ZxMobile Outlook Configuration
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Outlook and your Zimbra Server
Microsoft Outlook 2013 is the first version ever of Microsoft Outlook to include Exchange ActiveSync capabilities. Outlook 2016 still includes Exchange ActiveSync capabilites, so this guide equally applies to both versions.
This means that you will be able to synchronize your Emails, Address Book, Calendar and Tasks between your Zimbra server and your Outlook client using ZeXtras Mobile (version 1.8.6 or higher).
Outlook and the Global Address List
Unlike the vast majority of the Exchange ActiveSync clients, the Global Address List is not accessible via Exchange ActiveSync. It's possible to set up an external Address Book through LDAP, the appropriate settings can be found at File -> Account Settings -> Address Books. You need to click on "New" and then select "Internet Directory Service (LDAP)" as the Address Book type.
Starting from Zimbra 8.x, LDAP access is only available through authenticated access.
Once the LDAP Address Book is properly set up, you can use the standard shortcut (CTRL+L) to verify and autocomplete addresses while composing an email.
Configuring Microsoft Outlook to synchronize with your Zimbra mailbox
The Exchange ActiveSync protocol was designed with PIMs and Mobile Devices in mind, and being Outlook 2013 a desktop client it has certain peculiarities that need to be kept in mind:
- The first releases of Outlook 2013 were affected by a long list of bugs and imperfections, and while each update solves some of them there is still a high chance of experiencing resyncs or sync loops. Each new version of ZeXtras Mobile adds more workaround and tweaks in order to improve the user experience, so it's vital to keep both your Outlook and your ZeXtras Suite always up to date.
- While mobile devices sync a single folder for each connection, Outlook 2013 tries to synchronize all folders at once. This behaviour makes the first sync after setting up an account quite slow and even to impact your server's performances in case of a large number of folders, so tweaking the "Window Size" ZxMobile property is suggested in order to better streamline the process. By default this property, which defines the maximum number of items which can be synchronized for each folder at once, is set to "75" but can be set to as low as 10/15 without affecting mobile device connections (since the vast majority mobile devices usually sync batches of 10/20 items).
- Another way to work around this issue is to set up your Outlook 2013 account to only sync the latest 30 days instead of your full mailbox.
- Zimbra's GAL is not available on Outlook.
- Outlook uses SSL by default and won't synchronize to a server in http mode. In order to see how to enable SSL on your Zimbra server, check out the official Zimbra documentation here.
In order to synchronize Outlook and your Zimbra mailbox through ZeXtras Mobile you need the following:
- A working and up to date Outlook 2013 or 2016 client (Microsoft Windows only).
- ZeXtras Suite installed on your Zimbra server.
- An active ZeXtras Suite license, either trial or paid, including the ZeXtras Mobile module.
If you don't know what this means you might want to ask your System Administrator.
(Click on "show" to see the screenshot for each step)
To disable the Simplified Account Creation in Outlook 2016 you have to modify the Registry Editor, adding the DisableOffice365SimplifiedAccountCreation key to the registry:
- locate the following subkey in the registry:
- create a new DROWD (32-bit) named
- assign to the new key the value of 1
and restart Outlook 2016
|Open Outlook 2013/2016 and click on "File" -> "Add Account".|
|Select the "Manual Setup or additional server types" radio button and click "Next".|
|Select the "Outlook.com or Exchange ActiveSync compatible service" and click next.|
|Fill in your account and server information and click "Next".|
|Outlook will now try to connect to the server and log in. If successful, the task will be marked as "Complete". In this case, press "Next".|
|Press "Finish" and you are good to go!|
Additional Outlook troubleshooting tip
Outlook is quite prone to enter a Sync Loop when trying to sync an item it cannot fully parse. If Outlook stops to sync new items, the following steps might help in finding wether or not the cause is a sync loop:
- Add an account logger to the affected account, setting the "window_size" parameter to "1"
E.g. zxsuite mobile doaddaccountlogger firstname.lastname@example.org info /tmp/john_logger window_size 1
- Force a sync by clicking the "Send and Receive" button on the client. Do this once or twice waiting 2 minutes between tries.
- Filter the account logger file searching for lines containing the "Added items:" string.
grep "Added items:" /tmp/john_logger
- Check the numbers in square brackets: if one or more numbers are repeating multiple times, the item with "itemID" corresponding to the repearing number might be the culprit. You can search items by itemID in the Zimbra Webclient using the "item:" keyword.
Outlook and Self Signed Certificates
In Outlook 2013, Exchange ActiveSync accounts are only allowed to synchronize through a secure connection (HTTPS on port 443).
If your server is using a self-signed certificates your users' experience will be severely impaired because of the frequent warning messages displayed by Outlook 2013 due to the certificate not being signed by a trusted CA.
In order to avoid this, you Zimbra server's CA can be added to the locally trusted CAs on the computer running the client. All appropriate files can be found in the /opt/zimbra/ssl/zimbra/ directory and subdirectories, while informations on how to add trusted Certificates Authorities - both locally and domain-wide - can be found on the Microsoft Support website
Outlook and Address Books
By design, Outlook can only synchronize a single Address Book per account - specifically, the default "/Contacts" folder in Zimbra. This means that additional Address Books, neither owned by the user or shared by other users, can be synchronized with Outlook.