Sync calendar and contacts using Outlook.com

Last reviewed on December 30, 2013

Applies to Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2003

You can use this method with the Outlook Connector in Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, and Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013's EAS to sync your calendar and contacts with other computers or smartphones "over the air" when you use a POP3 or IMAP email account.

All you need is a Microsoft Account. You can create a Microsoft Account for any valid email address; you do not need to use a Hotmail, Live, or Outlook.com address. I recommend using your own address.

Attachments are not supported on tasks, appointments, or contacts in outlook.com. At this time, you can add attachments in Outlook 2013 but they are invisible. See Attachments are hidden in Outlook.com for more information. See Create tasks with attachments for possible solutions. The macro at Open and save attachments can access the hidden attachments.

Using an Outlook.com account for email? See Configuring an Outlook.com account in Outlook.

What you need to do: log into outlook.com with your Microsoft Account. When you log in with the Microsoft Account, you'll receive a couple of welcome emails but it will not pull your email into the account unless or until you set up Outlook.com to pull in mail from your mailbox.

You do not need to configure Outlook.com to pull in your other email accounts to use it for Calendar and Contacts. In fact, I do not recommend configuring outlook.com to pull mail from your mailbox - use outlook.com only for calendar and contacts.

You'll need to move or copy existing appointments and contacts to the new Hotmail data file. You can set the Outlook.com Microsoft Account as your default data file (this puts the calendar on the To-Do Bar) but I do not recommend setting it as the default email account.

If you enabled two-factor authentication on the Outlook.com account, you'll need to generate an app password to use with the account in Outlook. Log into Outlook.com and check your account options for instructions.

Set up the Microsoft Account in Outlook

These are the basic steps to configure Outlook for usability. The steps to configure either an Outlook Connector account or ActiveSync account follow.

Create a "Microsoft Account" for your email address and use that in Outlook. Set up the account in Outlook using the steps in the next section, Outlook Connector if using Outlook 2003, 2007, or 2010 and EAS if using Outlook 2013. You need to set it up manually; you cannot use auto account setup.

You'll have two accounts in Outlook: your ISP or "real" email and the Outlook.com account. Both accounts will have the same email address.

Outlook 2003 and 2007 will use the default email account for New messages; Outlook 2010 and 2013 will use the account associated with the folders you are looking in. This means if you are viewing the calendar in outlook.com and start a new message, Outlook will use the Outlook.com account to send the message. However, you can edit the registry to mimic the Outlook 2007 and older behavior so you always use default email account as set in File, Account Settings. See registry edit for default accounts for details (includes a ready-to-use reg file). I recommend setting this registry value.

Set the isp account as default along with the outlook.com data fileSet your email account to be the default on the Email tab.

Set the Outlook.com account to be the default data file on the Data Files tab. This puts the calendar in the To-Do bar and new appointments and contacts will go into it's Calendar and Contacts folder.

The final piece of the puzzle: in File, Options, Advanced, you can set your "real" Inbox to be the default start up folder.

Oh, and rename the Microsoft account. It's less confusing when you don't have two accounts with the same address in your profile.

After you set up the account in Outlook, move your appointments and contacts to the Outlook.com data file folders. Hint: it's easier if you use a List view. Select all, drag and drop.

If you want to remove the calendar and contacts folder from the pst your "real" account uses, see Delete Special folders. If you are using an IMAP account in Outlook 2013, close Outlook and delete the IMAP account's data file. When Outlook restarts, it will create a new data file without the special folders. Don't forget to move the appointments, contacts, and tasks to the Outlook.com folders first.

Configure outlook.com account for syncing

In this tutorial, I'm adding a Microsoft Account that uses the same email address as a POP3 account in the Outlook profile and setting it as the default data file, so the Calendar and Contacts folders are the default folders.

The process is the same for IMAP accounts.

Outlook 2013 Exchange ActiveSync Configuration

Note that when you enter a non-Microsoft address into Outlook 2013's auto account setup dialog, it looks for the account configuration at your domain, not at Outlook.com. It's not going to configure the account as an EAS account using your Microsoft Account, it's going to set up a POP3 or IMAP account.

You need to configure the account manually, as an Outlook.com or Exchange ActiveSync compatible service account, using m.hotmail.com as the server name.

Select the option to configure your account manually

Choose Outlook.com or Exchange ActiveSync compatible service on the next screen and click Next.

Outlook 2013 - choose Outlook.com account type

On the last screen, enter your username and password and m.hotmail.com for the server address.

Enter m.hotmail.com as your server name

Click Next and after Outlook verifies the account information is correct, you are returned to the Account Settings dialog. Close the dialog and return to Outlook.

Using the Outlook Connector with Outlook 2010 / older

If you are using the Outlook Connector, select it from the Other section of the account types dialog.

Add a liveid account to your profile

Enter your Microsoft Account email address and Microsoft Account password and complete the wizard.

Enter your liveid address and password

When you return to Outlook, a new data file will be added to your profile.

A POP3 and Hotmail Connector account for same email address

Registry key for Outlook 2010 SP1 and Outlook 2013

Out of the box, Outlook 2010 SP1 and Outlook 2013 use the default account for Send to commands but not for new messages created while viewing a data file that is used for delivery. This means if you send a message while viewing the outlook.com calendar, it will be sent via the Outlook.com account. This is not necessarily the desired behavior when you are using an Outlook.com account only for syncing calendar and contacts.

Fortunately, you can set a registry value to always force the use of the default account.

To force all new messages to use the default email account, regardless of which data file you are viewing, browse to the following registry subkey in Outlook 2010 and add a DWORD named NewItemsUseDefaultSendingAccount:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Options\Mail
DWORD value: NewItemsUseDefaultSendingAccount
Value: 1

In Outlook 2013, the key is:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Options\Mail
DWORD value: NewItemsUseDefaultSendingAccount
Value: 1

 
If you prefer not to edit the registry yourself, you can run a registry file to set the NewItemsUseDefaultSendingAccount key:

Outlook 2010 Outlook 2013

Add your email account to Hotmail or Outlook.com

I DO NOT recommend using this method. At this time, Outlook.com is using a weird Hotmail address as the From address, not the "Microsoft Account" address. Keep both accounts in your profile and use the registry key above to force Outlook to use the default account as the default for all email.

If you use a Microsoft Account from another domain and want to bring your email into Hotmail or Outlook.com, log onto your account online (in Internet Explorer), go to the gear Gear icon icon (next to your name) > More mail settings > Sending/receiving email from other accounts and add your POP3 account username and password. This tells outlook.com to go out and get the email from that account.

If you do this, you can read your email online, at outlook.com as well as in Outlook. You should remove the POP3 account from your profile, otherwise you will have duplicate messages in Outlook.

If you send mail through the Hotmail servers, some antispam filters may reject email from the account because the address is not a Microsoft domain but using Microsoft SMTP servers. (Yahoo Groups rejects messages sent using this method.) If you control your own DNS you should add an SPF record for hotmail. The SPF record you need is v=spf1 include:hotmail.com ~all

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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