Question: How do I use Microsoft Outlook as my email client with Act! in the Cloud?
Product Family: Act!
Product: Act! in the Cloud
One of the most useful and versatile features of working with Act! is its ability to integrate with Microsoft Outlook. In particular, the ability to automatically record any emails you send through Outlook, and the ability to synchronize your Outlook calendar and contacts are extremely useful features that will enhance your Act! experience. The key features available are:
- Create new contacts to Act! from Outlook emails.
- Create Act! history records, sending emails either from Act! or Outlook, attaching the email text to your Act! contacts. This can be configured to happen automatically.
- Create and schedule Act! activities with known email contacts.
- Attach emails manually to Contact records.
- Auto-attach emails to Contact records.
- Synchronizing Contacts and Calendar between Outlook and an Act! database.
When working with an Act! in the Cloud database, all of this integration is controlled by downloading and installing one additional component. The instructions on doing this are expanded upon below.
NOTE: If you have multiple users of your database, then each user will need to download and install the integration if they wish to use it, and configure their own preferences as an individual.
Installing the Outlook Integration
- Log into your Act! in the Cloud database as normal.
- Click Tools > Preferences > Email.
- Choose Outlook as the Default e-mail program and then select Download.
- When the file has downloaded, run the file and follow the wizard through until installed.
Working with Outlook
Now that the integration has been setup, when you next open Outlook you may notice that a new Act! tab has been added to the top menu:
This tab controls the integration functionality and is split up into three sections that roughly describe the individual functionality within them:
We will look at each section and function individually, but first we will look at how you can Change Preferences. This is useful to look at immediately so that you understand how the integration will work and what changes you can make.
This setting allows you to decide exactly how you would like emails that you both send and receive to attach to your Act! database. Emails will be attached in the History tab of your Act! contacts, and this can be configured to happen automatically as you send emails through Outlook.
This works via matching email addresses. So for example, if you have a contact in your Act! database with an email address in the email field of firstname.lastname@example.org, whenever you send an email to that email address through Outlook you can have Act! automatically record that email into the History tab of that contact.
When you click Change Preferences, you will see the following screen:
On the Auto Attach tab, you will see you can choose exactly how you would like emails to automatically attach when you both send emails to your contacts, and when you receive them from your contacts. The history options available for both are as follows:
- None - Emails will not attach automatically, but you can manually attach them if you wish. Some customers prefer this to prevent private or personal emails from automatically attaching into matching records in Act!. Manual attachment is discussed further below.
- Date, Time, Subject - This will not include the message or any attachments.
- Date, Time, Subject, Message - The body of the email will be included, but no attachments.
- Email as Attachment - The entire email will be included in the History as an attachment. This means that any attachments in the email itself will also be included.
NOTE: After choosing this setting, your changes will be applied to all emails you send going forwards, however it is possible to overwrite this preference for each individual email you send. For example, you may normally choose to only record the Subject and Message, but may decide on a one-off basis to choose Email as an Attachment. This can be done when composing a new email, please see the section at the bottom of this article for instructions on how to do it.
Make sure to set your preferences as desired, then click Save. A confirmation message will appear advising that your preferences have been changed.
NOTE: As mentioned previously, if you have multiple Act! users each one will need to set up their own preferences. So you could have one user who prefers to only attach the Date, Time, and Subject, whereas another user may prefer to record the Email as Attachment etc.
We will discuss the Quick Attach preferences further below when we discuss that functionality in more detail.
This option allows you to create an Act! contact from an email that you have received in Outlook. This option is useful if you receive an email from a person who is not currently in your database, and you would like to immediately add them to it.
Make sure to click on the email in your inbox so that it is highlighted, then click the Create Contact button. The following screen will appear:
The form will already be completed with the E-mail field, and an attempt at the contact name based off the email address. We would strongly recommend checking and completing all fields before clicking Create Contact.
This button allows you to create a new Activity in Act! based on a received email. So for example, if you have received an email from one of your Act! contacts, perhaps requesting a phone call to discuss pricing, you could click the Create Activity button and immediately create that call in your Act! database.
Clicking the button presents the following screen:
The Regarding field will be populated with the subject of the email you used to create the activity. This can be changed if you wish. If the email address finds a matching record in Act!, then that contact will automatically be assigned to the activity as well.
Complete the details of the activity as normal (type of activity, date, time etc.), then click Create Activity.
For more information on working with Activities, please click here.
Attach to Contact
This option allows you to attach an individual email that you have received into your Act! database. If you have configured your preferences to have this happen automatically, you may not need to use this feature. However, if you receive an email from a contact who is not in your database, or if you would find it useful to attach an email to a different contact than the person who sent you it, then the Attach to Contacts button will allow you to do that.
Make sure to click on the email in your Inbox that you would like to attach, then click Attach to Contacts. The following screen appears showing your Address Book:
You can now search for the contact(s) you would like to attach the email to. if you would like to add the email to the History tab of just one contact, click on the contact then click OK. Alternatively you can click Add Selected to create a list of contacts to whom you would like to attach the email.
Once completed a Toast popup will appear advising the email has been attached to the contact(s):
Quick Attach to Contacts
The Quick Attach to Contacts option performs a similar function to the individual Attach to Contacts button, however the idea behind it is that you can use this button to attach multiple emails into your database at the same time. This will be particularly useful for customers who have chosen NOT to attach emails they receive into their database automatically.
Imagine you have left the office for several weeks annual leave, and when you return you find that you have several hundred unread emails in your inbox. To save time from attaching each one individually, you may instead choose Quick Attach to Contacts. This will go through all of your selected emails and look at the sender's email address. If it finds a matching record in Act!, it will attach the email to them, and ignore those where it does not find a match (these settings can be configured however, please see below for more details).
Before using this option, you should make sure to click Change Preferences as previously discussed, but this time click on the Quick Attach tab:
Note that you have the ability to choose the Type of history that will be recorded as we have previously discussed, but you can also choose which contacts the emails will automatically attach to when you use Quick Attach, and you have a tick box that will automatically Create Contacts if they are NOT found (i.e. the system tries to attach a selected email from an email address that does not currently exist in Act!).
Once you have Saved your preferences, to use the Quick Attach feature, simply select multiple emails in your inbox (you may find holding CTRL and clicking, or holding SHIFT and clicking useful to select multiple emails), then click the Quick Attach to Contacts button.
This option allows you to synchronize your Contact and/or Calendar data between Act! and Outlook. You will need to configure your settings before doing this. For more information on configuring your settings, please see the following article:
Once you have configured your settings, you can use the Synchronize Now button to manually sync your Contacts/Calendar whenever you wish.
This button will take you to a knowledgebase article that explains how the Email integration feature works. The article can be found here: How does the Outlook Email Integration Work as of Act! v22.1 Update 4?
If you would like to view or search through your Act! contacts whilst in Outlook, you can do so here by clicking Address Book.
Overwriting Record History Preference When Composing a New Email
As mentioned in the Change Preferences section above, it is possible to overwrite your Record History preference when sending any one-off email.
To do this, begin composing a new email as normal, then click on the Act! tab within the email itself:
Under the Act! History dropdown, you are able to choose the specific History type to be recorded for this individual email.