later

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Each User will need to make this selection by clicking on the Manual (Sync Only the Outlook items I Select) or Automatic (Sync All Outlook items) box, depending on their preference, and then click Next to continue with the SFO wizard.

Please keep in mind that if you are not doing a 2 way sync or a sync from Outlook to Salesforce, Users will not see the sync method option to choose Manual (Sync Only the Outlook items I Select) or Automatic (Sync All Outlook items). Also, as this option is user specific and each user can have different method selected

Its always best to discuss this selection with your Salesforce administrator. Selecting Automatic will synchronize all your records from Contacts, Events or/and Tasks into Salesforce.

Automatic (Sync All Outlook items) vs Manual Sync Only the Outlook items I Select

This only applies to contacts, events and tasks that exist in Outlook. The Salesforce data synchronize based on the Outlook Configuration and Data Set configured on the Salesforce side by your Salesforce Administrator

The SFO Manual (Sync Only the Outlook items I Select) or Automatic (Sync All Outlook items) sync methods work based on the Category field in Outlook.

When you install SFO, a few categories are added to the list of Outlook Categories. Based on the sync settings you choose in the SFO wizard these categories vary

Categories inserted by SFO
Here is an example of both methods side by side

User-added image

Your Salesforce administrator can also control the Sync Method from your Outlook Configuration by checking the boxes for 
Set default sync setting to Sync All Outlook Items
Not Checked
and also prevent users from changing the sync settings by checking the box for 
Don’t let users change their sync setting           Not Checked

MANUAL (Sync Only the Outlook items I Select) Sync Method

If you select Manual (Sync Only the Outlook items I Select) sync method in the wizard, only records that you manually categorize as “Sync with Salesforce” will be synchronized and you won’t see the Don’t sync with Salesforce category in Outlook category list.

With Manual ((Sync Only the Outlook items I Select) sync method, records with no category or any category besides “Sync with Salesforce” category won’t be part of the sync and will stay untouched in Outlook

This should give you more control over the sync process. You can select only the records you would like to sync to Salesforce

AUTOMATIC (Sync All Outlook items) Sync Method

If you select Automatic (Sync All Outlook items) sync method in the wizard, All records in Outlook will be part of the sync process and only “Don’t sync with Salesforce” category is added

Every record in the selected Outlook folder will be synchronized with Salesforce unless you categorize them as Don’t sync with Salesforce (Assuming you set your sync settings to bi-directional [Sync both ways])

How to categorize a record in Outlook

Simply right click on the record and from the pop up menu select Categories and select the "Don’t sync with Salesforce" or "Sync with Salesforce" category or you can also select a record and use the category button  User-added image on the Outlook menu to select a category


Another way to prevent certain records from being synchronized, despite of the sync method (automatic vs manual) is to mark them as private. You just need to make sure not to select to include private records in SFO wizard. You can use this method to keep your personal records private and visible to yourself only even from other users in your company who may have access to your Outlook Contacts or Calendar

User-added image

How to mark a record as Private in Outlook
Open the record and click the private icon in Outlook   User-added image

No matter what sync method you choose, Automatic (Sync All Outlook items) or Manual (Sync Only the Outlook items I Select) the sync will occur in the background. It means the SFO red icon in the System Tray would start spinning. SFO sync interval depends on your system activity.
  • Events and Tasks sync automatically every 10 minutes
  • Contacts sync automatically every hour.

If, however, Salesforce for Outlook detects keyboard or mouse inactivity for 30 minutes, the sync frequency for Events and Tasks changes to 30 minutes.

After 2 hours of inactivity, the frequency for all updates changes to hourly, and after 4 hours, the frequency changes to every 4 hours.



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