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Best Practices

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Some important rules and practices of which you should be aware:

1)Always know which folders are part of a synchronization relationship!

If you don't know which of your folders are being synchronized, contact your Add2Exchange administrator.  You can't know what to expect from Add2Exchange if you don't know where it is working.

2)Get rid of duplicates before synchronizing.

Add2Exchange does not try to eliminate duplicate information before it makes copies in a destination folder.

3)Watch out for synchronizing attachments, especially large ones.

Did you really mean to chew up five gigabytes of space on your Exchange server by synchronizing your presentation to a hundred of your coworkers?  While this may be a rare occurrence, it only needs to happen once for it to cause difficulties.

While there are limits your administrator can put on attachment synchronization, be judicious in what attachments you make to synchronized items.  It is usually better to place a file in a shared network location and use a link to it in your appointment, contact or task.

4)Know what your relationship settings are for deleting items.

It may be important to know that if you delete items from your folder they may also be deleted (or not deleted) from other folders, based on your relationship settings.  Read the section Synchronization Models and consult your Add2Exchange administrator to familiarize yourself with the settings.

5)Don't drag items between synchronized folders and don't expect copies of copies.

Add2Exchange marks the items which it created (the copies) as copies.  These copies do not synchronize to other folders.  So if items disappear from a source folder, do not simply drag the remaining copies from another folder to the empty folder and expect synchronization to resume.  Deleted original items must be restored from backups of the original items, not Add2Exchange copies.

Appointment Synchronization

Appointments obey special rules for synchronization.  Typically, calendars are filled with past appointments which are not really of interest for the obvious reason that they have already occurred.  Relationships in Add2Exchange by default are configured to synchronize only appointments that occur today or going forward; however, relationships can also be configured to synchronize historical appointments.  Consult your administrator on your relationship settings.

In any configuration, appointments that have been synchronized to a destination folder are not removed by Add2Exchange after they are no longer actively synchronized.  This means a historical record of appointments remains that have been synchronized by Add2Exchange.  The only difference is changes to such appointments are no longer synchronized between source and destination.

Recurring Appointments

Recurring appointments are a special item type in Exchange and operate by different rules than normal appointments.  While Add2Exchange does synchronize recurring appointments, Exchange has some limitations which affect synchronization.

First, a folder can only contain a certain number of recurring appointments.  The limit is large enough where most users won't need to know about it, but it does pose  a concern when multiple calendars are being consolidated into one, since this calendar will end up with more recurrences than are typical.  Calendars with a long history may also encounter this limit.  It is a good practice for your administrator to periodically archive and remove appointments past a certain age.  This policy has to be determined by the needs and requirements of your organization.

Second, Exchange can only perform a certain number of copies of recurring appointments.  Again, the limit is large enough where most users wouldn't need to know about it, but it can become an issue for synchronization on systems with a large number of recurring appointments or relationships, because synchronization attempts to copy the recurrences and can hit the limit.

In an effort to minimize the chance that Add2Exchange will hit this limit, Add2Exchange tries to avoid unnecessary processing recurrences.  Recurrences  are only synchronized if the recurrence starts after the global recurrence cutoff date.  This setting is found in the Global Options menu.  By default this period is set to one year in the past from today.

Warning

It is strongly recommended your administrator leave the global recurrence window at the default if you have even a modest number of recurring appointments.  Due to the limitations in Exchange, all synchronization of such items may fail if the limit of recurrence copies is reached, which is inevitable over long periods of uptime of your Exchange server.  While the recurring copy count can be reinitialized, doing so requires downtime for your Exchange server.

Meetings and Invitations

When synchronizing calendars, if a meeting invitation from one of the source folder owners is sent to a destination folder owner, then when both the recipient accepts the invitation and synchronization occurs, there will appear to be two copies of the meeting in the destination folder.  The first is the meeting as accepted by the recipient.  The second is the Add2Exchange copy of the meeting as it appears in the source folder.

Technically speaking, both of these are separate items, even though they both represent the same meeting.  One is the meeting participant's version, which may contain notes, a reminder or other details.  The second is the meeting organizer's version, which may contain its own details.  Because the organizer's items are synchronized to the participant's calendar, the participant may think there is duplication.  The autopopulation feature discussed in the section Synchronization Models helps to distinguish the items.

If you don't want the multiple versions of the item to appear in the destination, the simplest solution is to simply appear on the invitation list of the meeting.  Participants may be notified of the meeting by a regular email instead.

Copies and Originals

It is good to be conscious of whether items in a folder are originals or the result of Add2Exchange synchronization from another folder.  What occasionally happens is that original items in a source folder of a relationship are lost for some reason, whether technical issues or human error, and need to be replaced.  If this occurs, the items cannot be replaced with copies made by Add2Exchange because these copies do not act like normal Outlook items.  In particular, Add2Exchange will not copy items which it generated in the first place.

This means if you just go to a destination folder which still happens to have a copy of all the source folder items (perhaps synchronization hasn't occurred yet), you can't just copy all of those items back into the source. Add2Exchange knows these items are copies and will not synchronize them further.  In order to recover from a situation like this, you need to have your administrator restore the items from a backup.  In general, you should not copy destination folder items to other folders.

Avoiding Duplication

Duplication is one of the potential pitfalls of all synchronization solutions.  In general, Add2Exchange takes many precautions to not generate additional copies; however, because Add2Exchange does not detect pre-existing identical or similar items in the destination to the items it is copying, it is easy to get items that are or appear to be duplicates, even if Add2Exchange is operating properly.

The most important thing you can do as a user to avoid these situations is to make sure you clear out any potential duplicate items in a destination folder before your administrator sets up Add2Exchange.  You can do this by moving items temporarily to another folder you create as a holding area until Add2Exchange synchronizes the first time, then moving back to the original folder only those items which do not appear as Add2Exchange copies.

Another thing to watch out for is the Preserve Changes And Make New Copy Of The Source Item setting on your relationship.  If you have your relationship set to preserve a copy of any edits you make, then a new copy of the original item will appear after the next synchronization.  While this item is not a duplicate it will appear to be so unless your edits to the initial copy make it clearly distinguishable.  Editing your copy is a clearly visible way, like putting a tag such as "My:" on your edited copy, which can prevent confusion and the appearance of duplication.

Meetings that are synchronized to participants from the organizer's calendar can also appear to be duplicates.

Attachments

Attachments are documents, pictures or other file-based information that Outlook allows you to attach to an item.  Examples are Word documents containing meeting notes, fax images or contact photos.

Add2Exchange does synchronize attachments, however there may be restrictions imposed by your administrator on the allowable size of attachments.  While Outlook will normally prevent you from creating attachments which violate the size limits on your own folders, there may be complications trying to synchronize attachments to other folders that have stricter limits.  In general, the default size for attachments should be no larger than ten megabytes, which is one of the default limitations within Exchange.

Also remember a full copy of an attachment is made to every destination of the relationships which use your folder as a source.  This can have undesirable consequences if even a moderate size attachment is synchronized to many destinations.  Avoid using attachments unnecessarily in folders which are subject to Add2Exchange relationships.

Open Items

Items which are kept open for a long period of time, for example by opening a contact and leaving the contact window open in the background, may cause errors to appear if any change is attempted to be saved to the item after a synchronization has occurred:

Save Error Message on Open Item

In this case, you typically wouldn't want to make a copy of the item because Add2Exchange has already made a new copy of the item in question in your folder; however, if you have made important changes which you do not wish to lose, you can save the item separately.  If your changes normally get synced to the other folder in the relationship, then you will want to merge those changes into the synchronized item and then discard your extra copy.

To avoid this situation in the first place, you should try to avoid leaving items open for a long period of time.  If you have not intentionally made changes to an item that has been left open for a long time, then you should avoid using the Save and Close button to close the item, since this may unintentionally cause such a conflict if, for example, you accidentally changed a piece of information on the item.  You should instead use the X button or the File > Close menu to close the item without saving changes.

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