Act! v20.1 Outlook Synchronization Best Practices

Act! and Outlook 2016Here is an article on how to prepare the upgrade as well as a video on the contact sync module.

For optimal performance, Office 365 subscribers need to change the update channel (aka frequency) for Outlook updates.  Sometimes, Microsoft moves features ahead of Act!’s development.

Microsoft KB – Version and build numbers of update channel releases

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Version-and-build-numbers-of-update-channel-releases-ae942449-1fca-4484-898b-a933ea23def7

Microsoft KB – Overview of update channels for Office 365 ProPlus

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/DeployOffice/overview-of-update-channels-for-office-365-proplus


Act! v20.1 Review

Act! and Outlook 2016Swiftpage released Act! v20.1 on 3/22 in the US market. v20.1 focused on a few key areas:

  1. Rebuild Outlook integration for e-mail, contact and calendar sync as well as mail-merge functions.  80% of our help desk relates to the e-mail history not recording properly to Act!, and this update addresses this problem.
  2. Enhance Act! Insight, the new report writer.
  3. Create custom tables. For example, you can create a list of multiple insurance policies someone bought over the years under one contact record. Until now, you had to use third party products to make this work. Or, you had to make a large grid in the contact record that wasn't easy to search.
  4. Offer North American and Saturday phone support.

For this updated Outlook integration to work, you must have Outlook 2013 or newer installed as cited in the system requirements.

Should you upgrade ? First and foremost, make sure you have Office 2013 or newer; then, we'd have to see what business processes need improving to make the call since we last spoke. Sometimes, we can leverage what you have and just bolt a plugin to your system. Or, we just train you on a feature you may realize you didn't have within Act!.


How to Fix the Act! Record Manager field if history appears to have been written by a non-employee

A common mistake in Act! is a new sales rep joins the database, and instantly updates "My Record" with a prospect's name instead.  This can lead to your sales rep's notes appearing to belong to someone who doesn't work for your company.

Here is how to fix it:

  1. Go to Lookup -> My Record.  This will show that your sales rep's "My Record" actually has a prospect's name instead. and here is a video on how to do this.
  2. Go to Contacts -> Duplicate Contact -> Use All Fields.  This ensures you have all the relevant info in a regular contact record
  3. Go to Lookup -> My Record.  Update the record with the sales rep's correct info.
  4. Press CTRL-S

If you have notes, history or activities to move, you can cut/paste them to the correct record as well.  If the video doesn't display below, click here to watch a 30 second video on this.  This video uses flash, and some browsers have this disabled by default.



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E-Mail Merge for Custom Form Letter Crashes in Act!

Act! and Outlook 2016I have witnessed Act! crashing when performing a mail-merge for a custom form letter in Act! to be sent via Outlook.  In this case, the merge works a couple times, then it chokes with Act! crashing.  Here is one possible cure.

  1. Close Act!
  2. Close Outlook
  3. Close Word
    1. Go to Task Manager (Start -> Run -> Taskmgr)
    2. End all instances for Microsoft Word (screen shot)
    3. Close Task Manager
  4. Find "normal.dotm" using Windows Explorer
    1. Press Windows Start -> Run -> %appdata%
    2. Find the directory C:\USERNAME\appdata\roaming\microsoft\templates
    3. delete normal.dotm
  5. Restart Act!
  6. Restart Outlook
  7. Test the Mail-Merge

Please note if you are on Act! subscription, this common tech support is covered by their phone support if this article is unclear.  Or,  you can contact us for fee-based support for this issue.  This is just one possible cure for the mail-merge issue not working among the three programs (Act! + Word + Outlook).


How to Fix Commas in Number Fields in Act!

Adding number fields in Act! produces an odd result.  By default, the numbers get formatted with commas.

Act! Number field with comma
Number Field with Comma

The commas get entered by default because Act! follows the Windows regional settings.  This video shows you how to change the settings. Close Act!. Follow the video. Then reopen Act! to see the changes.


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Now here is the result:

After changing the Windows regional settings