Monday, July 07, 2008

Display Sharepoint Custom Columns in Outlook

This little problem has been troubling me for a few days and it appears I am not alone in this. I have a number of Project Task folders, each with very similar or identical tasks within them. For example, multiple folders may have the task "Update spec", assigned to the same person. So when these tasks are synched to Outlook 2007 using the "Connect to Outlook" function in Sharepoint, these identical tasks become indistinguishable. The only way around this appeared to be to expose a custom column that gave the task some context. However, Sharepoint custom columns cannot, it appears be exposed to Outlook, as they do not match the default schema for the object in Outlook (see here for Microsoft's lame explanation).

Found a way around this in the end. This solution has now been in testing for over 5 minutes and so I can conclude it is rock solid (not). Anyway ... Out of the box, Outlook will expose default columns from its own schema. So the answer is to put the context information for the task in a task column in Sharepoint that matches a default one in the Outlook task schema. Pick one that you aren't using for anything else important, perhaps like the Company column. This is called Related Company in Sharepoint. Put the context information in this, and this will be exposed as Company in Outlook. It appears you can then change the name in MOSS and still expose the information in Outlook ... although the name change itself will not be reflected in Outlook. Hope that helps.

5 comments:

Custom Paper Writing said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

jayne said...

Where can I find a complete list of the columns in outlook versus the columns in sharepoint? I figured out to display billing and mileage in sharepoint and now you gave me related company. but there must be more!?!?!

Anonymous said...

What do you mean? It all sounds VerY promising but I'm missing some vital information? Could you expand and/or give me an example please?

Rajendra (m155698@yahoo.co.uk)

Anonymous said...

go to an Outlook Task list, e.g., To-Do List, right click an item and click Show Fields to see a complete list of fields from Outlook.

Carsten said...

You can also try the third party product for Outlook called ProperSync. It exposes custom columns for task and calendar items in Outlook. You can find it at http://www.propersync.com