How do I use Microsoft Outlook as my email client in Act!?
Product Family: Act!
Version: 22.1 and later
Deployment: Desktop only
PLEASE READ: If you are using Act! Pro, this product uses a different Outlook integration. You can find information on this here:
Note: The following steps will only work if you’re using a supported version of Outlook with your version of Act!. For information on supported versions of Outlook by version of Act!, refer to the following knowledgebase articles:
Supported Versions of Microsoft® Office by Version of Act!
We also recommend that you close down Outlook on your computer when performing the steps below. If you do not, you will need to restart Outlook at the end of the process before you will be able to start recording emails successfully.
Act! has the very powerful feature of allowing a user to automatically record the details of any emails they send to their Contacts in Act!. These emails will be recorded in the History tab of the Contact you have sent the emails to. Once the setup is complete, you can click on an email address in Act! which will launch an Outlook email for you to send, and will then record automatically for you. Even if Act! is closed down and you are sending emails through Outlook only, as long as a matching email address can be found in your database these emails will still record, even though Act! is not open.
As of Act! v21, you also have the option to record emails you receive from your Contacts automatically as well.
To complete the email system setup, please follow the steps outlined below:
- In Act!, click Tools > Preferences
- In the Preferences window, click the Email & Outlook Sync tab, then click E-mail System Setup…
- When the E-mail Setup Wizard appears, click Next
- In the E-mail screen, select Microsoft Outlook (recommended), then click Next
- In the E-mail – Outlook Address Books screen, click the Add… button to add an Act! database for use as an Outlook Address book, if not already added. This is a necessary step in order to record emails automatically. You can add up to three separate databases here, but only the database with a tick in the Default column will be able to record emails.
- Browse, if necessary, to the database .pad file, enter the User name and Password for the database. These must be the credentials for the user that will be recording emails in the database. Click OK
- Once you’ve added your database or databases, click Next
- On the E-mail – Editor screen, select one of the following options, then click Next:
- Microsoft Outlook (recommended) – When you attempt to send an e-mail from within Act!, a new Outlook email message window will appear with the email address pre-populated in the To: field.
- Act! E-mail Editor – When you attempt to send an e-mail from within Act!, the Act! E-mail program will launch (if not already open) with your Outlook folders displayed and a new email message window with the email address pre-populated into the To: field.
Note: If you use the Act! E-mail Editor, you have the option to edit e-mail signatures that will appear in a new message. For more information, refer to the following knowledgebase article:
How to Create an E-mail Signature in ACT! E-mail
- On the E-mail – Record History of Sent E-mails screen, you can choose what you would like to happen whenever you send an email to one of your Act! Contacts. select one of the following options (and any of the tick box preferences you would prefer), then click Next:
- E-mail subject only
- E-mail subject and message (recommended)
- E-mail subject, message, and all attachments
Note: Selecting Make history private will make all email history for sent e-mails visible only to the user configured to record history. Selecting the option to Exclude My Record from History will mean that if you copy yourself into any emails sent to your Contacts, these will not record in the History tab of your My Record.
- On the E-mail – Record History of Received E-mails screen (Act! v21 and above only), select one of the following options, then click Next:
- E-mail subject only
- E-mail subject and message (recommended)
- E-mail subject, message, and all attachments
Note: Selecting Make history private will make all email history for received e-mails visible only to the user configured to record history.
- On the E-mail – Attach to Act! Contacts screen, select history recording options for emails manually attached to history or attached by using the Quick Attach button (See step 9 for options)
- Select the preferences for automatically attaching history using Quick Attach, then click Next
Note: For more information about Quick Attach, refer to the following knowledgebase article:
How to use Quick Attach to attach Microsoft Outlook emails to Contacts in Act
- On the E-mail – Activity Invitation screen, select whether you wish for Act!, Outlook, or both Act! and Outlook to display activity alarms for activities that are sent or received using Outlook
- Select whether you wish to create an Act! activity when accepting a meeting invitation in Outlook, then click Next
Note: If you plan to synchronize your Outlook calendar with Act!, select None for this option, otherwise duplicate calendar entries will be created for accepted invitations.
- Click Finish
Note: When sending an email from Act! it will send using your default mail profile in Outlook. You can find out more about Default Mail profiles in the Microsoft documentation below:
Switch to another Outlook email profile
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:
NOTE: If the icons are greyed out this means that Act! has not completed the process of loading your address book into Outlook. Once this process is complete, the options will then become available for use. For more information on this process, please click here.
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 email@example.com, 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.
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:
If the email address matches an existing contact record, that contact will automatically appear in the right side column saving you time from having to find it. If you do not want to attach to that contact however, you can use the arrow icons in the middle to remove the contact from that list.
By the same token, you can search through all of your contacts in the left side column and choose which contacts you would like to attach the email to. You may even choose multiple contacts if you wish.
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.