Sync Project Tasks to Outlook, without Exchange

OutlookOne of the great new features in Project Professional 2010 was the ability to synchronise a Project schedule with a SharePoint task list. Through this capability and a SharePoint 2010 environment, simple team level project statusing can be achieved with ease.

In every demonstration I have seen, and in fact given, I have always assumed that the person updating the tasks would log into SharePoint and update the task through the web interface. But recently it occurred to me there was another way, through using SharePoint’s ‘Connect to Outlook’ capability, users could update their tasks directly from Outlook, leverage Outlook’ built in synchronisation with SharePoint and then finally use the Project Sync to SharePoint capability. The set up is really easy, and below are the steps to follow so you can try it yourself.

I am going to assume that you are already familiar with setting up Sync to SharePoint, if not, check out this screencast or these blog posts. Once you have established a synchronised task list, navigate to the List tab, and click on the ‘Connect to Outlook’ button in the Connect & Export group.

SharePoint Project Task List - Connect to Outlook

If Outlook is closed, a prompt will be displayed asking if you want to allow this website to open a program on your computer, click on ‘Allow’.

Internet Explorer - Do you want to open Outlook?

If Outlook is open, or after selecting Allow above, Outlook will ask if you want to connect this
SharePoint Task List to Outlook, click on ‘Yes’.

Connect to this SharePoint List?

Outlook will then download all the tasks within the Task List.

Outlook Synchronised List

All tasks within the Project Task list are now synchronised with Outlook, including those that may be assigned to other users. With a simple bit of Outlook configuration the contents of the list can be further filtered to only show your tasks.

In the Outlook Quick Steps, right click on the Server Tasks icon and choose ‘View Settings’.Outlook - View Settings

Choose Filters > Advanced and add a new filter in the ‘Define more criteria’, as Assigned To contains <Your name>. It’s important to use contains, in case the synchronised task is assigned to more than one resource.

Outlook - Add Task Filter

Once the filter is set up, each Outlook task list synchronised will then only show your tasks, ready for you to update the status and provide feedback to the Project Manager.

Updating the task status couldn’t be easier, simply open the synchronised task in Outlook, update the % Complete and then choose Save & Close.

Outlook Task - Update Status %age complete

The task update will be synchronised back to SharePoint the next time Outlook performs a Send & Receive and then picked automatically when the Project Manager initiates a Project schedule sync from Project Professional.

Final updated syncronised task

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6 thoughts on “Sync Project Tasks to Outlook, without Exchange

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Sync Project Tasks to Outlook, without Exchange « EPMSource -- Topsy.com

  2. I’m fairly familiar with SharePoint and have synced my tasks with Outlook. The problem I have is that when I “Complete” the task using the 100% or the Flag Complete, it shows up in ShPt as a “1”. How can I complete it so that it shows up as complete in ShPt and is crossed off in my Outlook?

    Thank you for offering some help.

    • Hi,

      I have just tried it again on my test environment and can’t seem to reproduce that behviour. When I mark a task in Outlook as 100% complete then sync back to my SharePoint2010 list, refresh the web page, the % complete column shows as 100% complete.

      Which column are you seeing the 1 in exactly?

  3. Any news on syncing sharepoint tasks with Outlook 2011 for Mac? When it was released, this feature was not supported, and I’m REALLY hoping they add it soon.

  4. Hi, I decided to dig this one out since what you wrote is very close to my current assignment.

    First of all, let me comment on one issue with your solution. Sharepoint task lists by default have assigning multiple users to a task disabled. You would have to change settings of the list you’re syncing project tasks with from Project. But that’s not the main problem. Unfortunately, if you sync such a list with Outlook, the tasks with multiple users WILL NOT appear in Outlook. That feature is apparently not supported according to Microsoft itself.

    Secondly, I am using the sync with outlook capability of sharepoint in my work at the moment and the trouble we came across with is that SOME users are unable to set reminders to their synced tasks. We’re using a VBA macros in Outlooks to automatically set reminders to all user tasks, but in some cases a warning message appears saying “The reminder for XXX will not appear, because the folder doesn’t support reminders”. Oddly enough, this seems to be happening on only a few machines and only after some time when they’re working properly (after couple of hours the warning message starts appearing with every attempt to create a reminder). Any chance you’ve heard about the problem?

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