How to synchronize Google contacts with Outlook 2016?

How do you deal with all your contacts?

Back in old day

How do people back in the old days keep track of all their contracts? When I was a little boy, I always saw my mom taking out a palm-size booklet and looking for someone’s phone numbers to call or someone’s address to go to. One day, I was flipping through pages on my mom’s address book and found numbers, names and addresses and notes all around from top to bottom, very messy. But, she could always find what she wanted. After half a year, I saw she was using a different booklet because the first one was full. Even today, she is still using her good old phone booklet and does not have a cell phone.

One of the drawback with handwriting everything in a booklet is that if you lose it then everything is gone. Yet, it is unlikely to make an extra copy of it by hand again unless you xerox it for backup. Around 1990s, many cordless home phones and cell phones started to have small TFT screens for users to key in and display their contacts. However, if cordless home phones break down, then all contacts are gone. For old-time cell phones, it was possible to export and import contacts with dedicated software like Companionlink for various mobile phones on PC via wired connection. It was a breakthrough at that time and this type data backup and restore is still being used by iPhone and Android now. On PC, users can also import these contacts to some email software to further extend its communication usability.

A better and more efficient way to manage contacts across several locations

As what we listed above, I think these ways of contact management are not quite efficient since we need to access our contacts at least from PC at home, from PC at work, and from laptop & cell phone on the road. How do we achieve this with least effort? Thanks to popular cloud service, it is possible to keep a copy on the cloud and have all devices to sync from it. Changes made on one device will be synced to the cloud and then another device will be updated once another sync session takes place.

Around 15 or 20 years ago, cloud services were barely getting started. It was still a strange term for most people. Not until recent 10 years, mobile technology has been catching so people get to get the idea of how users can sync with cloud services anywhere they are as long as there is internet connection. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix are probably the ones you have heard of.

Among numbers of cloud services, social media services are the popular ones, such as FB, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Also, there are various services from Google that you can use them on browsers once you log in. Google Contacts is an obvious example of cloud address book. Almost any device of an individual is able to synchronize with the address book. Any adding, editing, and deleting of a contact will be updated throughout all devices configured with assicated Google account at least effort.

There are plenty of cloud service providers that offer contact sync mechanisms enabling users to sync from various platforms. Major ones are Google, Outlook.comiCloud, Yahoo, GMX, and etc. Let us use Google contact as an example to find out how to keep contacts on devices of different platforms updated:

  1. Windows: If you are using Windows 10 or 8.1, then you can use People app to import:
    • Open People app.
    • Click on + Import contacts button.
    • Click on Google from the list.
    • Enter Google e-mail and password. Take care 2-Step Verification or App password if there is any).
    • Click on Allow and Done on followingscreens.
    • Click on Ready to Go button to continue.
    • One important note here: This People app can only import from Google contacts. Any further contact addition, editing, and deletion will not take place. So, it is seemingly a one-time deal.
  2. Outlook: More serious Windows users would rather use Outlook rather than People app mentioned above. Here is an example of using an Outlook add-in called EVO Collaborator for Outlook to bi-directionally synchronization betwene Outlook and Google contacts:
    • Download and install EVO Collaborator for Outlook.
    • Open Outlook.
    • Click on EVO ribbon at top and click on Configure Profile(s) to the left.
    • Click on Profile #6 Gmail and enter Gmail account in the middle.
    • Under Sync options, click on folder icons next to folder path to browse folders and assign folders to store entries.
    • Click on TEST button and proceed Google OAuth 2.0 process.
    • Once authenticated, click on Apply and Quit buttons to leave Configure Profile(s) window.
    • Now, an initial sync session should take place now and you will see Google entries in the assigned contact folder.
  3. Mac: Apple has implemented Google account profile wizard for creating a Google account:
    • Go to System Preferences / Internet Accounts.
    • Click on Google banner.
    • Enter Google e-mail and password. Take care 2-Step Verification or App password if there is any).
    • Make sure Contacts is checked and click on Done.
    • Open Contacts application and your Google contacts will be synchronized momentarily.
  4. iOS: Apple has implemented Google account profile wizard for creating a Google account:
    • Go to Settings / Passwords & Accounts.
    • Scroll to bottom and click on Add Account.
    • Tap on Google banner.
    • Enter Google e-mail and password. Take care 2-Step Verification or App password if there is any).
    • Make sure Contacts is checked and click on Save on top-right.
    • Open Contacts app and make sure the All Gmail group is checked by tapping on Groups at top-left to confirm.
    • Now, your Google contacts will be synchronized momentarily.
  5. Android: Android has Google account profile built-in for you. Since there are dozens of brands, UI for each brand may vary one from another. However, steps below are general guideline to follow:
    • Sign in your Google account if you have not done so.
    • Tap on Contacts app and you should see your Google contacts right there.


If you are old schools like my mom and do not like to change, then it is all fine. If you like to save more time from spending hours to take care your contacts, then synchronization across devices is a smart way to go. What do you think?


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