Entourage for EWS: Notes and Tasks don’t sync?

Along with mail, calendars and contacts, Entourage for Exchange Web Services (EWS) now syncs notes and tasks with Exchange. However, users are reporting mixed results. Notes and tasks seem to sync reliably when using Apple’s Mail application in Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), but Entourage users may see either no syncing or partial syncing.
All of this can be corrected with one simple setting change in Entourage.

Look at the Folder Lists in the Mail, Address Book and Calendar views in Entourage. Compare these to the Folder Lists in the Notes and Tasks views. What’s different?
The account headers.
In the lefthand images below, note how the Address Book and Calendar views have an “On My Computer” header in addition to a “Mailbox – Smith, William” header, which denotes my Exchange account. In the righthand images below, both the Notes and Tasks views are missing the “Mailbox – Smith, William” header.

Address Book and Notes views

Calendar and Tasks views

Because of an oversight or maybe just by design, Microsoft has omitted these Exchange account headers from Notes and Tasks. That means both local “On My Computer” and remote Exchange Notes and Tasks are getting mixed together with no means of keeping them separated.
This can lead to the following strange sync behaviors:

  • Notes and Tasks will sync from Exchange to Entourage
  • Notes and Tasks created in Entourage will not sync to Exchange
  • Notes and Tasks synced from Exchange are editable in Entourage and those changes will sync back to Exchange

While these items may appear mixed together, they are actually still stored in separate “folders”, one for “On My Computer” and the other for Exchange. So, how do we make new items go into the Exchange folders? A Saved Search doesn’t offer the ability to view just the folders “On My Computer” nor the Exchange account. Also, the Spotlight cache data contains information only about the Tasks and Notes themselves, not their enclosing folders. Therefore, a Saved Search using Raw Query doesn’t work either.
Unless Microsoft alters the Tasks and Notes view in Entourage for EWS to distinguish between local and remote folders, the only means of controlling what happens is to set Entourage’s default account to the Exchange account. Go to Tools —> Accounts…, select your Exchange account and click the Make Default button.

By making your Exchange account the default account, you are also forcing your Notes and Tasks folders to become the default folders as well. Now, new Notes and Tasks will be created in these folders and will sync with Exchange.

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7 comments to Entourage for EWS: Notes and Tasks don’t sync?

  • Madrona

    When there is only one account (i.e. Exchange) the Make Default button is greyed out.
    We are trying to Share tasks – which is possible with Outlook. When an Outlook user shares their tasks the e-mail is sent but in Entourage none of the processes work to view the other user’s task list.
    Do you know if this functionality exists in EWS? If so do you know the steps to make it work?

  • Currently, Entourage 2008 and Web Services Edition only support task syncing with Exchange, not sending/receiving/accepting tasks with Exchange.
    Maybe in Outlook 2011 (due late this year)?

  • Mark Johnson

    EWS downloads all the tasks off the exchange server and then deletes from my server. I then restore the deleted items and then all the tasks are downloaded and deleted again by EWS – Entourage then has duplicate tasks for every item. If I do again, I have triplicate and on and on.
    Any ideas would be appreciated.

  • Downloading and deleting is not normal behavior. You either have something wrong with your Entourage Database or with your account.
    Select Entourage menu –> Switch Identity… and create a new identity. Connect to your account again and see if you have the same behavior.
    If this does not resolve the issue then see if you can test in another Mac OS X user account or, preferably, on a different computer.
    If this continues with another account or computer then your Exchange account has issues. Ask your administrator to migrate your data to a new mailbox and connect with that.

  • Hi,
    I am working on migrating users from Entourage 08 to EWS and running in to a weird task issue. Prior to moving them we backup their files to rge and after the move we import the rge. But users are not getting their tasks imported. Any idea why its not being backed up by rge or imported.

  • What’s the purpose of creating the .rge backups? Your 2008 Database will be upgraded automatically. Your Exchange data will not be moved over, but that’s because you’re expected to download everything from the server. Your tasks should come over as part of the upgrade.

  • Nancy

    I am having the same issue with EWS deleting notes off of the server. Recreating the database right now. Hoping it works. 🙁