Moving from an Exchange Public Folder Contacts List to a SharePoint Contact list

Someone asked this tonight on and I figured I’d take me post/comment and blog it here as it’s come up before…


Title: Importing and linking a common contacts Outlook list to SharePoint


Question: We have a custom contacts folder underneath the public folders in Outlook that we use rather than the regular public contacts folders. We want to export this and link it to a SharePoint Contacts lists so that both get updated simultaneously. How to do?


And My Response


Just to be clear, is the intent to sync the SharePoint Contact folder with Public Folders or SharePoint Contact Folder with your Outlook users?



SharePoint –> <– Outlook




SharePoint –><– Public folders



The reason I ask is that SharePoint is part of Public Folders ‘de-emphasization’ (i.e. replacing Public Folders in the long term).  The usual plan/goal would be to use SharePoint to store your shared Contact folder (so much more you can do with them) and sync them to Outlook, removing Public Folders from the equation altogether.



Assuming you are on board for that, here’s what one way to skin that cat…


  1. Create a SharePoint contact list and define your permissions appropriately for it, as needed 
  2. Choose Actions, Connect to Outlook to connect that Contact list to Outlook 
  3. Copy and Paste (or drag and drop) the contacts from your Public Folder into this new SharePoint connected Contact List (yep, that’s it for the sync) 
  4. Have your users do the same ‘Actions, Connect to Outlook’ operation to now have access to this folder, or if you have Outlook 2007, you can choose the option I’ve put in the screenshots below to send out an email to everyone to give them ‘one click’ connectivity to the Contact List in their Outlook 


Note: use must use Outlook 2007 (as it can read/write to SharePoint Contact Lists, Outlook 2003 is a read only viewer) for the above scenario, 2003 will not work.