Outlook Contact Category Correction Tool

When it rains it pours Outlook issues. A few weeks ago I was working with a customer that was having an issue where a small handful of users were loosing the custom categories they applied to their categories. The problem – based on my experiences – seems to be caused by having iCloud sync for contacts turned on in the iPad, but also pulling the contacts from your Exchange account. At some point I think a restore happens or some automatic sync correction ends up wiping the categories away also updating all the contacts in Exchange, therefore Outlook…

In the end, it is ALWAYS good to have a backup of you contacts. and as it turns out this customer did – albeit they were 6 months old. The problem was that the “decategoried” contacts they had in Outlook were fairly updated with notes, changed e-mail and phone numbers, versus the properly categorized backup’s that were 6 months old. Enter the tool…



While on-site I developed the tool to resolve this problem for their users. It might be useful for others, so that is why I posted it on CodePlex:


But, I think it is also a good example/sample of how to access Outlook from an external application, iterate through a folder and compare items in Outlook. So the source code is available too.

Outlook Calendar Cleaner

I encountered an odd problem while working with a customer that was porting from Lotus Notes to Office 365 (Exchange) and ended up creating a new tool called the Outlook Calendar Cleaner.

The customer had a mixed environment of Mac and Windows and in certain conditions appointment items were disappearing on the Mac Office Outlook calendar, but still appearing in Outlook Web Access (OWA) and if the delegate was in Windows, they would still see the appointment on their view of the owners calendar.

The issue turns out to be that in the conversion a multi-line subject in an appointment item (supported in Lotus, but not in Exchange), has the new line character converted to a start of text (SOT) character or ASCII code 0x02. The problem is that this is an invalid character in XML and the Exchange Web Services implementation on Mac O/S X does not properly parse this character. This causes the process to hang and all appointments which were being imported on that thread are not copied over. Net effect – they appear to be missing in Mac Outlook.

So, I created a tool to correct the problem. The Outlook Calendar Cleaner is a very specific tool targeting this problem. You can to open the users Exchange Account (Office 365 account) in Outlook 2010 for Windows and run the tool in Windows and it will clean any appointments found to have this special character.

I have posted the Outlook Calendar Cleaner tool on Codeplex (along with the source code). Here: