Saturday, February 25, 2012

Your Mac, Outlook and iCloud as one big happy family

Firstly, I am hoping this will bring in hits for my site and I surely hope you won't forget to click the ads. Secondly, before you leave thinking this is just another misleading fucked up spam article I actually DO have the answer to this.

Before everything, it is important to back up your contacts by dragging those records into an empty folder (Using Outlook) or clicking all your contacts then exporting them as vCards (Address Book). Also, it is worth noting that this solution doesn't do a sync with an Exchange or iCloud server but you can let the apps in your machine work together, which is probably faster anyways. And I'd probably guess since you made it to this page because you were looking for one approach when there is another way to pull it off.

Took me into the wee hours of the morning to figure it out. If by chance you've set up synching in your Outlook 2010 through the "Sync Services..." menu and those contacts are now in Address book you might experience a problem with the Address Book not synching with iCloud. The solution is quite simple. On your Mac Address Book, click on the View > Groups link or the red Groups icon just from the left of the middle page. If you've organized your Outlook with multiple categories it will show up here. 

Again, if you're one of the few who got everything all set up but for some goddamn reason it won't go into iCloud, simply select all your contacts then drag them into the "All iCloud" group. This would now enable your Mac to "see" your contacts for iCloud. (Note: It might help if you had the iCloud website loaded on your browser so you can see if you're doing it right.) Also, do note that everything on your Outlook is placed under this new group called "All On My Mac"

Why is this so? Firstly, your Mac treats your Outlook records separately from your Mac records. Your Mac will only sync contacts that are associated as "Mac" contacts while ignoring your Outlook ones. I guess that's a good idea. We definitely wouldn't want Microsoft to have SOLE control of your life (you've already got your Mac AND your mother doing that for you). If you've already performed the above steps you will notice that your contacts list now shows up in pairs. Do not panic. If you view your address book as "All iCloud" or "All on My Mac", your Mac will just show one set all nice and clean. If you want to see all of them use the "All Contacts" view.

How did I find out that Mac treats these pairs as separate accounts on your machine? Simple, try merging them and it will tell you so! This gave me the clue that the records that I solely imported into Outlook was never considered part of your Address Book (it was synced but never "Mac'd"). I tried dragging them to the All iCloud section and boom, all that stuff started showing up on iCloud.

For those of you who may have noticed, yes, it is such a hassle to maintain two sets of one contact. Let's hope in the future they get to do that seamlessly. A little silver lining though, if you update one contact on one group, you can drag it either to the All iCloud or All on My Mac and it will do the update for you.

Reversely, if you already have your Address Book and iCloud configured, you can simply drag those contacts into the newly created "All On My Mac" group (after you've activated sync services in Outlook, of course).

For iCal, the idea is still the same, you have the "Calendars" button on the top left. There would be an "ON MY MAC" group there. Copy your non-iCloud entries then paste it back. You would have duplicates of the events you copied but edit them either individually or by selection and set their calendar to iCloud (category in blue).

Update (9/14/2012): As of today, I have moved all my data to the cloud. Hence, I no longer have any use for Outlook's Notes, email capability or contact info. I also moved on to OpenOffice for my MS Office alternative. So far I'm not looking back.

1 comment:

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