ACT Outlook Addin – Integration of Microsoft Outlook and Office
It is often stated in business that it is better to work smarter than work harder. Improved efficiency means increased productivity. Taking advantage of Sage ACT! integration with Microsoft Office applications not only ensures that users and managers can keep all the interactions with their prospects and customers in one place, but enables them to do it efficiently and effectively. Whether scheduling meetings and to-dos, generating letters and emails, attaching web pages to a contact record, or analyzing opportunities, users can spend more time focusing on advancing their business and less time on administrative tasks.
Overview of MS Office Integration with Sage ACT!
Sage ACT! helps organize all the details of your customer relationships in one place for a complete view of the people you do business with. This centralized contact data helps individuals or teams find contact information and coordinate schedules quickly and easily. In addition, users can integrate Sage ACT! with Microsoft® Office applications, such as Microsoft Outlook®, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel®, to further leverage their contact data.
Sage ACT! integration with Office applications creates a technology environment enabling businesses to achieve greater efficiencies in using both Sage ACT! and Office tools in daily business operations.
In this article, we discover how Sage ACT! users can leverage the capabilities of Sage ACT! integration with Office and assumes the reader has a basic understanding of each Office application. The Integration capabilities addressed in this paper pertain to the 2011 versions of Sage ACT! Pro and Sage ACT! Premium (access via Windows® and web).
Integrating Sage ACT! with various Microsoft Office Software Packages
Sage ACT Integration with Microsoft Outlook: Sage ACT! integration with Outlook enables multiple functions to occur between Sage ACT! and Outlook. This includes the following features:
- -Outlook email messages can be saved automatically as Sage ACT! histories
- -Outlook emails can be addressed using Sage ACT! databases as an address book
- -Outlook rules and alerts can utilize Sage ACT! contact information
- -Sage ACT! contact records can be synchronized with Outlook
- -Sage ACT! calendar items can be synchronized Outlook
- -Sage ACT! appointments can be sent in iCalendar format so that Outlook users can view it as an Outlook calendar appointment.
Sage ACT Integration with Microsoft Word: Sage ACT! integration with Word allows users to create letters, memos, fax cover pages, and custom templates for documents. From within Word, you can attach any document directly to a Sage ACT! contact for reference later. Sage ACT! also allows mail merge Word integration in order to create documents and letters.
Sage ACT Integration with Microsoft Excel: From most list views in Sage ACT!, users can export data directly into Excel although special security permissions may be required. Please refer to the Security Model white paper for more information about security restrictions. Users can also embed Sage ACT! fields in Excel spreadsheets and add them to a contact, group, or company documents tab1. From within Excel, you can attach any spreadsheet directly to a Sage ACT! contact.
Sage ACT! Integration with Microsoft Outlook – Integration Overview
Outlook is the de facto email application in many organizations and offers basic calendaring functionality and contact information to users. Sage ACT! has robust time management and calendaring capabilities as well as extensible contact management features. Sage ACT! integration capabilities with Outlook are targeted towards allowing users to manage basic calendar items and contact details in either application while still enjoying the full calendar functionality and contact management features in Sage ACT!.
Sage ACT! and Microsoft Outlook Email How to Send Emails from Outlook
When properly configured, any emails sent from Outlook that match a contact email address are recorded in Sage ACT! as line items on the history tab of the contact. This establishes a historical record that can then appear on reports within Sage ACT! such as the Contact report and the notes and history report. Having this record ensures that everyone with visibility to the contact record is aware of this interaction.
Attaching Emails received in Outlook to Sage ACT!
There are several methods for capturing emails from Outlook and attaching emails to Sage ACT! contact records. Attaching emails to Sage ACT! helps provide a consolidated view of interactions with contacts across multiple interactions mediums (meetings, phone conversations, emails, etc…). Users can choose to manually attach emails as Sage ACT!
history records by selecting or opening a message and clicking the attach to Sage ACT! contact button on the Outlook toolbar. This method provides the most flexibility as the user can choose which database and which contact(s) to attach the email to, regardless of the content in the To: and CC: fields of the email. If the contact’s email address can be found, it will select that contact by default but you can modify this.
The second method, called quick attach, allows users to select a batch of emails from different senders and record history in Sage ACT! “en masse.” Using this method, the user selects the quick attach function. Simply click on the Quick Attach icon in the upper right corner of the Inbox view.
When clicked, email histories are added to the contacts defined in the quick attach preferences. The messages will be queued up and processed by a background process so the user can continue using Outlook normally. A progress dialog will appear in the Windows task tray to provide a summary of attached messages as well as any errors (messages that could not be attached). The quick attach function also allows a setting to create contacts automatically if they are not already in Sage ACT! default preferences for the manual and quick attach methods are set using setup assistant.
The third method for attaching emails from Outlook to Sage ACT! allows an Outlook user to define a rule using Outlooks rules feature with an action of attaching an email to Sage ACT!. The rule criteria uses Outlook’s rules features capabilities and can be used in conjunction with other Outlook rules e.g. record an email meeting criteria to Sage ACT! and move to Outlook folder.
Sage ACT! and Microsoft Outlook Calendar – How to Sync ACT! with MS Outlook Calendars
New to Sage ACT! is the ability to synchronize Sage ACT! and Outlook calendars. This feature allows users to select Activity types from Sage ACT! to synchronize with Outlook. When configured, users can create, change or remove calendar items from either Sage ACT! or Outlook and synchronization will automatically update calendars in both applications. Note: Outlook has limited ability to identify calendar item types, so in some situations a Sage ACT! activity type may be displayed in Outlook calendar as an appointment or meeting rather than the activity type specified in Sage ACT!. Sage ACT! will maintain the correct activity type regardless of what is displayed in Outlook. Outlook Tasks are unavailable for synchronization.
The synchronization feature can be scheduled to run as a background process at the frequency desired by the user. While synchronizing both Sage ACT! and Outlook can be accessed as normal. Neither Sage ACT! nor Outlook need be open for a scheduled synchronization to occur.
How to Send Invitations Using iCalendar
Users who work in environments with non-Sage ACT! users will find this feature especially useful. This feature allows you to use your Sage ACT! calendar as your primary tool for scheduling while sending calendar invitations in a standard format that most other calendar programs recognize called iCalendar. This format will not only work with Outlook, but also Lotus Notes®, Google Calendar™, Apple® iCal® and most other standard electronic calendar formats.
No setup is required to use this feature. The only thing that is required is to have a contact with an email addressed attached to it. When scheduling the meeting with the contact, check the box on the schedule activity dialog that says “Send activity email to contacts” directly below the contact(s) with whom you are scheduling the meeting. An iCalendar object will be formed based on the information you have added to the calendar
invitation and it will be sent to the contacts you have specified. This feature can be used in conjunction with the calendar synchronization feature.
How to Configure Sage ACT! to Sync with Microsoft Outlook Contacts
Let’s begin by discussing how to import Contacts to Sage ACT! from Outlook. Using the import wizard in Sage ACT!, users can import Outlook contacts and activities into Sage ACT!. When using the import wizard, users can choose to import either Outlook or Exchange contacts. Existing appointments and tasks will be imported as Sage ACT! activities. Notes in Outlook will be imported as Sage ACT! notes. Journal entries will also be imported as Sage ACT! notes.
How to Sync Sage ACT! with Microsoft Outlook Contacts
New to Sage ACT! is the ability to synchronize Sage ACT! and Outlook contacts. This feature allows the option of automatically importing into Sage ACT! any contact added to Outlook’s default contact folder. Contacts imported in this manner will attempt to match to existing Sage ACT! contacts via email matching to avoid duplicate contact entries. A subset of Sage ACT! contacts can be selected to allow for synchronization to Outlook. An Administrator or manager user of Sage ACT! can create and control the availability of different Sage ACT! contact synchronization sets to Sage ACT! users. This allows for administrative control of contact records available for synchronization with Outlook.
When configured, users can create and change contacts from either Sage ACT! or Outlook and synchronization will automatically update contacts in both applications. As a security measure, in the event a contact is deleted from Outlook the synchronization feature does not delete the contact from Sage ACT!.
The synchronization feature can be scheduled to run as a background process at the frequency desired by the user. While synchronizing both Sage ACT! and Outlook can be
accessed as normal. Neither Sage ACT! nor Outlook need be open for a scheduled synchronization to occur.
Note: For convenience contact and calendar synchronization features use the same user defined schedule, however users are able to choose either contact or calendar synchronization (or both), the features are enabled/disabled separately per user configuration.
Sage ACT! Integrates with Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is very popular for document creation and editing. While Sage ACT! has built in word processing capabilities, Sage ACT! Office integration allows users to use Word to create documents from within Sage ACT!. Creating documents directly from Sage ACT! allows users to have contextual awareness of contact information as well as access to historical interactions as a reference while creating these documents. Using Word, documents can also be attached to Sage ACT! to associate documents with contacts. Word documents can be dragged and dropped on the documents tab of a contact record in Sage ACT!, or can be attached via an Attach to Sage ACT! menu item added to Word.
