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How to: Identify and Remove CRM Duplicates in Outlook

Originally introduced in Dynamics CRM 2013, server-side sync is a component in Microsoft Dynamics CRM used for email processing. It may also be used to synchronize appointments, contacts, and tasks between CRM and Outlook.

Many organizations prefer to use both products in conjunction so that users may continue to work from Outlook while also having the control to sync specific activities like emails and tasks.

crm duplicates in outlook graphic

Organizations using the Outlook client should be mindful of the impact of introducing server-side sync as doing so can create duplicate contacts. CRM duplicates get introduced when:

  1. Outlook Client syncs Contacts from CRM to Outlook
  2. Server-side sync syncs Contacts from CRM to Outlook.
  3. Contact records synced via the Outlook Client have different properties than Contact records synced via Server-side synchronization; therefore, Outlook Contacts are duplicated

If this is an issue you’ve come across follow the steps below to identify and delete CRM duplicates in Outlook.

How to Identify and Delete CRM Duplicates in Outlook

In Outlook, delete Outlook Client synced Contact records, and then enable server-side synchronization.

1. Identify Outlook Client Synced Contact Records

Create a custom view to identify Outlook Client synced records.

  • In Outlook, navigate to the Contacts folder
  • Navigate to the ‘View’ tab
  • In the top ribbon, click the ‘Change View’ button
  • Select ‘Lists’
CRM for Outlook change view
  • In the top ribbon, click the ‘View Settings’ button
  • Select ‘Columns’
View Settings in CRM for Outlook
  • In the ‘Select available columns’ dropdown, select ‘User-defined field in folder’
  • Click the ‘New Column’ button
  • Populate the following fields, and click ‘OK’
    • Name: crmLinkState
    • Type: Number
    • Format: Raw
Show columns in CRM for Outlook

In the Advanced View Settings window, click ‘OK’

Advanced View Settings: List in Outlook
  • Restart Outlook
  • Note: Outlook must be re-started to allow data to be populated for the newly created column.
  • Contacts with a value in the crmLinkState field are Contact records synced from CRM via Outlook Client.
Identifying Contact records synced from CRM via Outlook

2. How to Delete Outlook Client Synced Contact Records

  • Sort or filter based on the new crmLinkState column
  • Delete Contacts based on the crmLinkState column
  • Note: Deleting these CRM duplicates in Outlook will not automatically delete the corresponding Contact record in CRM.
  • Once these steps to remove duplicates in Outlook are complete, only one set of CRM Contacts will remain in your Outlook address book!
  • Tip: To delete Outlook Client synced Contact records efficiently, in Outlook create a separate Contact folder, and move all Outlook Client synced Contacts to this folder.

Questions or Comments?

Have a question about the above steps? We’d love to hear from you!

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