Saturday 7 February 2009

SBS 2008 – Practice Creative Suite Clients Sync with Companyweb Contacts List via Outlook

A while back we posted about migrating Practice Creative Suite (previous post) from an SBS 2003 Premium RTM domain to a new SBS 2008 Standard domain with 100% Windows Vista Business machines on it.

One of the requirements the firm has with Practice CS is the ability to link and synchronize an Outlook Contacts folder with the client list in Practice CS. This gives them to the ability to keep their contacts up to date in both programs.

On the old SBS 2003 domain, the contacts were set up in an Exchange Public folder.

On the new SBS 2008 domain, the preference was to have the contacts also available via the Companyweb SharePoint site. This would enable users to have a third, and sometimes quicker, place to gain access to the client contact lists.

So, we exported the entire public folder structure to a PST file, then used our test user account to import that PST into separate Contacts folders within Outlook.

We then set up the needed Contacts lists in the Companyweb site, linked them to Outlook, and copied the contacts from the Outlook folder they were imported into to the SharePoint linked contacts.

Once the Outlook-Companyweb synchronization process finished and we were sure that the original Outlook Contacts folder matched with the new Companyweb Contacts list, we moved into Practice CS.

Practice CS can have a two way synchronization setup with an Outlook Contacts folder. We discovered that it did not matter where the folder resided, Exchange Public Folders, the Companyweb Contacts list, or Outlook itself as Practice CS could synchronize with any of them.

We did discover one small Gotcha though. When we set up the synchronization relationship with the Companyweb Contacts list via the user’s Outlook, Practice CS wanted to import the entire contents of the Companyweb Contacts list even though most of the clients were in the Practice CS clients list already.

We needed to empty the Companyweb Contacts list, then run the synchronization with Practice CS. Practice CS then copied its client list into the Companyweb Contacts list via Outlook.

Practice CS required that we set up a “Filter” in the synchronization setup. We elected to set the filter based on Client ID with a base number of 0000 and a maximum number of 9999999. If we set the minimum and maximum based on the current Client IDs, any clients with numbers lower or higher than that in the filter would not be synchronized.

The beauty of this new setup is the ability to gain access to the clients list via Practice CS, Outlook, Outlook Search, Windows Vista Search, Companyweb, the Companyweb Search feature, Windows Search 4.0, and the Companyweb via the Internet at

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts will not be written on a Mac until we replace our now missing iMac!

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Anonymous said...

You are talking about Practice CS from Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite, right? I've never seen the CS part expanded, and I think it might not stand for anything.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


I work with Adobe's Creative Suite a lot.

I crossed the wires on the CS between Practice CS and the Creative Suite by Adobe.

Thanks for catching that! :)