For frequently used content, users can create a template to make document creation easier. When documents are created for a contact using one of these saved templates, it is recorded as history item for that contact. This provides a complete history of all interactions with each client. A template can include standard contact information, but also other data associated with contacts, like product detail and last meeting held. In fact, data in any Sage ACT! field can be incorporated into Word templates. By creating standard templates with embedded data, and making them available to users, organizations can more easily enforce standard contact communication processes.
Sage ACT! Integrates with Microsoft Excel
Sage ACT! has an excellent integration with Excel that enables a user to export data from any contact, company, group, opportunity or task list in Sage ACT! to Excel, with just one click. The columns in an Excel spreadsheet will match the columns (or fields) shown in the Sage ACT! list. When exporting data from the opportunity list view in Sage ACT! a pivot table and a pivot chart is included in the export to provide data summary and information visualization. Sage ACT! data is also available for mapping into Excel spreadsheets, by linking fields in this manner updates to data items in Sage ACT! can be automatically refreshed in Excel. Like Word any Excel document can also be attached to a contact record in Sage ACT! by simply dragging and dropping the document to the documents tab of a contact record in SageACT! or via an attach to Sage ACT! menu item added to Excel.
How to Map Sage ACT! Fields into Excel
Users can link cells in an Excel spreadsheet to fields in Sage ACT! by first adding the spreadsheet to the Sage ACT! Documents tab2. Users can maps cells in the Excel spreadsheet to Sage ACT! Contact, Group, or Company fields. This uses the object linking and embedding (OLE) integration of Excel and Sage ACT!. If data in a field in Sage ACT! changes, the Excel file will be updated automatically when the spreadsheet is opened.
This spreadsheet can be of any length and integrated with any number of Sage ACT! fields. The advantage of this integration is that whenever a field changes in Sage ACT!, the data in the Excel spreadsheets refreshes with one click.
Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts in Excel allow for simple, detailed reports of Sage ACT! Opportunities
Here’s how to do it. Export When exporting data from the opportunity list, Sage ACT! creates two additional spreadsheets within the workbook. One spreadsheet is a pivot
table, and the other is a pivot chart. These pivot tables allow for drilling down into the data exported from Sage ACT!.
Definition of a Microsoft Excel pivot table
A pivot table creates a summary of data from many records, which can easily be manipulated and sorted based on different criteria. Pivot tables are an excellent tool for dissecting information. Pivot table reports are interactive tables that let you work with information so you can see how the data fits together. By comparing data, users can identify patterns, trends, and relationships. Simple clicks are all that is required to move or “pivot” the rows and columns of data from one view to another. Pivot tables let users organize and summarize data in a hurry. In addition, users can drag the buttons to a new position to quickly rearrange the data. Pivot tables can be used to analyze sales opportunities recorded in Sage ACT!.
Pivot Charts – showing ACT data as Excel Reports
The same data that is created in a pivot table can be used to create pivot charts. Using simple keystrokes, users can produce excellent charts for presentations and reports.
Importing Data into Sage ACT! from Excel
Sage ACT! allows data import from a variety of sources including Excel files. New to Sage ACT!, when importing to Sage ACT! from Excel files you are able to map columns from Excel to fields you want created in Sage ACT!. In this manner you can create new Sage ACT! fields “on the fly” during your import to capture your data in Sage ACT!.
Note: All newly created fields in Sage ACT! are created using character data type. Users should make sure their data is accurate and properly formatted prior to import—data may need manipulation to correct problem areas prior to import.
Free Sage ACT! Feature Evaluation
Click here to receive access to our Free Sage ACT! Detailed Assessment.
With this evaluation document, you will be able to understand the key improvements within Sage ACT!.
- User Screen improvements
- Social Media integration
- E-Marketing options
- Mail-Merge with Microsoft
- Performing Web Surveys
- Sales Opportunity redesign enhancements
- Advanced Report options
- ACT Dashboard improvements
- OLEDB interface improvement
- Advanced Outlook Integration
- MS Outlook Invitations
- Flexible Outlook Sync for Contacts
- Google Contact Options
- Improved Importing design
- Smart Tasks options
- Workflow design
- Advanced Lead Management
- Administrative enhancements
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