Chapter 11. Synchronizing Access and Outlook Contacts


  • Updating Outlook contacts from Access, and vice versa

  • Copying attachments from Outlook to Access, and vice versa

For a long time—really, since Office 97, when Outlook was introduced—I have wanted to write VBA code to synchronize Access contacts with Outlook contacts. My Access contacts are stored in a set of linked tables, with companies linked to contacts and contacts linked to addresses, phone numbers, and IDs of various sorts, which allows maximum flexibility for entering data and at the same time avoids having to enter the same data in multiple records. Outlook, on the other hand, has a very attractive and convenient interface for entering contact data, but unfortunately stores all contact data in a flat-file MAPI database, with a limited number of fields for addresses, phone numbers, and IDs.

Though it isn't difficult to write code to simply import data from Outlook to an Access table, or export data from an Access table to Outlook contacts, if the Access contacts are a set of linked tables, as they should be, the task is much more difficult—but not impossible. Live linking is out of the question, because of the difference in structure between a folder of Outlook contacts and a set of linked Access tables, but the contacts can be compared, and data copied from an Outlook contact to an Access contact (or vice versa), using an intermediary flat-file table filled with data from the linked Access tables. This chapter ...

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