Thursday, July 1, 2004

ACT! Outlook integration problem solver


By David Gewirtz

Outlook and ACT! have always had a somewhat cordial relationship, but with ACT! 6.0, the integration between ACT! and Outlook got much more tightly coupled. Here at ZATZ, our sales folks use both ACT! and Outlook every day.

The way co-founder Denise Amrich used these products together will make for a good illustration. Whenever she'd send a message out to someone in the ACT! database, she'd copy the email address from ACT!, switch to Outlook, pop open a message window, paste in the address, write her message, copy the message body, send the message, and then switch back to ACT! and paste the body of the message into her ACT! notes field.

She'd do this twenty or thirty times a day.

It turns out, she didn't have to. By using the Outlook integration feature of ACT!, things are much smoother. The key, once the integration feature is working, is to send a message using the ACT! address book from within Outlook, as shown in Figure A.


Make sure you choose the ACT! address book, and then your recipient. (click for larger image)

Once the recipient is selected from the ACT! address book (again, from within Outlook), write your message with all the angst and concentration a good email message deserves.

Now, however, once the message is sent, the body of the message is now automatically stored in the Notes field of ACT!, as shown in Figure B.


The message body and subject are now shown in ACT! (click for larger image)

This is all well and good if everything's all well and good.

What if ACT! Outlook integration doesn't work?

Denise had been using ACT! and Outlook for quite some time on her Windows XP Professional machine when we decided to set up the ACT! Outlook integration. We followed the basic instructions, but found it just wouldn't work. ACT! is supposed to install a new toolbar in Outlook, shown in Figure C.


This example shows Subject Only, but we like Subject+Message Text.

On her machine, the toolbard didn't show up.

Turning on the ACT! toolbar

It turns out we had to go into Outlook and enable the toolbar extension. Here are the steps from within Outlook:

  • Open the Options dialog (from the Tools menu);
  • Click the Other tab and click the Advanced Options button;
  • Click the Add-In Manager button.
  • If there's an item named ACT! Extensions, make sure it's checked;
  • Click OK until you're back in Outlook and restart Outlook.

Sadly, that didn't solve our problem. Reading a technote on the ACT! site gave us another clue. It turned out Outlook had disabled the ACT! extension. Here's what you need to do to re-enable the extension: