Lightning Sync (formerly Exchange Sync) is a background synchronization tool that works hand-in-hand with Lightning for Outlook. It can also coexist with Salesforce for Outlook, however it is typically not necessary.

Lightning Sync will synchronize Contacts and Events between Salesforce and either Microsoft Exchange or Google (Gmail), and can operate in a one-way or two-way configuration. If you’re looking for Task synchronization, that will also exist within Lightning for Outlook, starting with the Winter ’18 release.

The configuration of Lightning Sync can be broken into 2 parts, Initial Setup and Sync Configuration Settings, both of which we will cover below.

Lightning Sync can be configured to work with either a single instance of Google or Microsoft Exchange – it cannot be setup to work with both simultaneously. When working with Exchange, you will have two options for your connection method, using either OAuth 2.0 or your Exchange Service Account.

Setup of one versus the other may depend on your IT policies, however understand that if you require the synchronization of Events both ways, from Salesforce to Exchange and Exchange to Salesforce, then you will need to configure your connection using OAuth 2.0. We won’t get into the details of what

OAuth is or why you might be seeing it more and more in the wild, but in summary, it is a way of authenticating access to a system or site on behalf of another secured system (think of when you see buttons on websites to login with your Facebook or Google account – more info can be found here and here).

Once your email server is connected to Salesforce, you can begin configuring how you want Lightning Sync to behave. Keep in mind that users will be assigned to these configuration profiles, so you can setup more than one configuration profile, tailoring each one to a specific group of users.

Within the configuration profile, you’ll have options for syncing Contacts, deciding if/how you want to sync them, along with how to handle conflicts and what to do if duplicates are detected.

If “Salesforce to Exchange” or “Sync Both Ways” is selected, Lightning Sync will create a new folder in Exchange under the Contacts directory titled “Salesforce_Sync”.

This folder is managed separately from a user’s other contacts within Exchange and can be utilized (right-click, Properties, Outlook Address Book tab, check the box for “Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book”) to send Salesforce Leads/Contacts right from their Outlook email – of course, syncing the emails they want to retain as an activity using Lightning for Outlook!

Now, when setting up the sync options for Events, you will have similar options regarding how Events will sync and what to do in the event of a conflict, however you’ll also be able to specify which Events Lightning Sync will pull from Exchange, whether they be All Events or only Events Users Select (this option requires the user to relate an event to a record through the Lightning for Outlook plugin).

Once you have your configuration completed, you can then assign users and profiles to utilize this new sync configuration. You can then monitor the progress of the background synchronization under the Sync Status menu option.

Within the status page, you can also see what where each individual user is in their sync process, determining how many Contacts and Events have been synced between the two systems.

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