Posted by: kurtsh | August 19, 2020

HOWTO: Create contacts databases in Microsoft Teams/SharePoint Online – Part 1: Creating the Contacts database

Everyone’s got contacts.  Very few people share them.

  • Interested in hosting a list of Contacts in Teams/SharePoint Online so everyone can see them?
  • Wish anyone could sync those Contacts to a separate contacts database in their installations of Outlook?
  • Now imagine editing those Contacts within Outlook & having those changes synced back to the online database for everyone else to receive?

Creating shared contacts databases appears to be a lost art but can be very useful when sharing contacts with everyone in a group.

Here’s some basic steps to creating an initial Contacts database.  The first few steps are only for Microsoft Teams users to find the SharePoint Online site associated with their Microsoft Teams channel.  The remaining steps are for SharePoint Online.

For Microsoft Teams only:

      1. imageOpen Microsoft Teams & go to the Teams Channel in which you wish to create the Contacts database.
        At the top of the screen you should see a menu with “Posts, Files, Wiki”, etc.
      2. Click the FILES tab at the top of the screen.  A submenu should appear showing “New, Upload, Sync", etc.
      3. Click “Open in SharePoint” in the Submenu that appears. If you don’t see this, click on the “…” to reveal “Open in SharePoint” and select it.
        This should open a browser to reveal the SharePoint Online site associated with the Microsoft Team you’ve selected.

For SharePoint Online:

    1. Go to the SharePoint Online site you wish to build the Contacts database in.

For both Teams/SharePoint Online –
Creating the Contacts Database:

  1. Click Home.  This step is important!  Clicking Home will reveal a special “+New” button on the screen that will allow you to create a new “App”.
  2. Click “+New” & select “App”.
    (Note: You must have clicked “Home” prior for “App” to be displayed as a selection.)
  3. imageClick the “Find an app” field & type “Contacts” & hit ENTER.
    This will search the possible apps for a Contacts database.
  4. Select “Contacts
      1. imageComplete the “Adding Contacts” dialog box by filling in the “Name” field and click the “Create” button.
        Once completed, you will see a list of Site Contents for your SharePoint Online site. This should include an item of type “Contacts”
      2. Click on the Contacts database you just created in the list. You’ll be taken to a web view of the contacts in the database.
        (There’ of course won’t be anything in the database list yet.  If you want to create a sample contact entry, click on “+New” and create a new sample contact)

Changing the List View of the Contacts list [OPTIONAL]
This is purely cosmetic however the default web view for each Contacts entry is not very useful and displays the following columns for all contacts at first:

  • Attachments
  • Title (Mr./Mrs./Ms.)
  • First Name
  • Company
  • Business Phone
  • Home Phone
  • Email Address

It doesn’t display last name, job title, mobile phone, etc.  imageTo change this, do the following from the Web View of your Contacts database:

    1. Click “All Contacts” drop down list in the upper right hand corner.  You’ll be given a list of options.
    2. Click “Edit current view”.  You’ll be given a list of Columns to display in the view.
    3. Uncheck the columns/contact fields you don’t want to display and check those you do. Personally, I uncheck everything and then select:
          1. Full Name
          2. Job Title
          3. Company
          4. Email Address
          5. Business Phone
          6. Mobile Phone
          7. City
    4. Reorder the list of Columns by enumerating them in the “Position from the Left” column.
    5. Click OK to save this view.

In the next blog entry, I’ll explain how to set up synchronization of the empty Contacts database with your local installation of Outlook so you can start copying Contacts into it.


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