Add to Outlook Limitations

The Add to Outlook (Sharepoint Sync) feature within the SmarterMail webmail client is a free way to synchronize some portions of a SmarterMail account to Microsoft Outlook. It uses two-way synchronization technology included in older versions of Sharepoint to sync a SmarterMail mailbox with Outlook 2007 or higher and provides read-only capability for Outlook 2003, including a user's shared resources.

However, Add to Outlook does have some limitations and issues. For example, calendars and contacts shared at the domain level are not supported. In addition, notifications are not supported, so items like SmarterMail calendar reminders will not be available within Outlook. Finally, folders will only sync for a user if that user has "Owner" permissions, and the Global Address List (GAL). Other folders with non-Owner permissions will not sync as they do when using other protocols such as MAPI & EWS or EAS.

On top of its limitations, there are some major issues with Add to Outlook that we are not able to overcome nor can we improve upon the way it currently works. This is because Microsoft has deprecated support for the synchronization features within SharePoint that are used by the Add to Outlook connector. Therefore, Add to Outlook is becoming less and less secure, and less and less reliable as there is no more assistance from Microsoft for it. Moving forward, Add to Outlook is available "as is" to users.

Some of the larger known issues when using Add to Outlook include:

  1. Duplicating Contacts. There seems to be a bug where Sharepoint will randomly change the graphical user ID for a contact, but that change is never synced to SmarterMail. Therefore, 2 instances of a contact can appear in Outlook where one only exists in the webmail client.
  2. Sending messages to the wrong recipients due to autocomplete caching issues in Outlook. This issue isn't restricted to just the use of Add to Outlook as Outlook is notorious for having autocomplete issues. However, it's noticed most often when Add to Outlook is used: a user sends a message to 3 of their contacts, and when that message is replied to the address for a contact can be randomly changed to a completely different user. The only fix for this we're aware of is that the autocomplete cache in Outlook needs to be completely cleared.

As mentioned, these issues are persistent and unable to be "fixed" by SmarterTools because Microsoft no longer supports the synchronization portion of Sharepoint that the Add to Outlook connector uses. For a more feature-rich experience, EAS (for mobile devices and Windows Mail) or MAPI/EWS (for Outlook for Mac or Windows, and Apple Mail) should be used.